Injury recovery: The effectiveness of the ridiculous

When the phrase “hilly run” was uttered, the doctor just smiled.

He listened to my brief history and description of my symptoms and confirmed my self-diagnosis. I have plantar fasciitis in my right foot.

There were no surprises here, but getting a trusted medical opinion in addition to the experiences of my coach and my stellar Internet searching skills seemed not only harmless but potentially valuable. What I like about this particular podiatrist is that he (a) is an athlete, hence he understands my desire to return to training and my desire for long-term health and (b) does not want to waste my time.

And so we start with a lot of little things. And some of them just make me feel silly.

Time, however, to embrace that silly things are often good for us.

On my rehabilitation docket:

1. Rest

Shocker. No running for another two weeks while my foot heels. Also, no weight training exercises which involve squats. This means so long to my kettlebell workouts for the moment, but there are plenty of other things I can do. Included on the list: downhill skiing, ice skating and snowshoeing (if I stretch first). Cross country skiing is out for the time-being. Since I have never been on skis, this is not a huge crimp in my winter style. But since I did want to try skiing this winter (adventure resolution!) it’s nice to know that downhill face plants can still be in my immediate future.

Among the training activities I can do, pool running has been added to the end of my swim workouts. There are grand stories of runners who have used pool running to key successful returns from injury. I believe them. I believe my coach. But have you ever done pool running? You feel … ridiculous. More on this in a future post. Trust me, though. It’s ridiculous.

2. Treatment

I was issued an AirForm Night Splint to wear when I sleep (or watch TV, read, blog, etc.) The splint keeps my foot at a 90-degree angle which gently stretches the plantar fascia. These, I am told, are supposed to be very effective. I understand the science and believe my medical professionals. However, it feels slightly ridiculous to sit on the couch with this apparatus attached to my lower leg. It feels even more ridiculous to crawl into bed with it on.

Is there a pattern in my recovery here? Ridiculous seems to equal effective.

Also part of the treatment plan: an over-the-counter anti-inflammatory daily and rolling a frozen water bottle under my foot for 20 minutes after any physical activity.

3. Rehabilitation

I’m headed to physical therapy for some ultrasound and stimulation. Ah, another new experience.

In addition, at home it’s time to add some specific exercises to my daily routine. One is a stretch for the back of my leg, the other is a strengthening move that involves curling a towel with my toes. OK, the towel move? Yep, it registers on the ridiculous meter.

But if the ridiculous helps calm the inflammation in my foot and gets me back into my running shoes, then bring on the silly feeling. If nothing else, I’ll have plenty of reasons to smile at myself through the recovery process.

%d bloggers like this: