It is finished.

My foot, that is.

Sigh . . .

I kind of figured this day would come. I just kept pushing until it did.

After I ran 3 miles on Sunday, my foot hurt all day long, with every step I took. I got up the next morning and I thought, “That’s it. I’m done.”

I haven’t run since.

And it still hurts.

Despite all my icing, stretching, chiropractic therapies, to say nothing of the $$$ I have spent on proper footwear, I have to finally admit defeat. I will have to stop running for a time and allow my foot to heal.

I realized when talking to my trainer on Tuesday (we do strength training workouts, no running) why I am so resistant to taking time off.

She told me the story of how she took 2 months off of all forms of exercise at one point to allow a torn Achilles to heal. She of course went back to running as soon as she was cleared and has since run several marathons.

She told me her story and said, “A couple months really isn’t a big deal in the grand scheme of things.”

I get that. I do, but this is what I realized.

I have never my life taken a week off of exercising — much less a month — and gone back to what I was doing before. It is like once I stop, I can’t seem to get going again. I can think of probably 10 times that I started a regular exercise program of some sort, did it consistently for several months, and then got sick or went on vacation and never went back to the exercising — usually for years.

I am terrified that if I take a month off of running, I will never go back to it. I can see myself in a few years saying wistfully, “Yeah, I used to be a runner once. I might start again . . . some day.”

And I will slowly let everything I’ve gained in the past three years go to pot.

It is that constant fear of failure that drives me out the door in the rain, cold, and heat to log the miles. And also what prompts me to be one of those annoying people who share so often on Instagram and Facebook when I meet a new goal or just have a good run.

Every day that I get back from a run that I completed, it is one more day that I didn’t quit.

i really regret that run said no one ever

This morning I went to an orthopedist and left with instructions not to run for at least one month. He prescribed what I feel is a pretty aggressive treatment plan. You tell me what you think.

For the next 4 weeks — no running (I didn’t ask about other forms of exercise; I guess I need to clarify that), Naproxen (an anti-inflammatory), and physical therapy 2-3 times a week including Iontophoresis.

And he wants me to get bone scan to rule out a stress fracture in my calf (he’s not worried about a stress fracture in my foot.)

Then after 4 weeks, we re-evaluate. If I’m not better, we will consider a steroid injection.

Which I have a good mind to request right now. But I guess I have to cooperate and see if his other method works first.

I’m not thrilled with the idea of taking an anti-inflammatory. He even asked if I’ve ever had ulcers. I don’t, but I do have gastritis and reflux issues I am always trying to manage with diet. I generally steer clear of NSAIDS for that reason.

I think the bone scan is unnecessary, and that requires a certain amount of radiation, yes?

And then I have no clue what iontophoresis entails, but it sounds uncomfortable. I hated electrical stimulation when the chiropractor did that. Does anyone know if there are any risks involved? They have to apply some sort of medicine for that.

My only other option at this point is to go back to my chiropractor and see if his methods will heal my foot if I agree to stop running for him too. I do credit him with getting me through that half marathon with minimal pain. My foot pain has gotten much worse since the half marathon, and I’m logging way fewer miles than I was when I was training. And remember how the first few days afterwards, I didn’t have any pain at all? Even when I traipsed all over the hospital in flimsy shoes?? It’s only gotten worse since I’ve reduced my running and gotten better shoes. The only other thing that has changed is no chiropractor.

But unfortunately, my insurance won’t cover any more of those visits, and I can’t afford the out of pocket charges. Or, more accurately, I don’t want to make the necessary sacrifices in other areas of the budget. Heh.

So. I think I’m gonna suck it up, do everything this orthopedist is telling me to do, and then when I’m cleared to run, I will have someone come to my house and force me out the door if I seem remotely reticent to start running again.

And truthfully, I think I’ll be raring to go. As hard as it is to convince myself to go running some days, it is much harder to see people out running when I’m not allowed for some reason. Despite my fears, I think the running bug is here to stay. At least, I hope so.

My WORST fear is that the second I start back up again, the plantar fasciitis will come back.

Everyone I talk to says it may, and it may not. There’s no way to know, but I suppose if it does return, I may be able to nip it in the bud, whereas I let this situation go on for far too long (almost a year!!) before seeking medical treatment.

Meanwhile, I wait. And go stir crazy.

I guess I should just look at the bright side. This time of year is SO busy, it’s hard to fit in my exercise, so I may as well take a break and resume when life slows down a bit in January. Happily, it doesn’t get THAT cold around here, and I kinda like running in the wintertime.

So. That is my sad song.

