crosstraining

Killing Achilles Tenosynovitis

This week will mark almost 2 months of no running for me.

Well, let me qualify that – 2 months of not training hard. I have been running, but I have not been able to just leave the house, find a trail and GO. Trust me, it is absolutely nothing of my own doing!

Why am I not running? I had self-diagnosed myself with achilles tendonitis, but when I went to my physiotherapist, what I actually am dealing with is achilles tenosynovitis, which means that the sheath or layer surrounding my achilles is inflamed. In my defence  all the symptoms and treatments are the same, so I wasn’t that far off! 

What am I doing about it? Well, I am a firm believer that although no one plans to be injured, it is a normal part of being an athlete, so I am trying to use the downtime to become the best athlete I can. I am trying different sports to cross train such as climbing, tennis and snowboarding. 

crosstraining

 

I am also doing physiotherapy. I have been seeing a fantastic local specialist who has done biomechanics analysis and has me doing therapy exercises and stretches.

What have we found?

The small little problem that has caused everything has been a small tweak in my stride where I float my left foot to far to my midline which causes stress on my right hip. Basically, because I twist my left foot and collapse my right hip, I have achilles issues on my left side and IT band issues on my right.

I have been retraining my stride by running short intervals and thinking “1/2 cm to the left” which helps correct my movements. It is the equivalent of learning to write with your left hand when you are right handed so it is a slow and awkward process.

I also have been doing a lot of heel lifts and foam rolling to help strengthen the area and stretch out tired muscles.

I have also been seeing my chiropractor who has been resetting the bones in my foot. Because I was favouring my foot, I was locking it and causing more problems.

Another thing I have been working with has been acupuncture.

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More specifically, trigger point acupuncture which is where a needle is inserted right at the trigger point of pain. Yes, it is as painful as it sounds but it works. It is more aggressive and invasive then regular acupuncture treatments, but I found that my injury was feeling better after only one session. I also have been receiving natural injections into the area to relax and speed up the healing process.

Aside from that, I have been taking the time to focus on what I want my goals to be in the new year and how I am going to achieve them. I have a lot of exciting things in store for me, so I need to hurry up and heal this injury so I can get out there and go!

Have you ever struggled from a running injury? What steps did you take to overcome it? 

Dynamic Warm Ups

Apparently you guys have shin splints. I understand your pain.

This week, I have a wretched knee injury which came from too much trail running and too little stretching; a small little nudge from my knee went very quickly from “It’s nothing” to “OMGIamdying” pain in short order. My bad.

So I have been proofing the latest draft of the magazine’s issue with a frozen bag of peas on my knee and leading my exercise classes like a tin soldier this week – hoping it will be miraculously healed for Saturday when I am racing with the varsity team in Guelph.

All that vamping for what I have for you today..which truthfully isn’t much. But I love you guys so much, I made a movie for you through blurry eyes at 6 am after teaching a class and the quality reflects it.

One of the spin-off conversations from last week was the necessity of stretching before a run. There are many conflicting arguments out there, but I am a fan if I am doing intervals or just starting out after a running hiatus.

A few words about that…(whatever THAT was.)

When you are lunging, make sure your knees do NOT go over your toes.

Your warm up can be different from what is on the movie but make sure you do movements on each plane.

After doing it, I immediately thought of at least 5 other favourite warm ups, but Frankensteins are amazing and so is high jumps (drive your knees into your chest).

What did I miss? 

Injury

Injured?

I have been getting some emails lately regarding injury, especially related to running. It is unavoidable if you are engaged in a sport, especially if you are just starting out or are increasing your training volume or intensity.

But there is a bright side to injury. After last cross country season, I had an IT band injury that left me unable to compete or even run for that matter. Taking that time off and visiting experts was the single most beneficial thing in helping me listen to my body and learn preventative measures. This is what I have learned:

1. Listen to your body. If it is an unusual or sharp pain, it is better safe than sorry.

Sorry Nike. I cannot agree with you on this one and I think this is a wretched form of advertising. Pushing through my injury amplified the problem and made my recovery much, much longer. When I feel pain now, I often finish my run which I don’t recommend, but I know that most runners will. Afterwards, I focus my attention on that area with stretching and ice to stop inflammation. After 24 hours, I try to go into the hot tub to help sooth the muscles.

2. Stretch and Foam Roll! The other night I went to the gym after hours and shot a couple of photos of me doing my favourite and most effective stretches.

Quads are such an important muscle to stretch because they are one of the largest sets of muscles in your legs. Be sure to stretch your hamstrings at the back of your legs as well. This can help with IT band and knee related pain.

 

I could also name this the “I have no idea what it is called” stretch. All I know is that it feels great and it works the hip flexors and helps with the IT band.

Foam Rolling is THE BEST. It hurts beyond your wildest imagination but it is like giving a deep tissue massage to yourself. It gets right in there and loosens up tight muscles. I highly recommend if you are a runner to get a foam roller or…

The stick is advertised as a “toothbrush for your muscles”. Sound painful? It is. But it works. It works really well on areas that the foam roller is kinder to, in this case, my calves which are very painful from all the hills I have been doing on the trails. I am also suffering from some Achilles pain which I stretch by going against the wall in a simple calf stretch and then bending the knee a bit – oy!

3. Ice: It took me a while to learn this, but a hot shower is NOT what you follow up a hard run with. I don’t care if it is an ice bath (ew) or you sit around in sweaty clothes with ice packs wrapped in towels all over your hips, butt, and legs (my FAVOURITE…), ice that body to prevent inflammation!

4. Get a massage: But not a hot stone one. I am talking a deep tissue, almost-crying-on-the-table massage to get the fascia loosened and the muscles in their proper places. I would recommend this short term to get over a pesky or intensive injury and then follow step 5 for long term prevention. Send me an email and I can refer you to one of two ladies in this area – one is a ripped farm girl who is not afraid to make you cry and the other one is a cross fit coach who teaches bootcamp for fun. Perfect.

5. Get muscle restoration coaching – I am not sure if that is the right thing to call it, but I have been seeing an amazing health coach from our gym who tailors stretches, treatment, and a nutrition and supplement plan just for me to prevent any future injuries. Working with a stride analysis, he helps my alignment and form so I can reach my running potential injury free! Here is his information.

To state the extreme obvious, I am not a professional and there are a zillion other ways out there to prevent injury, these are just things that have worked and are working for me.

And to those of you who have never ran yet, if this won’t want to make you want to launch yourself into the world of running, I have no idea what will!