Running Rehab

Most of us have been injured at one time or another. In fact, this whole blog is dedicated to my comeback from years of teenage injury that all came from a growth spurt.

Now, I don’t want to tar my current issues with the same brush as my 4 years of hell. But, I had some of the worst foot pain of my life on my run on Saturday, and it hasn’t been right since.

The day after my long run it hurt to walk, I couldn’t completely clench my toes, and high heels were (and still are) out of the question.

The irony of repeated history hasn’t gone unnoticed – in 2014, just as I’d started to believe in myself and set myself the target of a sub 5 minute 1500m, my running died a painful death. Now, just as I email the coaches to say I’m ready to take on more training (focussing on strength training, cross training, and more parkruns) my foot mushes up.

Luckily this time I know where to start to fix it.

In a previous life, I was going to be a physio. Disclaimer – I’m obviously not a physio, and would not recommend my advice to anyone but myself, and if you have any aches and pains the DEFINITELY go see a registered professional.

So following the key points from my training, here’s what I’ve been doing:

1) Rest – until I can walk pain free

Done. My foot hurt for the evening after my run, and whole of the next day, but fine after that. The pain was pretty tolerable so there was no need to worry about pain relief of any kind. On such a short term issue I found the pain quite a good guidance as to where my foot was at (always seek advice from a professional on pain relief on your own injuries!)

2) Focus on lengthening my muscles

Stretching. Most muscle related injuries are due to a muscle being too tight or too weak. Depending on the injury, there’s a risk you can do more damage by taking on strengthening too soon, but very little chance of added damage by stretching it out. With my foot, it could be tightness elsewhere in the leg aggravating it.

3) Cross training

I’ve been doing sessions on the bike, and easy days in the pool to minimise impact and encourage healing. It hasn’t been causing me pain, so I’ll be sticking to this until my foot is completely back to normal.

I don’t want to go back to running too soon and make a minor injury much worse. General discomfort when exercising can be normal, especially if you’re pushing it. But localised pain is a warning sign that something isn’t right.

If my foot gets better, but a run aggravates it all over again, then I know I need to get it checked over further.

Until then, everything is on hold. No parkrun tour, no extra training, and lots of focus on recovery.

I’m lucky I got this far without getting injured again, and I know I’ll be a better runner after this.

I’ve got a few theories on what it could be. They range from especially tight calves due to running a hell of a lot more hills than I used to, all the way to a full blown stress fracture. But I’ll just have to see how it goes.

See you all on the other side x

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