First, I'll give you the name of the condition she thinks I'm suffering from: calcaneal periostitis.
"The periosteum is a covering of the bone. Inflammation of the calcaneal bone covering (periosteum) is called calcaneal periostitis."
Basically, it's similar to shin splints, but involving my heel bone instead of my shins. The area where the achilles tendon attaches to the heel is inflamed. There's swelling there and significant pain during running (and minor pain during daily activities). She tested my ankle flexibility with both feet (no issues), along with my foot strength (fine). This was just a preliminary visit, but she did note that I have some significant differences between my feet (how they appear as I stand at rest). She also noted that my heel bones stick out quite a bit. She said in women, they call them "Pump Bumps". She massaged my heel, did some kind of cold treatment, told me of a way I can self-massage the offending area to spread out the tendons, and said I shouldn't run for a few weeks.
Something I forgot to mention to her (because I never think about it since I have no memory of it) is that I wore corrective leg braces as a very young child [insert Forrest Gump joke here], so I may have some inherent leg/foot issues. I'll bring that up during my next visit.
She said there's a chance that custom orthotics may be needed. Ugh. I'm hoping not, both because I don't want to have to rely on them, and for more practical reasons (cost). But if that's what it takes to run the volume and intensity I want to run, without injury, I'll bite the bullet (reluctantly).
Next week, I'll walk on a mat that will show how my feet strike the ground. I'll also be videotaped while running on a treadmill during one of the visits to get a better idea of my running gait.
For now, I can find an alternative aerobic activity, as long as it doesn't cause pain. Probably some spinning on the bike, for starters. I'll keep icing, massaging and taking ibuprofen, and make my twice weekly visits to the PT clinic for the next four weeks and hope it clears up completely...so I can RUN again!
And not drive my wife crazy...which will undoubtedly happen.