New hardware… (or 4-5-6 pause)

After going from no running to attempting to run 4 5ks in 6 weeks, something was bound to happen…Before I started my efforts to re-learn running, I made sure to get the sign off from my doctors.  I have reduced sensation in my feet, very high arches, and weak ankles.  I wear orthotics in my shoes, and also wear an ankle foot splint on my left foot to correct my foot strike when walking long distances.  When the physiotherapy team observed my (walking) gait in May, they said there was no reason why I could not try to start running again (see my “No More Excuses” blog from May).  So I decided to start off nice and slow…Along the way I have had my challenges.  I hurt a knee in early May, reinjured it and dealt with swelling throughout June.  Wearing a knee splint helped me to build confidence while building up to 5k.  I have kept it wrapped in all my races to ensure I do not reinjure it.  So far so good.In early September I managed to string together almost a full 5k.  But at the same time, I knew something was not right.  My foot was sore, I was waking up unable to step on it until after a good long stretch.  A friend joked that the solution would be not to sleep – but clearly that is not an option.This same irritation is what led me to the doctor in the beginning of my journey into fitness and learning that I had a nerve condition (2003-4).  My left foot was really sore, and it persisted throughout training for my walking half marathon.  I went to the doctor and wound up with orthotics to control my foot roll from weak ankles and high arches.  In 2007 when I went back to the doctor before attempting my first triathlon, I was given an ankle splint to help my left foot stability.I was at the National Hospital for Neurology on Monday and asked for another splint.  I suspected that my foot fall when running on my right foot was off, leading to same type of excessive ankle roll as my left felt in 2003, and was the root cause behind the irritation I was experiencing.  The physio team gave me an ankle splint, but in addition they also asked to observe my gait.I did three jogs in the physio room – the first one with no splinting, the second with my left splint only, and the final with both ankles splinted.  They counted my cadence and observed my foot fall.It was clear that I had a more even foot fall and stride with both splints.  My cadence was less (so my stride longer) and I was more bouncy and relaxed.  They also said that my over pronation was so severe on my right that 1) they should have observed my running foot fall in May and I would have been given an ankle splint at that time and 2) that I probably have strained my ligaments, my peroneal tendon, and also bruised my upper outer foot from the way I strike.  None of this is permanent – but it will take time to heal.So I walked away from my appointment on Monday with new hardware.  I will be wearing two ankle-foot orthotics when running, and probably when cycling too for a while (to keep alignment happening in my joint).  It may be easier to just wear them cycling all the time in triathlon, given that transition time counts. Right foot (on the left) happy in black; Left foot (on right) happy in grey!I have not been out running since Paris on the 13th of September, and I expect that I will be taking a bit more time off (I’m hoping to start again on either the 4th or 11th of October – depending on how my foot feels).  I miss the experience of learning to run and the sense of pure freedom while doing it.  In the interim I am discovering training on an elliptical machine, which although kind of boring does actually make me sweat and I can feel that it works the same muscle groups.  I will adapt, learn, persevere, and improve.I feel like I’m now battle ready.  I can’t wait to start running again.

6 responses to “New hardware… (or 4-5-6 pause)”

  1. Donna,I know these setbacks are frustrating, but you are running in a slightly different universe and are learning to deal with this new world. You are being very smart with your training and finding ways to mitigate these blindside hits. This is real courage. You will run and it will be on your terms. Remember what you have done when you cross that finish line!

  2. So glad you have found the reason for your problems my start to running is delayed so maybe we should aim for the same race. Take care lak1

  3. Hi Richard,

    I take each setback as it comes, knowing it is just a minor pause.  I guess what I am most worried about is doing any lasting damage.  The ache in my foot has scared me because I know with my high arches due to muscle atrophy from CMT, that I have had some bone deformation, and I am worried that may make me more prone to stress fractures.  I am hoping that the aches go away soon.  My husband says one more week off running, although I am itching to get out and try the running again!

    Thanks for all your support – you don’t know how much watching your journey is keeping me motivated!


  4. If you choose a 5k (10k max) and don’t mind me being Slow As Molasses, then I will be there!  I would love to run a race with you – maybe we can get a crowd together and all race for Livestrong?

    Thanks so much for your support.

    Donna x

  5. Thanks Jen. Each step, each learning, hopefully all makes getting to 10k more of a reality.  I am just dying to try the foot out with the new hardware to see if this helps!  I appreciate your support!

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