Injury Updates and Advice Needed!

>> Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Everything was going GREAT up to the New Prague Half Marathon just over a month ago. My heel was a little achy post-race for a few days, and I consider that normal. But it was still achy a few days after that.

I wore my "night splint" a few days before the race, and I kept wearing in post-race. And I've been wearing it ever since (at night while I sleep). Supposedly, this helps hold everything at the right angle so it can heel up quick and correctly:

With socks as padding as I lay in bed.

I ran the Brian Kraft 5K 2 weeks later, and it was OK. Just "OK." It was fine during the race, and then it felt a little "worked" for a few days later.

The next weekend was Hillfest, so that was just a quick hilly ride.

And then the next weekend was the Trinona Triathlon. I ROYALLY bonked on the run, and if anything, that helped keep my injury-free during that run - I was hoping to muster a 38:00 10K, but because of the heat and my lack of multisport training I had my slowest Oly run ever. EVER. But my heel felt nearly 100% post-race. It only gave a small "twitch" that night as I was unloading my car.

But I've been wearing my "night splint" the whole time, and that always seems to help. When I wake up in the morning, it feels 100%, even if it was a little "off" the night before.

SO HERE'S MY PLAN: After the Trinona Tri, I told myself no running for at least 2 weeks. I did SQUAT for a few days after Trinona, and then Pharmie and I went on a long ride together on Thursday:

Pharmie (and her guns) workin' it up a tough little hill.

Cooling down along Summit Ave.

We did the first half of the ride together, and then I split away and did the second half faster and harder. I did a total of nearly 34 miles. My heel was a little sore the next day, but it wasn't bad.

Then this past weekend, I did NOTHING. We spent 3 days camping in Wisconsin with my wife's family. Here are 6 quick photos:

Henry's first time in a tent.

Lunchtime with the gang.

In the pool at the campground.

After another birthday cupcake!

Swollen neck, jaw, and lip from a nasty bug bite. Yikes. Between that one and the bite
that made my ENTIRE forearm red, my medically-minded wife had me go to Urgent Care.
The Doc said it was "impressive," and some drugs cleared it right up.

I'm (temporarily) putting off my goal to hit 1,000 running miles this year. That's the smart thing to do. (I was at 450 through May.) It's hard not running with my little guy in the mornings. I also adjusted the night splint to be at a little sharper of an angle about 2 weeks ago, and that seemed to help even more - it had maybe "relaxed" a bit, so I adjusted it from just over 90 degrees to just under 90 degrees (but it doesn't hold my leg at such a sharp angle - my foot pushes off of it and is probably just over 90 degrees).

So here's my game plan moving forward. TELL ME IF YOU THINK THIS ALL SOUNDS OK:

1. Try an easy run this weekend. OR MAYBE put it off a few more days until sometime mid-week next week. That'd be 2 weeks MINIMUM of no running.

2. Keep doing my PT leg exercises. I haven't been great about that lately.

3. Race the Olympic Distance race at the Life Time Fitness Minneapolis Triathlon on July 14. Just like at Trinona, I won't be in tip-stop shape, but I'll be able to have a good time at the race.

4. Race 2 MDRA "Grand Prix" races over the course of 3 days: the "Rice Street Mile" (road mile) on July 26, and then the "Run for Blood 5K" on July 28. They are short enough that I don't need to be putting in a ton of miles over the next few weeks.

I want to keep up the MDRA "Grand Prix" races because even though I skipped Grandma's Marathon this past weekend, I'm still in the lead by about 600 points:


Is 2 weeks of not running enough to help heel things up a bit? Then is 2+ weeks back at it enough time before racing an Oly Tri? And I THINK I'm OK racing a mile and then a 5K 3 days apart because my heel tends to get angry after LONG and not FAST races, so that's OK... right? (That's the one I'm most concerned about.) Has anyone out there worn a night splint before? Any thoughts for me?

Thanks everyone!


Carolina John 7:54 AM, June 19, 2012  

I think 2 weeks sounds like enough. Give it a try. My docs said 10 days was enough to heal up a tendon problem, and your heel thing sounds funky to me.

Skiracer1170 3:49 PM, June 19, 2012  

I think that Lifetime Minneapolis is July 14th

Steve Stenzel 9:09 PM, June 19, 2012  

Oooh... thanks Skiracer! I changed the dates in the post. I don't know how I got that wrong!! :)

Dr. Q 9:53 PM, June 19, 2012  

Depends on what is the cause of "heel pain" - do you have a diagnosis - achilles tendinopathy, plantar fasciitis, retrocalcaneal bursitis, Haglund syndrome, painful heel pad syndrome? Barefoot/minimal footwear running or wearing Newtons probably will fix it - but not in season as it takes a deal of a slow transition.

Nateatrigeek 12:32 AM, June 20, 2012  

i would say go get an xray...don't want to be delay a good diagnosis so you can really know what's up and start treating it right instead of using your best guess. worse case have a calcaneal stress fracture and a night splint wound do anything for that. if it's not and just cranky old plantar fasciitis, wear cowboy boots or something w/ a heel and try contrast baths (alternating warm and cold foot soaks for 10minutes/each three times daily)
Anyways... get in and get it looked at so you can salvage the rest of your season! number one reason athletes get injured is that they are currently training thru an injury.

Steve Stenzel 4:17 AM, June 20, 2012  

Dr. Q, I THINK it's some sort of bursitis.

Nateatrigeek, I had an X-ray and an MRI a year ago for similar pain (when it was worse), and both showed nothing. And I'm currently wearing (daily wear and running in) some slight heel lifts.

Anonymous,  11:30 PM, June 26, 2012  

I have some comments for your heal. 1. Do not walk on hardwood floors or concrete floors barefoot. 2. Try to wear flip flops as much as possible, they strengthen the fascia as your foot picks up the shoe to walk. I use Reef shoes as they have arch support. 3. For temporary pain relief use Blue Emu Oil. It will stop the pain but not correct the problem. 4. Also, all your shoes should have good arch support. 5. Stretch, stretch, stretch. The problem is the result of poor flexibility deep in your calf muscles. Hope that helps and you consider doing the Waseca triathlon this year!!

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