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29 thoughts on “It is finished.

  1. I’m so sorry! I have been there before. Let’s hope with some treatment and time off you will recover. I always have- and I’ve been done this road MANY times before with injuries. I think once you love to run, you will always want to go back to it. Don’t fear you won’t try again, just do what you can to get better. The biggest fear should be about an injury that is irreversible – this is not in that category at all. And you are so new to running that in the future, when you feel symptoms come on you’ll know what exercises, time off, and treatment plan you need – so in the end you will minimize the damage and ultimate “time off”. Hang in there! I had plantar fascitias bad multiple times. I can tell you what worked for me for sure and what my triggers were for future “cases” of it and how I could avoid a long time off. xoxo

  2. A steroid injection might be the answer. It worked wonders for me; in fact, I’m going back for another one tomorrow.

  3. I stumbled on to your blog a few months ago, and immediately related to your quest for comfortable footwear as I too am a runner who has struggled with plantar fasciitis. I actually ended up taking like 6 months off of running, seeing an orthopedist, and working with a PT who specialized in the Graston technique, as I had a lot of scar tissue in my foot that got irritated whenever I ran. Also had some very tight calf tendons and muscle imbalances he worked on with me. Iontophoresis is electrical current used to deliver corticosteroids locally to the area that needs it. The current pushes it deeper into the tissues where it is needed, yet isn’t invasive like an injection. I had this done…it wasn’t remotely uncomfortable, and it SHOULDN’T be uncomfortable if done properly. I decided to try that first because I was leery of cortisone injections since they can, if overused, occasionally lead to tendon rupture and skin and fat pad atrophy. The GOOD news is, that after less than a month of treatments, I had a LOT of improvement, and was gradually able to build up my running to the point where I did a pain-free half marathon. It took some time and patience on my part, but I haven’t had any major flare-ups since. (And have moved on to NEW orthopedic problems…the joys of being over 40. Ha!) You won’t need to be off running as long as I was…I’m just stubborn and wanted to deny something was wrong until I was COMPLETELY miserable and hobbling around the house in ugly gym shoes unable to be on my feet at all! Good luck to you! You’ll have a happier tune to sing soon!

    1. Thanks for your input. I have allowed this to go far too long, I fear it may be a long road. Oh well, I am looking forward to getting this fixed. Thanks for the input on the ion… thing. lol. I do wonder if I’d prefer a different doc who isn’t so aggressive with the meds. I ahve heard great things about the Graston technique. Thanks for your comment!

  4. The radiation for the bone scan is only slightly higher than xray. It is similar to a thyroid uptake test. Finding a hidden stress fracture far outweighs the radiation risk. Left untreated, stress fractures can cause serious full body issues. As a nurse, I have seen the side effects first hand.

  5. I had to drop out of the Marine Corp Marathon last Sunday b/c of foot pain. I was heartbroken and cried for two days. Seriously. Who quits Marine Corp, of all races?

    Anyhoo, I went to a sports chiro whom several of my running friends have used with great success…loved him…and he dx me with Dead Butt Syndrome. I know you do strength training, but I wonder if any of it might pertain to you too…I’m off running for 12 days, and have exercises to do 4x/day, but he says I will most likely be able to run the Dopey Challenge in January. Here’s the article: http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/12/21/when-the-diagnosis-is-dead-butt-syndrome/?_r=1

  6. It’s not finished, it’s just on a break. Plus, you’re still strength training. I think it’s wise to rest and heal and then get back into running. I think I told you that my mom had plantar fasciatis in 2005 that healed well with a steroid injection. Plus, I’m counting on you to kick my tushie out the door and hold me accountable come March!

  7. Aww Jo-Lynne I’m sorry!! I have that same fear too – that if I stop, what if I never start again. But I don’t think it’s a founded fear and I’m sure you will again. I ran pre kids and then didn’t start up again until after Cole but I did it! I’m sure you will too. Hopefully some time off will get your foot totally healed too.

    Maybe you can find something else you like in the meantime?? What about Cycle/Spin? I do that at the gym and it’s not as much pressure on your foot. Or swimming?

    1. I want to try spinning while I’m on my running hiatus. It’s just a lot harder to fit in a trip to the gym than it is to walk out the door. But I need to get over that I guess. 🙂

  8. Hm. Very sorry to hear this. I know exactly how you feel about, “If I quit, I’m afraid I’ll never start again!” and all the worry that you’ll lose the benefits you’ve gained, and REALLY value. Maybe use your blog posts about running as a motivation during these weeks, to remind you of the hard work, the gains, and the benefits.

