Monday, March 26, 2012

Hitting ReStart: When in doubt always go back to the feet!

After nearly one month of not feeling right and barely running and just feeling like I was wasting time on Stand By mode, I have hopefully found a Restart point again as well as a new perspective of how long it may take to recover my stride. Last week's mileage was minimal again. After running 3 miles on Sunday, I did the same thing on Monday. I ran 2 miles on the trails, did a lunge matrix and other mobility and stretching moves and then went to run the mile back to my car. The glutes started tightening up again, so I walked it in. I knew deep down what was wrong, but I am trying to do one thing at a time to see what works and doesn't work and at this time the trigger point injections from the previous week did not do much. When things started going south a few weeks back as I was upping the mileage, the glutes were the obvious thing giving me pain, but I also noticed my left foot was pointing  out to the side more and not landing correctly on the ground. In the past couple of weeks I tried everything to fix it: rest, different stretches, mobility exercises, massaging or pressing on tight spots on my lower leg, but nothing would fix the rotation around the ankle joint  or the stressing of the muscles, joints, and fascia going up the left side of my body pulling and pinching.

I then got an another appointment with podiatrist Dr. Howard Dannanberg to have him do adjustments on my lower leg and foot. The last time he did this back in December it helped bring that foot rotation under control. Friday, I went in and had the simple adjustments to my stuck fibula and then to the cuboid bone. It was over quickly, but Dr. Dannanberg knows his stuff and works magic on those bones. I get pretty much instant relief and then it takes a couple of days for the muscle tissues to readjust and finish calming down.

According to Dr. Dannanberg the bones just get stuck and or get out of position. There doesn't seem to be a real stressor that "makes" that happen and not much I can do, except come back when it happens again. He does say that in time it will take more and more time between adjustments until I won't need it done again. It does seem to be the best magic bullet I have to get things back into the best alignment that I can.  I guess next time I notice the glute pain coming on along with the joint and muscle pain, I need to look down and see where my foot is pointing as well as notice that my foot cannot roll on the ground properly, then I need to make a phone call as soon as possible to get those bones manipulated back into position.

I lost a lot of my enthusiasm for getting back into shape as quickly as possible with this setback and realized that I may not be ready for 40-50 mile weeks just yet or trying to get into some sort of racing shape by the summer. I think this is going to take longer than I thought, so I don't want to blow it by being too ambitious. Dr. Dannanberg told me the same thing. I need to tone it down. My bones may be fine, but it takes a long time for the soft tissues to catch up. He thinks I should stick to 20-30 miles per week with runs between 3-5 miles for another six months. This is hard as I think an 8 mile run is a happy run, but I see the sense in being patient even when I don't want to be patient. I need to start cranking the kettlebells more again and take out my TRX and must work on overall strength and fitness instead of jumping into the marathoner mindset.Maybe I can throw a little speed in there too.

I ran 3 miles after my appointment and then finally decided what training shoes to get so that I can do my best running in the next few months. The four shoes I have used running since the operation in July are unusual shoes: the Skechers GoRun, the Altra Instinct, the Hoka One One Bondi B, and a 5 year old pair of extremely worn out Asics HyperSpeeds. Most people might consider my shoe choice quite interesting, but I won't spill the beans just yet. It took a lot of thought and experience of using the different shoes with and without orthotics over the past two months. I got the new shoes on Saturday and ran 4 miles in them on Sunday and am pretty much pleased with my choice!

Total miles for the week: 9 miles

Dr. Dannanberg also told me to try this topical creme on my muscles and joints pre and post run or when my muscles are tight. It is called Motion Medicine and it looks like he is introducing it here in the USA after discovering it Canada. Dr. Dannanberg is a very smart guy who knows his stuff so I am giving it a shot. Strangely enough, when my foot is tweaked to the outside, I get really tight all up my leg and lower back. The night before seeing Dr. Dannanberg, I spent an hour or two not sleeping and using a stick and foam roller on my quads which had somehow tightened up despite not exercising for a few days. I think it is a chain reaction effect from one thing being tight and passing it on upstream as that leg goes out of balance. I haven't used anything on my muscles like this for years (could have used it the night before), so I will be interested in seeing how it works for me. It has a camphor oil smell-so yes, you will get noticed if you use it out in public, and it goes on cool and then is supposed to feel warm. It doesn't overheat if you run with it on. I tried that with a Capsaicin based creme once right before a run many years ago and boy did things heat up to an intolerable level! Never used that stuff again!

Here Dr. Dannanberg explains how he was introduced to Motion Medicine and how it works.

For some additional perspective on injuries, one of my favorite long-running threads on is the "loss of coordination in leg" thread started in 2006. I started chiming in back in 2007 before I even started this blog. It is where I first met other runners with similar problems as mine and we shared all sorts of ideas and information. I first heard of labral tears on this thread. Last week there was a sobering thread by a poster named "tumor". I am TDF on the thread. Tumor talked about the symptoms he had the led to a scary problem:

A couple of years ago I started to develop some scuffing in my left foot. I also found myself tripping while I ran in the trails. I would also find that my big toe would tingle or occasionally go numb. I also had three stress fractures occur in my left shin two years ago. The doctor took an MRI of my lower back two years ago and they felt it was a pinched nerve at L5. 
Fast forward to this past summer I found myself scuffing and an increasing pronounced foot drop. I asked to have another MRI and all looked good. The doctor agreed to take another MRI further up my spine and they found an egg sized tumor in the upper thoracic spinal canal. I went in for surgery to have my tumor removed and thank god it was not cancerous. I was left paralyzed from the waist down and rehab has been going well and there is hope I may be able to walk and possibly run again. My recommendation to anyone with loss of coordination is to make sure you advocate for yourself. The neurosurgeon told me that if I had not pushed for the another MRI of the upper spine I might of had only another month and it would of left me completely paralyzed from the waist down.
Sunday morning, an article on the local newspapers website caught my attention. I realized that I knew who Tumor was. He is a local runner, teacher, and coach and the article tells more about what happened to him. I am very glad Art found the tumor in time and wish him the best on his recovery. You can't complain about your own injuries when someone you know is dealing with so much more.

 I think about how valuable the internet is for runners and other people to share and learn from each other. I know I would be completely retired from running if I didn't' do the diligence to find out what was wrong with my leg and hip.  We also get to meet people with similar problems and offer help and advice to each other in many ways like on message boards. A runner named Sue has written back and forth at times with me before and within hours after my appointment on Friday, I got another email that was just spot on! She is working through problems with the ankle joint like I am and has a similar stride. She mentioned getting foot mobilizations and that she was doing Somatic exercises too! I liked the line she sent, "When in doubt always go back to the feet!" That was perfect after realizing the same thing hours before. She also sent some Somatic foot movements that were simple and just what I needed for exploration, so thanks, Sue! We'll get this thing licked sooner or later!


Laura said...

Tell me how the Motion Medicine works. It sounds like a miracle product, but if you become a believer, I'll order some!

Thanks, Laura

Jim Hansen said...

Hi Laura,
I will give it some time and then report back. I am not sure if anything is a miracle product, but if something works and helps it would be a smart product to use.

Jennifer said...

Beth Deloria is a runner with foot drop. She is running in over 20 half marathons all over the nation this year, to spread the message to others to "Get Bacl Up". You can check her out here: