Pretty short on updates here for the moment. My forced break from running has moved over onto the blog as well.
Not a lot new has happened since last week, but things seem to be going the right way. I've been to my second physio visit, and he's still working on the Plantar. After 5 days on Difene (150mg per day!), the area is still inflamed, and the pain quite noticeable when your man from the Beacon Clinic get's stuck in on that area! (he refers to that spot under your heel as the "show me the money spot!".
I owe it to any non-medical experts to explain what Plantar Fasciitis is: It's basically an inflammation in the "soft tissue", basically white fatty stuff, that is attached to the area where your main foot muscles attach to the heelbone.
As any inflammation, it only becomes a noticeable injury because of over-use, and the physio had no doubts that this is what has created the pain. Plantar is always more noticeable in the mornings, when you'll feel like you're "falling through" your inflammed foot for the first few steps.
Anything that puts severe stress on the foot muscles, such as sprinting, downhill running, and track work, will make the pain soar to higher levels, while it's barely noticeable most of the time while doing slow jogs.
An inflammation is extremely sensitive to pounding, however, and because of that, it's one of the worst injuries for runners because the only cure is a complete halt of all impact-related physical activity. I'm grounded in other words.
These are my orders:
1. 4-6 weeks of complete rest from running (likely return between 27th Dec and 12th Jan)
2. Do a regiment of stretches and strength exercises every night (more below)
3. Icing every evening
4. Don't walk around barefoot
5. Don't heat up foot (you don't want an inflammation to swell)
6. Three weeks on anti-inflammatory drugs (Difene)
7. Weekly physio appointments with ultrasound and massage
The Root Cause
Plantar Fasciitis, like a lot of injuries, is not caused solely by blunt force or by a weak foot, the roots of the problem start somewhere else.
My physio discovered during the first session that my hip is misaligned, the left pelvis is one centimetre higher than the right and the lower back joint has followed it up. My theory is that this happened when I tore my meniscus running down Two-Rock in May as I got a tremendous blow up through that leg then. And, strangely, I have felt like I was not as "balanced" as before, somehow, just couldnt' put my finger on it!
During the second session, the physio managed to move the pelvis almost back in perfect alignment, and next week will check if it stays. This is critical to me, as we are convinced the misalignment has caused the left foot to be somehow "overworked" and made it vulnerable to injury. By fixing my pelvis and lower back, the problem should not repeat itself.
Other aggravating factors are tight hamstrings and weak calves, both two problems I'm now trying to address through stretching and strength exercises. If one positive thing has come out of this, it's that I've realised just how much strength work I need to do on my legs! Talk about feeble!
Then there's the mental side, running is great for your mental well-being, for various reasons, such as increasing the production of endorphin and other hormones that make you feel better and more alive and fight the stress-hormone cortisol. There's the whole confidence and self-esteem thing as well, and of course just the pure fun of the activity (most of the time anyway!).
So it's no surprise that when you go "off your fix", even we men suffer weird hormonal activity causing us to swing between various states of passive-aggressiveness, mild depression, sulking, brooding, and the lot!
I can attest that I've been far from cheery for the first 7-9 days, but now it finally seems to be getting better. Beating the living daylights out of an exercise bike and a cross-trainer on Tuesday helped as well, even though the guy next to me kept staring nervously. Guess he's never seen a bike being violated before...
Basically, it's running "cold turkey", your body is now adapted to regular exercise, and will not provide you with the endorphins and other stimulants needed to keep you in a super mood.
The Healing Begins...
There's good news, though. I must say I'm feeling a certain freshness in legs and body that has not been there for a long time. While I glance nervously at any sign of fat, or "superflouous weight", as it should be termed, I've tried to cut down my food intake, and increase sleep.
I'm hoping to take up swimming next week, and keep my fitness somewhat stable. Loss is inevitable, but the rest for my joints and muscles may prove a blessing in disguise for next season.
That's all, really, from here. Hopefully, I'll be back soon, but tomorrow I'll marshal at the Djouce Handicap, and then there's the Crusaders Social in the evening! All in all, not the worst plan for a good weekend.