Ah, the joy of injuries. And of course they’re always running injuries. Well, except for that time I pulled a muscle in my arm swimming. Have I had a biking injury? I don’t think so…although I have almost been killed once or twice by cars, perhaps.
The latest running injury is to the outside of my right foot. It happened during my recent marathon. I didn’t notice it at all during the race, but immediately afterwards the right side of my right foot, or the outside of my right foot, started to hurt–a lot. So much so that although I had plenty of things hurting below my waist, what caused me to limp more than anything as I walked to our car to drive home was the pain in the outside of my right foot. When I say “outside” let me get more specific.
It doesn’t hurt on the bottom, it hurts more on the top. You could think of it as the exact opposite side of the foot from the arch. It’s on the top, maybe a little bit on the side, but definitely not on the bottom. It’s not right below the ankle, but a little ways forward of the ankle. And sometimes it sort of runs from that area of the top-outside of my foot to my ankle. Sometimes it feels as though the pain is going through my ankle, or like my ankle is crushing something.
There has been no swelling, no bruising, and there is zero pain when the foot is not in use. That is, I only feel pain if I get up and walk around, but if I’m sitting there is no pain, even if I put weight on my foot or toes. I’ve had enough broken bones to believe this isn’t a stress fracture. I’m pretty sure it’s just a strained tendon/ligament/muscle.
A long distance runner friend of mine asked me if I ran the marathon on the side of the road. I told him yes, since the marathon was almost entirely run on the right sides of roads. He told me this was the issue that had caused the injury, since the right side of the road tends to slope downwards, making your running uneven and forcing your right foot to the right each time you step.
Just think of your foot stepping on the ground as you’re running. Imagine you’re looking at your foot from the rear of it. Each time you step, you would ideally land on your toes, more or less flat on the ball of your foot, or slightly on the inside. But if the ground slopes to the right, then each time your right foot comes down, it touches down on the inside, but as your full weight is applied it falls to the right side, or outside of your right foot, putting extra strain on outside of your right foot as it sort of “rolls” that way. This would also put extra strain on the connection between that part of your foot and your ankle, should something be there to connect the two.
If that’s what happened, then fair enough, I know what cause the problem. But if it hasn’t gone away after a week and a half of rest, then how do I get it to heal, can I keep running and have it heal at the same time, and how do I make sure this doesn’t happen again? Sounds like it’s time to call my physical therapist.
Ok, Jonathan said he couldn’t tell me exactly what it was without examining it, but this was his advice:
1. Stretch that area of the foot by lifting the foot off the floor/ground, pointing the toe, and moving your toes in a circle or “roll” your foot around. It’s true that I do feel something there when I do this.
2. Ease into running again. He didn’t say to stay away from running, but to avoid overdoing it. He said it might take a few runs and a bit of stretching to get rid of the pain.
3. If it’s still hurting a week from now, make an appointment and come get it worked on.
If I were rich, I’d move #3 to the top of the list, but since I’m not I’ll follow his advice and hope for the best.