Immobilization wasn’t the word I wanted to hear on Wednesday morning at the orthopedic surgeon’s office, but I was ready for it.
For the past three weeks, the pain in my left foot has been getting worse to the point where I can’t walk without a limp. It’s a bizarre feeling not to be able to run upstairs, or quickly cross a street and I’ve had to guard against my little nephews tackling me during games of “throw the ball.”
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From as early as I can remember, I’ve always had a little jump in my step and an urge to spontaneously run when others are more likely to walk– like into the grocery store, or to pick up the mail. It’s an expression of who I am. It’s also a symptom of having fast-paced mind. So when sudden pain shot through my foot many days ago, my heart sank. This was a different kind of pain than I’ve experienced before with tendonitis, or strains. This pain felt much deeper and far more capable in stopping me on the spot. I quite simply couldn’t run as my foot and leg would buckle under the pain. In the 10 days following, and under complete rest, there was still no improvement. The next step was to track down a physiotherapist here in Omaha.
Exactly two weeks from the day I felt the initial pain I had my first appointment. He took me through a thorough assessment which included a conversation about my running experience, goals, training, footwear and nutrition. He had me do walking, jumping and stretching tests and then spent some time poking and prodding at my left foot.
That’s when he caught exactly what it was that he suspected: a stress fracture in my fifth metatarsal. He found a spot along the bone that made me snap back in pain. It’s the same spot the orthopedic surgeon found later at my first appointment with her, as recommended by my physiotherapist.
As stress fractures go, this one didn’t show up on an X-rays. The doctor explained the purpose of the X-ray is to measure healing. When a stress fracture is healing, it calcifies, and that’s what shows up on the X-ray. So, in three weeks I have an appointment to go back for a second X-ray to check in on my progress.
Until then it’s all about immobilization. I’m in a stress fracture boot and walking as little as possible. I’ve been given the go-ahead to try the stationary bike with the boot on, but if there’s any pain, I have to nix it.
Unfortunately, the weeks of healing time paired with a gentle, conservative build back into running means I’m not going to be able to run the Lincoln Marathon on May 7 anymore. It’s disappointing, to say the least, but I’m confident I’ll return strong, and in due time have my sights set on a new date to run my first marathon.
READ MORE: Why I’ve decided to go for it and run my first marathon