I’ve been relatively lucky in my path to being fit as far as injury goes, though I’ve had to contend with some issues that could have been serious had I not had a good doctor to help me through some of the hurdles. As far as accident injuries go, such as falling from my bike and twisted ankles from catching a poor angle while running, the worst I’ve ever suffered was a raspberry or two and a bruised ego. Not that I haven’t twisted my ankle on a run before, I have, but it’s never been bad enough to sideline me.
I have been through a lot of over-exertion injuries though. Plantar fasciitis, leg soreness, tendonitis (too much golf and too many push ups), things of that nature. I’ve mentioned the leg soreness before – at the beginning, my problem centered around shoes that didn’t fit properly. Now, let me be clear, fitness hurts – or more to the point, building muscle. Many of us fitness folks learn to enjoy that muscle soreness that comes naturally with exertion – if I can feel it, I know I’ve pushed myself… This is not what I’m talking about. I’m talking about pain, the kind that limits one from walking up a flight of stairs without help.
The first problem that I ran into had to do with shoe size of all things (but I didn’t figure that out for quite some time). I had been a size 10 for all of my adult life so that’s the size I stuck with when I bought my running shoes. By the time I’d worked up to a ten-mile run I was so sore when I wasn’t running that I was miserable. I pushed through that for almost two years and at its worst, I had to take four months off from running. Finally I went in to my local running store and explained my problem in detail, and for the first time in more than a decade, I had my feet measured. My shoes were a full size too small and once I changed shoe sizes I haven’t had that pain. Now this is important: At a size 10, my shoes fit in the manner that is suggested at a regular shoe store, a little room in the toes etc. so it’s not like I was running around with my feet crammed into a running shoe as a hockey player does with his skates, they just weren’t big enough for running because my arch and the arch of the shoe weren’t lining up right as I ran.
Beyond that, I’ve had a few bouts with plantar fasciitis and I know a lot of people who struggle regularly with it – especially the Clydesdale’s (I intend that term endearingly – one of my very best friends is a heavy guy and the fact that he puts in the miles that he does is inspiring). My inspiration for writing about it today is that I’ve developed, with the help of friends, my doctor and some trial and error, a way to recover from leg pain in a matter of days (my last bout was lasted only three). Many people I know have suffered through a half of a season taping themselves up and switching from running to swimming to deal with it.
Before I get into my remedy, let it be known, I’m not a doctor and I don’t know if my results are typical – I’m just sharing my experience in hopes it might help someone else and it certainly beats some of the alternatives.