When An Injury Isn’t What You Thought It Was

It has been just over 3 months since I stopped running. The last few weeks have been difficult emotionally. A few weeks ago I attempted a run. I had no symptoms, the problem had completely gone. I ran and found I had no symptoms while running, however my right side was still sloppy in terms of form. My right foot just wasn’t doing what it should be doing and I felt like I had to concentrate. I also had this feeling in the back of my mind, even though things felt fine apart from form, that something wasn’t really right. This has been going on since I did the vo2 max tests on the bike in January. A few hours after this run, the symptoms flared up and a bump came up on my heel.

I realised at this point that the issue can’t be what I thought it was and what I had confirmed by a Physio. Rest may have just been a waste of time!

This is when I got a bit upset and stressed out by it. I had been really good – religious with the cross training and patient. Now I was stuck with something that I obviously wouldn’t be able to deal with alone and I now had to work out who I was going to trust to help with it.

I didn’t want to go back to the same Physio as I didn’t find them helpful at all. There was another I was willing to try but I didn’t find them personable and so this made me feel vulnerable. In the end I emailed someone I had intended to visit anyway for another service. Their email gave me some hope that this was a good choice. It meant travelling an hour and a half but I figured it could potentially be worth it. Plus having lived in America for 9 months, I decided to take their mentality about travelling. In reality 1 and a half hours was really not a lot!

So I went for my appointment. At this appointment I was lucky and had 2 Physios look at me. Sometimes they pair up to bounce ideas off of each other and it wasn’t going to cost me anything more for the privilege.

After being drilled about all the details and the history of my issue, both Physios came to the same conclusion about what my issue was – and neither one of them even mentioned heel bursitis. It turns out that they both believed it was a nerve mobility issue. That my back was so tight it was causing problems in my foot.

In all reality I would have never thought it was a nerve problem. The tendon irritation that was diagnosed by the other Physio may not have happened at all. It was more likely my nerves irritating everything around it.

So my lower back was worked on. This opened things up for my ankle and I gained my some flexibility back in my ankle and leg. Unfortunately this made the whole of the right side of my spine feel uncomfortable the next day and for the next few days. When I went back again for my second appointment I was told this was a warning sign. That the issue stems from somewhere else! So this time my upper back was worked on. This opened me up and I can do a side bend much better than I could before it. My ankle and leg was also helped again. I was also advised to use a foam roller on my back each day until my next treatment. I have always used a rolling pin or wooden broomstick so I had to buy a foam roller as you can’t exactly use a rolling pin on your back. Luckily it’s nice and firm and does the job nicely.

I was also told to try out a run and see how things were. As soon as I got home from my appointment I went out. The intention was to do a mile. As I started I could feel my right foot/ankle was still sloppy but not like it had been. I didn’t have the nagging feeling in the back of my mind either about something not being right. I knew my form wasn’t perfect (I have only had 2 sessions) but I just felt free. I REALLY enjoyed it. I ended up doing 4 miles – unintentionally. 4 miles seemed like a good place to stop as my ankle was beginning to feel sore. It was probably too much but I was enjoying it so much I couldn’t stop! Just a little bit of opening in my side bend and leg has resulted in better form and thus the ability to run.


Of course as much as I enjoyed it I did need to know if this was going to be causing me an issue afterwards. I had some soreness in my ankle – not much really and NO bump on my heel! I woke up the next day with that little soreness gone and no stiffness or anything. That to me is a positive sign that I am going in the right direction.

In terms of fitness I didn’t feel that out of shape – in fact it was a really nice easy run. I must say my obsessiveness over cross training has probably helped a lot here. All the spinning, aquajogging, cycling and rowing has paid off. I am hoping all the strength is going to be extremely helpful too.

A Note On My Physio

The way I was assessed by my current Physio was completely different to the way the Physio assessed me about the first diagnosis. The first Physio only focused on my ankle. He did a few things to check my balance but didn’t do other tests or assessments like my new Physio did. The diagnosis felt pretty hopeless and one of just waiting. I was doing everything he did at home already and got no benefit from continuing to spend money for a service I could provide myself. My current physio was only interested in my ankle mobility once work had been done in my back, which was ridiculously tight in places.

There was definitely a big difference in knowledge and experience as well as approach. With my current Physio I feel like I am in good hands and do not need to worry. I feel like I am in the hands of someone who knows their field well. I didn’t feel like that the first time around.

So I think if you don’t feel like you are getting anywhere with your current Physio it is ALWAYS worth getting a second opinion at the very least.

I have seen a few people who have been injured for over a year without any sign of getting better. I have to wonder if they have put all their faith in just one person and are being let down by this person’s lack of knowledge and insight into the injury they have.

In Conclusion

I am hoping that this issue is going to be quickly resolved. I have gained a lot in the 12 weeks of no running. I have a much stronger core from strength training as well as the cross training I have done. I can’t wait to get back on and smash some PBs.