Hello again! Welcome to a new week of fun. Last we heard, I was still having calf pain in my right leg, which has been going on since I was training for the 2015 New York City Marathon. That and my hips (that I had surgery on in August) were hurting a bit. I took a week off from running and instead did spin, spent some time on the elliptical, revisited more of my physical therapy exercises, and my hips felt a lot better. (Also, eight million hours of foam rolling/rolling on a lacrosse ball.)
I tried running again last Tuesday with a 3:1 run walk, which got me to about four miles. Hips felt great. On Wednesday, I met up with Katy, a fellow labral tear/hip arthroscopy runner who I met on Instagram just before my surgery. She also had both hips done at the same hospital – but a different surgeon, and she did hers five weeks apart. We met up back in September and had talked about running together someday – Wednesday was that day! We ran five miles in Central Park, chatting about running and pointing to parts of our hips that feel off now and then. I’ve mostly been avoiding running with people because I’m still so nervous about how my hips will feel, so it was really nice to run with someone who totally understands.
I was really excited about my hips feeling better, and realized that maybe I just did a little too much and my hips didn’t like it. I did some faster runs (spotted a sub-8 mile at one point!) and added in Refine Method (maybe shouldn’t have done burps?), maybe my hips don’t like spin class? Either way, I felt a lot better after they calmed down. I sometimes forget that surgery wasn’t THAT long ago, so I still need to be ready to ride the roller coaster of recovery.
Back to the calf!
On Tuesday last week, I had the MRI of my calf that I talked about. When I met with the PA last week, she mostly figured that it was a muscle/trigger point problem, but thought we should do an MRI just to make sure it wasn’t anything more serious. So away I went to an MRI, and the PA called me with the results on Friday. She called and said she was surprised with the results – the MRI showed a grade 3 stress reaction. “Mild bone edema in the tibia and fibula suggestive of a stress reaction.” Definitely wasn’t expecting that! She told me she was going to call the radiologist to compare the read of the MRI with the story of my injury to make more sense of it, and she called me back later to say they still think that’s what it is.
We reviewed any history that might lead to this – I have hypothyroidism, but my numbers are good (as well as all my other labs!). My family doesn’t have a history of osteoporosis or fractures, so that’s in my favor. Overall, it just doesn’t seem to make much sense to me. Not that I think I’m invisible, but I’ve been running for almost 20 years and have never had any sort of stress reaction or fracture. (I’ve had more than my fair share of MRIs to look for one, but never found one!) It all gets a little more confusing because the pain feels the same as when I was training for the 2015 NYC marathon. I took six weeks off from running last spring when I was trying to figure out my hip problems, and then of course….surgery. I was on crutches for four weeks and didn’t run for twelve weeks. She asked if I returned to running too fast, but I think I was very responsible in my return to running. I started with one minute run, two minute walk x 10, and then increased the running by a minute at a time with the total running only increasing by a few minutes per week. So I don’t think that was it.
I was never in a boot or anything, but it seems like it should have healed if it truly was a bone problem. (Also, I’d love to do an MRI of my other leg for a comparison of what it shows – I read a study where high school runners were scanned, and many of them showed stress reactions without having pain. So maybe it’s just stress on the bone….so many ideas.)
But that’s what it says it is, so back to no running or impact. I’m allowed to do basically anything else, but of course, that’s not what I want to do. I appreciate the PA for saying, “I know you just started running again, but…..no running for four weeks.” I’m not going into a boot because of the recent hip surgery (although if it will help…..). I had a bone scan on Saturday, so I’m waiting for the results on that. (Not my area of expertise, so I’m not totally sure what information this will add.) Otherwise, I guess you take time off and then you get another MRI to see if it’s healed. I’m skeptical.
Admittedly I had planned to run with Abbe in the afternoon, and I got the call shortly before I was heading out. I still ran three miles with Abbe – logic being that if we ran in the morning, I would have ran for the day before knowing I wasn’t supposed to. I KNOW I KNOW. But I needed some stress relief and was looking forward to it. I cried in Central Park, so there’s that. (Then I got a cookie at Levain, go big or go home. I’m mostly talking about my hips because….no more running!)
Part of me wants to explore some muscular issues to see if they help because it truly feels like there’s a huge knot in my calf. I’ve also never had a stress reaction/fracture, so I don’t know what it feels like. I don’t really say that my calf hurts, but maybe it does? It just feels like it’s tight most of the time. When I run, it doesn’t hurt more, it just feels really tight. Who knows.
It’s mostly frustrating because I feel like I’ve been doing everything right, but here we are. (And it should have healed, right?? RIGHT?) It was really warm in NYC this weekend, and it would have been great to go out for a run. Instead, I spent a lot of it being pretty sad. I was finally getting to the point where I was checking out races I could sign up for, but that’s out the window for now. Sometimes I feel silly for being so upset about all this because it could be so much worse (at least it’s not actually a fracture!), but as I said last time, I’ve been dealing with this for so long and I’m pretty tired of it.
So that’s the update. I’m not happy about it, obviously. I’d really just like to run again.