The inevitable minor injury

Each time I’ve trained for a marathon I’ve had a physical issue crop up, so it’s not really a surprise. The first one featured right thigh pain from running on the left side of cambered roads, plus toe issues from shoes that were too small. In 2015, when I was using FiveFingers 100% of the time, I developed pain in the tops of my feet—both, I think? this is why I wish I had blogged it—and figured out it was extensor tendinitis (seems like it should be spelled tendOnitis, which apparently is also correct but not medically preferred? ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ ). It comes from not touching my heels down enough when forefoot striking, affecting the smaller toes/outside of the foot. I adjusted my running and it went away. This time it cropped up again, just in the right foot, and much more severely.

It doesn’t hurt when I run so I didn’t take it seriously enough at first—just a little nagging pain when walking, especially in the morning. But in the past couple of weeks it got worse. Then it started hurting more in the evenings, especially last Sunday after the 19 miler. I soaked my foot in cold water, took an ibuprofen, and wore compression socks. Monday it still hurt, a burning aching pain, and I did more intensive research. Because I’ve been using regular shoes (it’s going to be too cold for FiveFingers, especially because the circulation in my feet isn’t great), I got concerned that it might be a stress fracture instead, which has similar symptoms but which is much more serious and requires that you stop running. I read everything I could find and reassured myself that it must be tendinitis because it didn’t hurt while running or jumping. During my 5 and 8 mile runs this week I focused on touching my heels down, and it’s totally better now. Even if I re-aggravate it doing the half-marathon on Sunday (a combo of the second 5 mile and 8 mile “long” run I’m supposed to do as part of the taper), I’ll still have a full 2 weeks of taper to fix it again. Overall I’m feeling really, really good! I’ve been slathering my feet with vaseline and barely have any blistering. New York here I come!

Edited to add: I picked up my swag bag for the Happy Valley Half and there’s a sample of KT tape, which this blogger tried and said it helped. Weirdly, the embedded video shows one tape application technique and its updated version a different one. My tendency is to hoard these samples for “future use,” which results in clutter and often in them going bad/drying up/etc. This time I’m going to use it right now!

Edited to add KT Tape results: I think it helped? Hard to tell for sure, but I wore the tape for the day before and the day after my 19-mile run, and no pain. After taking it off, I did have a recurrence, which went away after the next run where I told myself to touch my heels down.


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