Don't stress it!

I have had a pain on the side of my leg just above my ankle for a few weeks now. It was a strange one because it wasn’t hurting when I was running but hurting when I pressed down on a specific spot on my leg. I had a marathon coming up so I thought that I would just go and check it out. I went to see Parys Edwards, a legend of a physio based in Bryanston (South Africa). I had twisted my ankle quite badly in December and I thought it might have been a result of that but Parys had an inkling it was a stress fracture, however it wasn’t showing the usual symptoms; it didn’t hurt when running but hurt at rest! As the marathon was drawing nearer we tried a couple of things to get me to the start line including; dry needling, thumbs being stuck into my QL and a few manipulations all of which were as delightful as they sound but a necessary evil. This seemed to ease some of the pain and I decided that I would be ok to start the marathon on the premise that if it hurt I would stop and hitch a ride to the finish.

Parys and me post run around the park!

The marathon was a bit of a disaster, it rained from start to finish and as a result my silly insoles slipped all over the place despite me having stuck them into my shoe (clearly not very well). I ended up running with my heel hitting the carbon plate of the insole which quickly turned into a blister. I also ended up getting pins and needles in my foot because the movement of the orthotic raised my foot and made my laces super tight. As I spent most of the race worrying about this and trying to claw the thing back into place with my toes I didn’t notice anything wrong with my right leg. Fast forward to the end of the race and my legs felt like they had been smashed with a bat, somehow I still managed to run 3:00:36, the course was 200m long so I am claiming that as a sub 3hr marathon! Over the following days walking was a bit of an issue and I knew something wasn’t quite right with my leg.

Buffs Marathon

I knew my slippery insoles needed to be fixed and I managed to get an appointment with Mark Karam very quickly. He too couldn't place the pain on my leg as it was doing the opposite to what a stress fracture would do. The mystery continued…

He then asked to see my current orthotics and I was slightly embarrassed when I peeled them out of my shoe and handed them to Mark. I could immediately tell he wasn’t too impressed and thought that they may be the reason my leg had been hurting.

Anyway he whipped me up a new pair in a day (what a legend) and I could immediately feel the change and it felt great.

My old Orthotics

Parys and Mark decided that it was a good idea to send me for a scan to check out my leg just incase they had missed something. Parys managed to squeeze me in to see Bev Roos at The Rosebank Sports Clinic which was a god send. Off I went to see Bev, as she was scanning my leg I could see her wince and I could tell that there was bad news and she was just figuring out a way to break it. She continued to move between legs before eventually announcing with a sigh that it was a stress fracture. My heart sank a little as I knew this would mean no running for 6 weeks or so, no Two Oceans and would throw a spanner in the works for getting ready for Comrades on time.

There was no point moping about it I needed to put a plan in place to fix myself. Parys once again worked her magic and organised for me to go and see Oswald at the Sandton Medi Clinic to get fitted for a boot. He was awesome and super knowledgable which made me feel like i was in safe hands. I am now the proud owner of Bert the Boot and I am wobbling my way around the house feeling and looking a bit too much like Long John Silver for my liking!

I have now officially started the road to recovery. I hope it doesn’t take too long to get better. I am going to share my recovery with you all for anyone else that is in this situation or if you just feel like mixing things up with a bit of Cross Training!

Me and Burt the Boot

Top tips:

  • If you are not feeling quite right then go and see a specialist ASAP. It is better to get diagnosed early instead of soldering on and making your injury 10 times worse.

  • If you are receiving treatment and still not getting better then tell your physio and ask them to refer you to a specialist or for a scan, X-ray etc. It might take a new set of eyes to see what the problem is.

  • Don’t worry! Pretty much everyone gets injured at some point, take a couple of days off to reflect and make a plan. Scrub out the races that you know you will not be ready for and put a couple in the diary (with guidance from your physio) when you think you will be ready to get back on the road. This will give you motivation to cross train and get abs like slabs!

  • Work on your weaknesses. Use your time being injured constructively and turn it into a positive phase of your training to improve your core, stretch more or even to learn how to do a handstand!