Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Recovery ain't easy...

Hey all!  Gosh it's hard to write a blog post when a whole summer full of vacations, racing, etc. has passed by!  Where to start??

Hmmmm... how about injuries??

Running can be soooo great, but it's also the devil.  My last major running accomplishment was the Flying Pig Marathon in May 2009 (3:43).... since then I haven't FELT like a runner!

I slacked/took time off running the rest of 2009 to plan a wedding/start a full-time job/move into a new house... then got back into it WAY too fast in early 2010, and ended up with severe heel pain (plantar fascitis).  This ruined my 2010 season (but, I made a lot of improvements the bike!).

Early 2011:  Plantar fascitis STILL bugged me.  After numerous round of doctor visits, massage, and physical therapy, I finally found that the GRASTON technique worked around June/July/August it started feeling better.

But guess what?  As soon as the heel pain subsided, the back of my calcaneus bone (bottom of the heel) started hurting- great.  Right where the the achilles tendon attaches...hellooo achilles tendonitis.  

Why did this happen?  Most likely because I went from being a "heel striker" to a "midfoot" striker... since my calves were weak from not running, and there is a LOT more stress placed on those muscles when the heel isn't absorbing the shock, I'm guessing my achilles tendon got pissed.

My coach Jen and I have worked with it...slowly building up miles, keeping intensity low, backing off when needed... but when I had my first DNF at a half-ironman over labor day weekend (achilles was getting too painful on the run and I would have caused further damage if I continued), that was the last straw.  I got ANGRY.

After another visit with my foot doc, here's what I've been doing the last few weeks:

  • A 6-day steroid pack to reduce the inflammation
  • PT using the ion patch 2x/week
  • GRASTON 2-3x/week
  • Massage 1-2x/week (when I'm not bruised up from graston)
  • Icing 2x/day
  • Ibuprofin
  • wearing stupid compression socks/sleeves
  • Stretching constantly, and foam-rolling/golf-ball rolling if I'm not banged up from graston.
A bit about Graston...
Ouch.  Bruising is common...does it HAVE to hurt/bruise? No.  However, I let them "dig in" as much as I can tolerate...
From their website, the Graston technique can be described as a "form of instrument-assisted soft tissue mobilization that enables clinicians to effectively break down scar tissue and fascial restrictions.  The technique utilizes specially designed stainless steel instruments to specifically detect and effectively treat areas exhibiting soft tissue fibrosis or chronic inflammation."

Yup, it's like a deep-tissue massage... with a set of "tools"...they pretty much "scrape away" all the junk that builds up around inflammation and any muscle or tissue damage.  From personal experience, I can tell you that the pain and bruising isn't SO bad when it's on connective tissues that don't get a lot of blood flow, but it can be brutal on/around learn more, click here.

The "schedule" is exhausting.  It's time-consuming.  That stupid achilles doesn't stand a chance though- I am ATTACKING it!  Recovery ain't easy...


Rural Girl said...

Laura, I knew you were having troubles but I didnt know it had been going on this long! Wow! I'm really sorry. Injury completely sucks. keep us updated and I hope your recovery is complete and SOON!

Anonymous said...

I am such a pain wimp - no way I could go through that on purpose!! I hear I get to see you and work with you in SC!! Yay!

Jamie said...

Yikes LVW! That is in-TENSE. I hope all the pain and bruising is worth it and you are back in the game soon enough.

Janet Edwards said...

Holy crap! That just sounds like a whole lotta no fun! GET LOST STUPID ACHILLES!

Hollywood said...

I had graston on my ITB last winter, and I'd say MUST bruise. Heal up and get back at it!

Sweet said...

I think this is a good approach. Too often I see athletes just wallow in their own injury self-pity and just expect things to get better with some time off. Problem is time off almost never addresses the root problems only the current symptoms. I don't know if you're doing it or not, but incorporating some aquajogging to replace some running would be one more way to attack the problem!