INJURY: A Return to the Old Ways


“Why did you come to see me today?” So I was asked by John Murphy halfway through my Friday physio appointment. “Just to check that the injury is progressing right”.

I have managed little or no running since sustaining my most recent injury (apart from a very successful long run with the Crusaders hill running team last Sunday, a good half-marathon with 600m ascent), but news was good as John examined the tendon and noted the a clear reduction in inflammation.

“Now this won’t be pleasant,” he said as he dug into both my tibialis posterior tendons with his knuckles and indeed it wasn’t but the relief after was palpable and so were the orders to go run on Saturday.

“They didn’t know anything about all of this…”

I kept getting the feeling that John wants me to run through the minor niggles I’m picking up at other times and today he asked a question that triggered some soul-searching: “In the old days they didn’t know anything about all of this. Do you think if you had to run to work and back like many of them did then, you’d just find a way to get on with it?”

My answer was an unequivocal “yes”, I probably would find a way. He went on to repeat John Lenihan’s old advice that many injuries will heal better if the joint is kept moving. So although my ankle is still a bit stiff its time to get back on the roads and hills and I celebrated it by doing 9k in Clara Vale on Saturday and another 15k on Scarr in the glorious Sunday sunshine. Neither seemed to have worsened my legs.

Withheld Information

I had forgotten to tell John about the 5 sprains/resprains I suffered last season in my right leg. John had been mystified why my right leg had suffered the tibialis problem in the first place and this was the missing piece in the jigsaw. Quick tests quickly confirmed that my range of motion was restricted and he used a special technique to loosen the main bones back up and a new array of exercises to strengthen the joint.

The key exercise is walking twenty paces on my toes but keeping strict focus on keeping my heels high. Another focus point is ensuring there is absolutely no wobble as the foot touches the ground and weight is transferred onto it. I couldn’t easily do this at this stage but 4 weeks of work is estimated to bring the foot back to normal strength. This weakened state could have become a huge risk going into the hill running season, so it’s great that we discover these little details step by step.

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