Saturday, March 9, 2013

Out for repairs

Well it looks like the start of my new running adventures is suspended for repairs.  I went to see my doctor yesterday because I was experiencing discomfort in my right heel.  It felt as if I was stepping on a small pebble in one area of my heel.   It was not constant and it seemed to be at it's worse in the AM.  If you haven't guessed it, based on the symptoms, it is plantar fasciitis and a heel spur.  I have to admit, I have heard the term before and knew it was an injury but that is all I knew. But apparently, my running friends knew what it was based on my symptoms. 

Side note:  If you don't have any local running friends...find some.  Don't be discouraged by your size. You will find that runners are the nicest people and full of encouragement.  Two of my best friends are runners/triathletes/duathletes.

Dianne and Kelly are amazing people both off and on the course.  When I did Couch to 5K for the first time a few years ago (yes I have done it more than once), I saw them the day before my first 5K.  I had so many questions.  Should I carb up the night before?  Should I take energy bars with me?  How much water should I expect to drink?  Should I take Gatorade instead of water?  You would think I was running a marathon.  But at the time, it was a marathon to me.  Remember I was going from the couch to running.  But these two are actually marathon runners, triathletes, duathletes.  And they answered my questions with as much seriousness and concern as they would if I was in fact running a marathon.  They never giggled or said, 'Rozette it is just a 5K".  They just answered the questions and encouraged me on my run.  Dianne even offered to run back and run with me on the day of the race.   Good people and I guarantee you that if you find some runners around you and befriend them, they will be awesome also. 

Ok, where was I?  Oh yes, my  injury.  Ok, the information I am sharing is from my doctor.  I am NOT a doctor or physical therapist.  I am a fluffy runner sharing what was shared with me.  According to my doctor, this injury can be caused by sudden increase of activity; such as running, sudden increase in weight gain, flat feet,  poor stretching of calves and family tendency.  I am positive for running, flat feet, poor stretching and family tendency.  Apparently, the feeling of it worse in the morning than through out the day is a classic symptom.  Unlike many injuries that are caused by a pulled muscle.  This is actually a constricted muscle or ligament, which is why it is more painful in the morning.  The plantar fascia is a thick material, not sure if ligament, that stretches from the heel of the foot towards the toes.   If a part of the fascia experiences strain due to any of the reasons listed above, it can aggravate the fascia at the point where it is attached to the heel bone.  She explained that while we sleep, we point our toes and this constricts the ligament.  Then when we wake up and try to walk on it, the ligament is tight and painful to stretch, especially when it is inflamed. She noted that doing the towel exercise while still in bed will decrease the discomfort I may feel when I get out of bed.    So the doctor gave me a set of exercises to do and told me to take an anti-inflammatory.  My drug of choice is Alleve gel caps. She said if I do these exercises twice a day for a two weeks, I should be able to get back to running/jogging/walking/wogging. 

Towel curls:
Place towel on the floor and curl it toward you, using only the toes of your injured foot.  Resistance can be increased with weight on the end of the towel.  Relax, then repeat the towel curl.  Repeat 20 times, 2 times a day.

Shin curls:
Run your injured foot slowly up an down the shin of the other leg as you try to grab the shin with your toes. (Do this one sitting down). A similar exercise can done curing your toes around a tin can.  Repeat 20 times, 2 times a day.

Ice roll
Freeze a bottle of water or tin can.  Place the frozen item on the floor and roll your injured foot over it.  Do this for about 15 minutes then place the bottle back in your freezer for your next treatment.  Repeat 2 times a day.

Stand at arm's length from a counter or table with your back knee locked and your front knee bent.  Slowly lean toward the table, pressing forward until a moderate stretch is felt in the cal muscles of your straight leg.  Hold 15 seconds. Keep both heels on the floor, bend the knee of your straight leg until a moderate stretch is felt in your Achilles tendon.  (Tendons attach muscles to bones; the Achilles tendon attached the muscles of the calf to the heel pull in your muscles and tendon, but no pain.  Changing legs and stretch the other leg.  Repeat 20 times, 2 times a day.

Towel Stretch (done before you get out of bed)
Take a towel or other material and wrap it around the middle of your toes.  (Keep your leg straight and toes pointed up.)  Pull your toes toward you by pulling the ends of the towels.  You should feel it in the bottom of your foot and back of your leg.

I should be able to return to running after two weeks. She emphasized that I MUST do them twice a day everyday.  So I will.  Here's to a speedy recovery.

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