INJURY: Posterior Tibialis

I went to the physio for a checkup on Monday, and John Murphy and his colleague Niall at the Carysfort Clinic could give me the good news that I wasn't suffering from an achilles injury, indeed not an overuse injury as such, but from an inflammation from a sprain on the tibialis posterior, the central stabilising tendon of the lower leg that runs behind the calf and next to the achilles before terminating on the inside of the ankle.

My old sprains from 2009 (4 in the right leg) have weakened this tendon undoubtedly and the snow running in December caused it to tear further. My mild pronation causes this tendon to "catch" my foot with every stride as my ankle rolls inwards and with my increased mileage and increased leg-turnover, this tiny biomechanical defect has become an issue.

While I was told to go back running at 75%, the injury is proving too painful even on ibuprofen, and I am limping while running which would cause all sorts of issues in other places if I kept at it and swallowed the discomfort.

My physio had my custom-made orthotics ready which will solve the problem of rolling inwards while wearing shoes. A second solution is running barefoot but as recent studies have shown (www.sportsscientists.com) you need to adapt to barefoot over a long time or face other injuries as you bring long dormant muscles back onto the playing field.

Speaking to Irish international Mark Ryan, who suffers from the "opposite injury" peroneal tendonitis (the peroneal tendon runs on the outside of the leg whereas the posterior tibialis runs on the insisde) says that 15-21 days for such an inflammation to settle is common.

It's a good prognosis, despite the obvious deflation of being injured yet again, but my luck will turn eventually. In the meantime I have been asked to keep working on activating my glutes. At the moment my hamstring fires first and then my glutes when extending my leg during the running motion. This is the wrong way around but common in most Western runners. If I can fix this problem, I will be protected better from such injuries in the future and will reap substantial performance advantages.

In the short-term, though, the bad news is that I won't be able to improve my form ahead of the Wicklow Way Trail. I was gunning for another shot at top-5, especially after my good run at the Wicklow Way leg 7 last year, a period when I was less fit than I am now. However, I now believe I'll be lucky to make the top-20. But, of course, on the day, I'll give it what I can, pity I can't bring in the 700km of training I had planned but more like 300-400 at best.

Comments