Thursday, June 3, 2010

Physical Therapy, Day One

I just returned from my first visit with a physical therapist. Let's see if I can relay all the info swimming in my inadequate brain.

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 I can RUN again!

And not drive my wife crazy...which will undoubtedly happen.


  1. Did she say why you couldn't run? I'm still waiting for a VALID reason. Again, sounds like an achilles issue to me. You may not be able to stretch it using traditional methods but you can massage it/(kneed it) to loosen it up. These are "generally" caused by lack of or incorrect stretching combined with fast running (read: speed work).

  2. Colin, I don't have dog in this fight but I think you are wise to trust the professional.

    Inflammation won't go down with stretching and certainly won't go down with running more. Seems VALID to me.

  3. Tony, trust me...I desperately want to run. My valid reason is that it HURTS to run, and has gotten worse the last few runs (slow, fast, hills, flats). I will massage it & do the other treatments. I figure the less I aggravate it, the sooner the swelling & pain will go away and the sooner I can get back out to run.

  4. I don't like anything that ends in "itis". However, this sounds like a valuable opportunity to address some issues that may otherwise plague you in the long run. My father-in-law likes to refer to such situations as a "temporary inconvenience." He is a wise man. (To clarify though, he did inform me, when my wife was delivering my first son, that having a baby was not, in fact, a "temporary inconvenience").

    Have you been hiding something from us, like wearing pumps around the house? Anyway, good luck and I hope some good fixes come out of this situation.

  5. Thanks Greg. I agree on the kids comment. They may not be a temporary inconvenience, but at least they're a lifelong blessing!
    I also agree that this could be a good opportunity to figure out some biomechanical issues.

    As for the pumps...I promise not to post any cross-dressing pics on the blog.

  6. Hi Colin,
    Well at least you found out what the issue is. I hope that your PT and potential special shoes will help you. Keep a positive attitude and hang in there! Happy something fun this weekend!

  7. So sorry to hear Colin! I imagine you probably know what I'm going to say next...

    Take the time to let it heal, then strengthen with gentle barefooting. Or, you could hope you insurance covers custom orthotics for the rest of your running life.

    Prayers for you bud.


  8. I feel like custom orthotics are ALWAYS mentioned. I'd push back. I mean, you went this long without them - what changed to all of a sudden need them now??

    BTW, I totally thought that calcaneal periostitis sounded like you had calcium deposits in your butt.

  9. Julie, thanks for your encouragement.
    Adam, I feel the same way re: orthotics. I used to wear OTC inserts (Superfeet) and ditched them late last year w/no negative effects. I'm going to do everything to NOT wear any, if possible. And...the calcium deposits on my butt have nothing to do with my heel issue. At least, I don't think so.
    Brandon, I'll probably never become a true barefoot runner, but doing some of it in my back yard to strengthen my feet isn't a bad idea. I do have high arches, so I don't have as much natural spring in my step, so I've been told.

  10. Tell you what, Spinning wouldn't totally suck while you are on the DL. I'd rather do that than the other S word. I can't say it. Okay, swim, there I said it.

  11. "Chris Korn...banned from this blog for using the "S" word"