Stupidity, stress, and enthusiasm don't mix

So, I'm not as broken as I worried I was. And I really, really love my chiropractor.

So, some background. Yesterday, I said I was a little worried about a lingering pain in my left leg. As I'm sure you all remember, Friday night, I decided I would go for a run. I also wanted to try increasing my pace.

Now, for any of you would-be runners, there is a rule we follow in training. It's called the 10% rule. The principle is, you never increase the duration, distance or intensity of your workout by more than 10% from one week to the next.

That's an "OR" in there. Not an "AND." Hence, it was really stupid of me to increase my pace by 0.3 mph, and then let myself run for a full forty minutes - seven minutes over my previous best of 33 minutes.

Yeah, kinda blew the 10% rule out of the water.

I knew it. I knew it the minute I stepped off the treadmill. It really didn't register as I was running though, because, well, I like running. My legs/foot/whatever didn't hurt as I was running. I felt great as I was running. All the stress of my week melted away as I was running. It was stopping that caused problems. Suddenly I had this spot, just above my left ankle, that was sore - sore to put weight on, tender to the touch, a little red, and a little swollen. Hmm. Oh dear.

But, I went home, iced it, rested, and by the next day, I was fine.

Sunday, I went to step class. Again, through class, I was fine. I had a great class actually. One of the best to date.

Then... the pain came back. With more redness. And maybe some bruising.

Now I was worried.

I don't like doctors, as a rule (my apologies to any specific doctors - I'm sure you're very competent, but I've had bad experiences). I really dislike our local ER, which tends to be very rush-in, rush-out, diagnose on the run, hardly listen to the patient, etc. I *knew* with my history and symptoms, it would be easy to say "stress fracture" (which can't always be seen on x-rays) and tell me to take some Tylenol and stay off it for three weeks. I also knew I was not staying off my foot for three weeks. Plus, there is absolutely no notion of follow-up care at an ER. My family doctor.... yeah. I might get in to see him in six weeks. He might actually listen to what I'm saying when I got there.

So, I figured I'd take a chance and ask Dr. Mike. After all, chiropractors are supposed to be specialists in the neuromuscularskeletal system - plus he is well aware of my full history, my life, my work, everything, and isn't just going to give me a generic recommendation.

Well, turns out he is a font of knowledge about stress fractures and stress injuries on the whole; plus, he can do this awesome little trick with a tuning fork to diagnose a fracture. Apparent if you hit a tuning fork and place it against a broken bone, it will cause the two ends of the break to vibrate and cause a lot of pain for the patient (I almost want to have a broken bone so I can go in and say "Do the tuning fork thing, I want to try this!").

I definitely do not have a stress fracture. After a careful exam, I do have a (I think this is what he said) fibularis strain. Where the Achilles tendon attaches to the bone (fibula), it has started to pull away. It's only mild, but best to treat early. So, no running for a little while.

I expected Shawn to rake me over the coals when I told him last night (since he has warned me about overtraining before) but he didn't. He was really great, made me feel much less stupid, and promised to modify my program 1) until I'm better and 2) to ensure that we minimize the risk of this happening again. He also took way more of the blame than I think he should have. After all, he has warned me and I did know it was a bad idea - I just didn't stop to think.

Oh well. A few days off running won't kill me. Might not be great for my coworkers, but won't kill me. Just be prepared for some whining.


baygirl32 said...


did he say fibularis(which is muscle) or fibula (which is bone)?

No running for a while! and make sure you ae doing your stretches.... 3 reps 3 times a day for 20 seconds. If I knew which muscle I could tell you excatly what stretch to do.

Cassandra said...

I'm pretty sure it was fibularis - something to do with the tendon pulling away from the bone it attaches to. Thankfully mild,and shouldn't take long to heal.

Julie said...

I'm glad it's not broken! Now you need to take it easy! Easier said then done right?? I was the same way when I hurt my hip, it sucked!

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