    One thought (because this is one of my personal medical soap boxes) — be careful with Naproxen. It’s a great pain reliever, but one of its possible side effects is tinnitus. Supposedly, if you get tinnitus from it, it’s supposed to go away when you stop using it. But I have a friend whose tinnitus did not go away afterward, and it can be so debilitating. If there’s another equally useful anti-inflammatory to use, I’d choose it.

    Good luck!

    1. I am not sure I’m going to take that. If I do, I won’t take it for long. I feel very uncomfortable about that. You know how anti medicine I am in general. I don’t even take Advil for cramps.

  9. When I stumbled across your blog a couple of months ago I immediately felt a kindred spirit! I am a 38 year old newbie runner (2 years), completing my first 2 half marathons this year, and eat a whole foods- low carb diet- so much of what you talk about here on your blog interests me whole heartedly! I am really sorry to hear about your injuries, and once again, am finding my own issues echoed here in your thoughts. I ran my last half on October 20th… in pain… on meds- just to get through! I most likely have a stress fracture of the pubis ramus and am sidelined, myself, for about 6-8 weeks! It is killing me not to be able to run in this glorious weather we are having.. and of course the guilt over all the calories I am not burning, and the worry that I’ll lose the fitness I have worked so hard for! I truly feel your pain!
    Like you I am working through some decisions regarding diagnosis and treatment. For me personally, I don’t think a solid diagnosis will change my decisions. Because of the location of my injury I don’t see myself getting steroid injections, either 🙂 I do want to agree with a few other posters who have mentioned the importance of intentional strength training for injury prevention (dead butt syndrome). I myself will be concentrating on that as I heal and prepare to jump back into running!

    1. I do work out with a personal trainer who is also a runner so I’m pretty confident that I’m doing what I need for the strength training. I think when I’m cleared to run again that I will look into some type of running clinic to make sure I have proper form. I have a feeling that may be the root cause. And I know I need to cross train, sigh…

      Thanks for your comment!

  10. Best of luck Jo-Lynne. I feel for you and entirely understand where you’re coming from. I’ve had plantar fasciitis in both feet for well over two years. At times my pain has been constant. Despite umpteen kinds of treatment, prescription orthotics, stretches, PT, etc., I had surgery on both of my feet last year. I only just started to run (very conservatively) again recently (I was training for a marathon when my injury started and have been a runner since I was 12) to have to stop due to a high-risk pregnancy.

    The point of all my rambling is this-give yourself a break from running. I totally get how mentally hard that is, but in the long run, it will save you. I took up swimming during my post-surgical recovery, and while it isn’t running, knowing I was doing something physically active really helped my mental state. You WILL get there but you need to give your inflamed foot some tlc! Best wishes to you!

  11. I suggest making it a fun thing! Get a calendar and circle in red , your return to running date and make a cermony each day of marking off that you are one day closer. Keeping your head in it when your body can’t be could make all the difference…. Wishing you luck and a speedy recovery!

  12. I’m sorry for you. I know how much you love running and how much I enjoy reading about your running. I hope that the rest and time off as well as the therapies are just what you need to get completely healed and get you raring to go again.

    As a side note…my hubs get steroid shots in his wrists for carpal tunnel and also in his elbows for tennis elbow. He get them on average once a year and they work great. Other than the inital stick no pain or discomfort for quite a while.

  13. Do you have to stop a daily walk too? Maybe just going for a walk for the same amount of time will help you stay in the routine of getting out that door. Sorry that it has gotten worse. I’m like you once I break fitness routine it is soooo hard to pick it up again.

  14. Google trigger points for plantar fascitis. I can’t believe I had never been told about this by my PT for my recurring PF. It is crazy but within days of following the trigger point therapy my foot was healed. Since then I have recommended the at home treatment to 2 other friends who have had amazing results. Hope you can get relief and get back on the trails!

  15. BUMMER! I don’t know how I would take it for someone else to tell me I had to quit running. I did quit 3 years ago after running for a year & half consistently but that was my own decision. I didn’t intend to stay ‘gone’ so long but it just happened. When I started back up earlier this year, it too was meant to be. I say let what is meant to be, be. sometimes we learn to appreciate what we have or can do when we not longer have it or can do it.

  16. Just stumbled on to your blog and I love it! Once you rule out a stress fracture, have you thought about going to a good acupuncturist? We are very fortunate in my area (Springfield MO) to have a couple of good ones that are also runners. Other than a bad stress fracture in my foot a couple of years ago, they have helped me overcome all other issues.

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