Monday, January 9, 2012

Injuries - Subtle to Obvious

Or Perhaps - Something's Are Not What They Seem To Be

I have mentioned previously that I wear an ankle brace.  It is a rather cumbersome affair with two straps that wrap across the front of the ankle, under the foot and attach, by Velcro back to the other side of the brace.  Then a very sturdy, three inch wide piece wraps around your ankle and closes with Velcro.  Under all that is a sleeve and tongue, much like a shoe with no heel or toe and this piece laces up and ties across your lower leg above the rest of the brace.  Al-in-all it works great and in two years I have never twisted my left ankle.  Sometimes it does create a  little discomfort in my lower shin, usually, right beneath where the laces tie.

This is what it looks like.  It is actually pretty comfortable.  I wore it for 33 straight hours at Tahoe.

Last Saturday I ran my 5 hour and 15 minute run at Oak Mountain, the run where I tried out my new camera and posted some pictures.  A couple of times during the run I had to stop and adjust the knot in the ankle brace because it was making a sore spot on my shin.  During the following week I was getting things ready for my 8 hour run at Veteran's Park in preparation for the Rocky Raccoon 100 mile race February 4.  During the week I noticed my leg was a bit swollen and pretty sore.  I iced it some late in the week so it wouldn't cause a problem during my long run.  Fortunately, I do not need the brace to run at Veteran's Park because the trail is groomed and smooth and fairly flat.

Friday night my ankle was still sore but I thought it would be fine.  We started the run at 5:00AM in the dark and in light rain but the run was fine although I started out too fast.  My ankle was a bit sore during the first couple of hours but caused no real problems and I was able to run for a total of 7 hours and 56 minutes and cover forty two miles.  When I got home I was zapped and spent most of the rest of the day taking it easy except for a trip to Home Depot, Sports Academy and Starbucks.  My ankle was a little sore and puffy so I put an ice pack on it in the afternoon and night and alternated with a few hot packs.  I planned to run 5 hours Sunday but decided the 8 hours was enough.

Sunday morning I got up and started to eat a good breakfast (all the really bad stuff, sausage and eggs and probably pancakes -all the things that I almost never eat) but I decided I really needed to go run at least an hour to loosen up my legs.  So instead of that great breakfast I put on my running stuff and headed back to Veteran's Park.  The flat running was such a change, have decided I need to do nothing but flat running until RR.  As I started off my ankle was again a little uncomfortable but I figured it would be fine in a few miles.  Well, it wasn't.  It stayed sore the entire run, in fact it got worse.  After two, three miles loops the weather changed from light drizzle to steady pouring rain and I decided I really needed to run more.  I was running at about the pace I hope to run at the Rocky Raccoon 100, pretty slow but without the walking, and I ended up running four laps (12 miles) in 2 hours and 15 minutes.

Now I was limping as I got out of the car at home and went up stairs.  When I took of my compression socks I realized my leg was really swollen and really sore.  I spent much of the day with and ice pack or hot pack wrapped around my lower leg.  By now knew this is more than a bruise.  I did a little research on the internet and I am now sure the problem is a stress fracture in my tibia.  Originally, I thought I bruised the tendon that connects the anterior tibialis.  After reading several articles about stress fractures in the tibia I am sure that is exactly what has happened.  There is one spot that is really sore to the touch and it is located exactly where the ankle brace crosses over the tibia.  This area that is painful to touch is not bigger than a quarter but my entire lower leg is swollen.  "I don't have an ankle!"

Looking back, I guess I should have paid a little  more attention to the problem when it first started but I absolutely had no idea it was anything more than a bruise.  Like I said earlier, the brace has make a sore spot several times and that was all it ever was.  I am now wondering if the ankle brace is what caused the problem.  I probably should go to an acquaintance that is an orthopedic surgeon here in Birmingham, but why?  He would just tell me not to run for six or eight weeks.  I can tell myself that, besides, it only has 27 days before RR.  A couple of articles said a stress fracture can be OK in four to six weeks.  I do intend to run the Rocky Raccoon.  If it starts to hurt I will quit.  Maybe I need to purchase a "Leg Brace" for the race.  I also have a pair of crutches up in the attic.  I could put them in the drop bag I will leave at the Dog Wood Aid Stations.

I had better dust off the Tri Bike for the next three weekends.


  1. Oh no! I hope you heal up well. Take care of yourself.

  2. Hi David. I got your comment reply on my blog. I'm not training for a particular Ultra...yet. But, my goal is to do one at the end of the year somewhere in the south where I live. Wish me luck! :-)

    P.S. I updated my profile so I can be contacted via e-mail.