Thursday, March 3, 2011

The Good News and the Not-So-Good News

Most of you know I've been dealing with some heel pain in both feet off and on for about a year.  How it usually goes is it won't be terrible for a while, then it gets a little bit worse, so I take a few weeks off of running.  It gets a little better so I go back to running...repeat, repeat, repeat.

During all of this I have also started weekly chiropractic treatments that include Graston technique, which I do believe helps me manage the pain.  I have also started to incorporate Movement Prep before all of my runs, which also helps A LOT!  If you are not doing this, you should be!!

Well, a few weeks ago I got to the low point of the cycle.  I feel like it was probably brought on by a lot of stress in my life,  a lot less time to take care of myself (get to the chiro, do stretches, ice, etc.), and a build-up in my training. I demoted myself voluntarily to pool running and decided I really needed to get to the bottom of this once and for all, so I made an appointment with my orthopedic doc who specializes in sports medicine and happens to be an Ironman triathlete.  I've been to him before and really trust his judgment...don't even ask me why I waited this long to go this time.  I think deep down I was just terrified he was going to bench me for the season.

But I made the appointment and prepared myself for the worst.  I was fully prepared to pull the plug on running for however long it would take to heal.

My appointment was today, and the good news is...I CAN RUN!!

The diagnosis is retrocalcaneal bursitis. Basically I have a bump of bone on the back of each heel that rubs my achilles when I run.  Because of that my body has formed a sac of fluid called a bursa to protect it, which in turn becomes inflamed and causes pain.  My doc said that this is something I can absolutely train through and with therapy (similar to what I am doing already), it will not hurt as much.

The not-so-good news is that it probably won't ever really go away unless I have surgery to get the bone scraped away.  Um...yeah, not so much.  The pain is not so bad that I can't work through it, in fact it typically doesn't hurt at all while I am running.  I just wanted to make sure that I wasn't doing MORE damage by running on it, and the doc confirmed that I am not.

My plan of action as of right now is going to continue treatment with my chiropractor, develop a really good movement prep/functional strength/core program that targets my imbalances and STICK TO IT, stretch, ice and advil as needed.  I think what I have taken away from all of this, is that I can no longer beat up my body and not take care of it without paying a heavy price.  All of the recovery modalities I have available to me, including my awesome Recovery Pump (more on that soon CuseTri), I am going to have to do with as much discipline as I approach my training.  I rarely miss a workout, so why do I neglect stretching and icing?

Back to running tomorrow!!


  1. Great news! I think they call this "pump hump", too. (In honor of woman who get them from wearing high heels). Happy running!

  2. Will I be seeing you at running group again, then? I loved running with you.

  3. Hey that is good news!! If it is manageable, then good - at least it isn't a deal breaker. Your attitude is right on with treating this with the same focus as you do the rest of your training

    Remind me of that once in a while, would ya? :)

  4. Good news-and, I have to agree with Caratunk Girl, your positive attitude is going to make a huge difference.

  5. Yet another reminder of our feeble humanness. BLAH. Feel better and train on sister!

  6. Yay! Sounds like you have a great plan to maximize your benefits and minimize your pain! You go girl!

  7. I am glad you have answers! That is a step in the right direction. If you want to talk "off blog", send me a note :)

  8. Kelly, I have the same "bumps" on both of my heels. When I went to the ortho / sports doc he looked at them and said "uuhhh, yeah they are definitely much larger than normal". Said I could keep running as well. What really seemed to work for me was a switch to thinner socks and just generally really watching the heel fit of my shoes. I've already worn through the material in the shoes in that area on many pairs. Once I switch socks and became more aware the pain has gone away, so there's hope!!

  9. Nothing else has ever held you back, why should this?

  10. My thought - if you can manage the pain (which sounds to be non existent when you run) than it's all good! Glad that you were finally able to get some answers!

  11. Yeah... I'm with Colleen. Man, I love that picture of you with my girls—too awesome!

  12. That's awesome news! It's great to have so many athletic doctors out there to go to.

    And I think I'm going to start using those exercises from Movement Prep you linked to. I've been slacking on my own warming up and it's biting me in the shins constantly with splints. Thanks!!


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