I just returned for my monthly check-in with my sports med doc. Since I saw him last month, I've been doing 20 minute spins on my Schwinn Airdyne two to three times per week (along with weight training). The way my heel has felt after those rides varies. Some days it's fine. Other times, it aches for a couple of days. This is one of those days (I rode yesterday). The doctor didn't seem alarmed by that. He said that sometimes it takes time for the injured area to adapt to even light training. He was pleased with what he saw (no swelling), so the plan until next month's visit is to continue with my current approach, along with adding in a weekly swim (pushing lightly off the walls with my good foot). No walking on the treadmill yet.
We discussed the time table for this process and he said the key word was patience. He liked my analogy of how someone doesn't get fat overnight, and consequently don't lose the weight overnight. He said the fact that I've basically had this injury for 7 months and continued to run on it for a while means it's going to improve very gradually, assuming it does improve. If it's still about the same by next month, we'll stay in a holding pattern. If it does improve, we'll move to the next phase of his plan — strengthening (and stretching). If it gets worse (and if it bothers me even during daily activities), then we'll go the surgery route.
No matter the course, this is going to be a long-term rehab process. I guess it's a good thing I didn't make “RUN LIKE A MANIAC” my phrase for 2011. It looks like it could be quite some time before I run again. I will, though. Count on it.
And I promise I don't hate all of you while you're out running, pain-free, training for your goal races. I'll just pretend I'm looking at me as I see you running by (especially if you're running REALLY fast, with perfect form).