Those Pesky Tendons

If you followed my training for the marathon, you know that I developed posterior tibial tendonitis/dysfuction (PTTD) a few weeks before the marathon, which manifested as terrible arch pain. It even popped my medial cuneiform – a bone in my foot’s arch – out of place!

So when my arch pain reared its ugly head again starting sometime in October, I panicked. The pain was so bad that it hurt all day, every day, but was not much worse when I was running. So I ignored it while silently freaking out, thinking that bone was dislocated again.

I finally scheduled a PT screening for this morning at 7:20am. I donated platelets last night after work and was too tired to run before work when my alarm went off at 5am yesterday, so that meant I had to get 5 miles done today. I decided to run to PT, then run home. The closest location of the PT practice I’ve been going to for over a year is just 1.5 miles from my apartment (but sadly not next door to my new office, a luxury I enjoyed at my previous job). I knew I was going to be sluggish so soon after donating, but man was that rough. Everything hurt. Everything felt tight. My GI system was unhappy, for some reason. Originally I had thought if I got to the PT place early enough, I’d tack on some mileage around there so I’d have less to do afterward, but I barely made it through those 1.5 miles.

I met Ben, who as I now recall is the therapist who my therapist Peter recommended when he moved back to Colorado in June, leaving me physical therapist-less. Perfect! Ben led me through the maze that is the gym where the PT practice rents space, and we finally got to his office behind rows of ellipticals. He had reviewed my chart and Peter’s notes, but spent about 10 minutes going over my history and symptoms with me. Basically everything felt like it did in March, but not quite as bad.

After I took off my shoes and socks and he tested my range of motion and alignment, he confirmed no bones were out of place. He said everything looked and felt really good, but that I was experiencing a flareup of the same PTTD. Again. Ugh!

The good news is that he felt I could do a bulk of the treatment at home, on my own. He showed me a few exercises to strengthen both that tendon as well as the arch of my foot. He also wants me to keep taping my arch, massaging that tendon, and icing after workouts and whenever it’s convenient. I asked about dry-needling, but he said it’s too soon before my race to re-start a treatment that I haven’t had in 5 months, especially since dry-needling leaves your muscles rock hard for a few days at first. He agreed to see me 2 times before the half marathon – once next week and once the following week – for some deep tissue massage and Graston work (Google this – it is PURE torture but SO worth it).

After the race, we’ll re-assess and see what I need, but he was glad to hear that I planned to take at least the second half of November and possibly all of December off from training. This means no required workouts. No running when I’m tired or sore or just not feeling it. No running because I “have to.” I’ll only run when I want to and feel like it. I won’t set goals other than to have fun. That Turkey Trot I’m running on Thanksgiving? Zero expectations. Hell, I might even run/walk with my dad.

In other news, my new shoes feel really good now that I put my orthotic insoles in them. I had the best run in forever on Tuesday night – my first negative splits in weeks and my fastest few miles in quite a while. I even ordered a new pair of insoles – this time with the metatarsal pad – and those arrived so I’m planning to wear them for Sunday’s long run (9 miles!).

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