After almost a year, I went for my ‘first second opinion’. Plantar fasciitis was the confirmed root of my pain, by another specialist. Only this time I decided to see a foot specialist, rather than a foot & sports specialist, hoping for a new perspective. It was suggested that I have cortisone injections in my feet. I would have to have them done one at a time as I would have to be in a boot for a few weeks after each one. By this point I was frankly happy to try anything if it meant I could get back into running, especially if it meant I didn’t have to do any more acqua jogging or bike sessions! My parents and physio grounded me, reminding me of my tender age and side effects of the procedure. Whilst not being particularly invasive, it was still a needle which was going to be injected into the fatty pad of my heel which long term could cause it to become much thinner and cause even bigger issues. That in addition to the necessity of localising my pain for the procedure was an issue. My pain never returned to the same part of my foot, instead it would jump around my heel and there was also no one thing I could do to stimulate it (except from running/walking). We concluded this would therefore be a bad idea.
Shortly after, I went for my ‘second second opinion’ at the same hospital, but with another sports specialist; an Orthopaedic Foot and Ankle Surgeon. This time, my physio attended the appointment with me as he could explain everything far better than I and they were old friends. Finally, I received another diagnosis. By the time I had gone for my ‘first second opinion’ my foot pain had developed into back pain in my lumbar spine. I went for another MRI, but this time around for my back. It concluded that I have a disk bulge in my L4/L5. I later found out that this can actually be something which is pretty common and remain undetected unless an MRI is carried out. My developed back pain did however indicate that my pain may be more neurological. It was therefore decided that a caudal epidural may be a good way to determine whether this pain is nerve related or not.
A caudal epidural is simply a steroidal injection into the lowest part of the epidural space (base of the spine, top of the bum), performed under local anesthetic. It would have been a short-term fix to my back pain if it were nerve related as it would reduce the inflammation in my spine. It was only a day patient procedure, so I was off home soon after the procedure to rest for a couple of days. Unfortunately, this didn’t seem to do a whole lot for me.
At this point it had been almost a year and a half since I’d done a proper track session. I was frustrated to say the least and certainly bored of running around in water, it just wasn’t the same. We, Pete (my Physio) and I decided that by training through the pain, perhaps wouldn’t be such a bad thing, as it, although we weren’t sure what it was, was unlikely to get any worse through training. We began to focus more initially on strengthening my core and pelvic floor. Then on releasing my general tightness. He also came and assessed me whilst doing a gym session to check that I wasn’t actually doing myself any more damage in the gym, since I train alone. Having done this we found lots of little bits for me to go away and work on, whilst I still saw him weekly to release all of my wound up muscles.
Gradually, he allowed me to get back into running and formulated a programme for me. We began slowly, with lots of walk/running which slowly progressed into longer and faster grass runs, then track runs in trainers and until quite recently middle distance spikes (they have a little more padding than the unforgiving sprint spikes). Although my pain has still not completely been eradicated it is so much better than it was, which I put down to Petes’ work. I still occasionally get shooting pains through the heels in my feet, but the constant pain it developed into has now disappeared AND the shooting pains are far more infrequent and are way more fleeting. Contrastly however my back seems to be a little more wound up, leaving me at the moment unable to touch my toes (something which was really easy for me previously). My back is now something which I have to be really careful of, as I frequently manage to tweak and niggle it, putting me out by a few weeks at a time. Luckily though, this affects my strength and conditioning (S&C) more than it does my actual running. I’m thankful for this, since S&C is far more adaptable. As an attempt to help this I have begun to do pilates weekly with Pete’s wife, Clare.
Have you got any niggles or injuries at the moment? What did you do to solve them?