Sky Runs

Taking the long way round

The Homestretch

Oh it’s been a while after all, but it feels much longer.

Recovery will take as long as it takes and I’ve mostly made peace with that. I don’t feel that I’ve had any setbacks and I’m grateful for that. Once I wrapped my head around the fact that I could be on crutches up for up to three months then it became an ultra of recovery. I did hit a low point as I neared the halfway mark towards the second half of May–my leg was hurting more, perhaps I was trying to do too much–I felt miserable for a few days but like all low points it passed. A kind ultrarunner loaned me the ultrasound bone stimulator that she no longer needs, and within a few days of starting treatments with it I was able to take my first few wobbly steps without crutches. I could have cried with joy.

A week or so later I had my second MRI and follow-up doctor’s visit. The MRI report downgraded my injury to a “stress reaction” and noted that the bone was not fractured (seems it’s just weak) with accompanying bone marrow edema. My ortho gave me a prescription for physical therapy and the green light to get in the pool- pool walking, aqua aerobics, and swimming are fine. My fantastic PT adds new exercises to my routine every week and also said I could bike- recumbent stationary, no resistance. I’m fine with all that.

I’m coming up on week 10 of crutches but for the past few weeks I’ve been able to use forearm support crutches, which are easier to get around with than the underarm type. At home I can get around with one crutch but I take both when I go outside and have walked up to half an hour or so with them, though I’ve been advised to limit my walking around to only what is necessary.

My next ortho appointment and MRI will be in three weeks, and I’m hoping for a good result and permission to get off the crutches at that time. Running is still a ways off, but I’d really like to walk freely and start yoga by mid-late summer. That is as far as my recovery horizon can realistically stretch. While my PT said he sees no reason why I wouldn’t be able to get back to my previous level of activity and ultras, I have to say that I have no idea what lies on the other side of this injury–whether I’ll still be willing to put up with the pain and risk of hurting so much and for so long again. There are, after all, many other adventures in this world to be had, and I have a ready imagination for them.

1 Comment

  1. I’m very glad to hear things are improving!

    Pool running was great for me when I had to take a short time off in 2013. I even got a waterproof case and earphones for my iPod and listened to podcasts. I like pool running better than swimming – I’m SO out of shape for swimming.

    Here’s a workout plan for 9 weeks – I didn’t wind up using it, but it’s supposed to be quite good

    You’re the only other runner I’ve seen mention bone marrow edema – I had that show up on a test as things being the “reverse” (white s/b black, vice versa) of normal and it freaked everyone out at the MRI center (and freaked the podiatrist who sent me there) as they hadn’t ever seen it before. One guy told me he’d only seen something like that with a metabolic disorder. (I was battling a bit of tendonitis which caused me to back off training for a couple weeks and retarget a later marathon – this happened in late 2013). What had preceded the MRI was a summer of going from 50mpw to 80mpw , a pretty steep ramp-up, and I didn’t have any clue until my tendon yelled.

    Anyway, I found a chiro to help me out in fall 2013, and with his help and care, I ran 3 BQs (my first ones!) and 2 PR marathons in 2014, plus a half and my first 50k. (I ran my first Boston this April, but was fried from too much racing at the end of 2014 and not enough recovery, then life stress).

    At some point last year (I think, could have been 2015), I asked the chiro about the edema and he looked at the results, pulled up something on his computer and said – yeah, that can happen if you’re doing a lot of mileage. He discussed the fluid swelling and the bone formation process with me and said none of those people must treat that many runners! I was surprised the podiatrist, highly regarded in the local running community, hadn’t had a clue and my chiro knew right away, and more importantly, wasn’t worried.

    Sorry to babble.

    The head game post injury is a big thing, I found, and still find, it’s easy to get scared at every little niggle. My 2013 issue turned out to be no big deal, but I really messed with a tendon in 2004 before I had any clue that running shouldn’t hurt that much and it still occasionally bothers me.

    Whatever choice you make will be the right one for you now, as long as you’re open to things being different if that’s what you want – and it sounds like you are. No one can step in the same river twice, so it will be different even if you just decide to go back after prior goals and training.

    I wish you the best!

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