Two and a half weeks ago, i was running on dirt (not sure if that matters) and my right ankle got sore. I stopped running and walked back to my car. By the end of the night, i was swollen and limping. Flash forward to today: I finally have an air cast boot and am taking Vicodin or Advil for pain. After being diagnosed with Tendonitis and Soft Tissue Damage, my new Orthopedic doctor suspects a hairline fracture. How long until i can run again on average?
I was training for my first 5K when this injury happened (5K is end of June). I am worried i won't be ready to run again by then.
P.S. A little FYI about me: I am a newbie runner and this is my first time running in my life.
I don't know the average time, but these are my suggestions:
1) hard as it may sound, let go of this 5K as a "need" and focus on getting yourself well while doing whatever cross training may be possible. Otherwise, you'll be broken forever!
2) find out about getting it diagnosed for certain. Possibly a bone scan? If you don't want to sit around and wait for no reason, you need to KNOW the cause not have them guess. The phrases you've used make it sound like they're making an educated guess, but still a guess.
3) find out about pool running....I have heard it makes continuing to exercise possible while minimizing impact associated injuries.....if your MD isn't helpful enough find another one. The most frustrating thing now would be to stop working out completely. Continuing a different activity would allow you to maintain your cardio fitness at the very least.
4) figure out how to adjust your training (building miles more slowly? more appropriate shoes for your needs? inferior nutrition? inadequate rest time (when the bone heals from the microtrauma running causes)?) so that it doesn't happen again.
Being injured is an opportunity to learn, and improve your future running. Good luck!
How is your ankle? You are from Evansville right?
An average time is not important because you are a new runner, and your legs are untested at this point. Your case is therefor not average, so your healing time will be specific to you.
I agree that you should skip the 5k, because there will be thousands more to run in your lifetime, and they are not likely to hurt you as much as this one could.
While tendonitis isn't going to be as likely in a new runner, tendinosis, if the tendon was weak to begin with, is a possibility. However, soft tissue (muscle) strain is almost guaranteed for a newbie, and it can hurt just as bad as the nastier possibilities. Unfortunately, boots don't do anything for this, except keep you from using it, which you will eventually have to do when the cast is removed. You may then find, as many do, that immobilization weakens tissue, so strength training will need to begin. In the best case the tissue will have healed and will adapt. In the worst case the pain syndrome diagnosed in the tissue will still remain. Other therapies can address that, but could add to your recovery time.
The diagnosis of a stress or hairline fracture tends to predate substantiation, which is often in the form of a scan that reveals a line of mineral deposits that can only form later after healing has begun. For safety's sake, a doctor must take an educated guess before this "proof" can materialize, or risk allowing you to injure yourself further.
While a calcium deposit is taken as a sign of a healed fracture, there obviously aren't going to be any vivisections to back this up, but the diagnosis is considered more safe at this point. Since there are other causes for calcium deposits in tissue other than stress fractures, it is still difficult to guarantee, but this is not as important as getting you to stop whatever is causing the injury or pain, so the guess in this case is as good as money in the bank.
What you need to be concerned about, is the potential for soft bone, brittle bone, osteopenia or osteoporosis. If there are any problems with bone mineralization, or the growth of a healthy collagen matrix, impact sports could be contraindicated for a while, despite their recognized benefit of increasing bone density. Your meds, nutrition, and sun exposure will need to be evaluated for possible contributions to any of these problems. The interactions can be quite complicated.
Some meds can reduce bone density, and some nutrients are only effective in the proper balance. Sunblock can interfere with your body's most productive means of generating vitamin D3, which though helpful for calcium absorption and "bone health," alone does not insure proper calcium distribution. Vitamin K2, a product of fermentation, is critical to this function, but almost non-existent in the average diet. Many diets are poor in other minerals needed for healthy bone, and some even promote bone de-mineralization.
By all means, hit the pool if you have access, until you get cleared for low impact training to model your recovery. The total amount of time all of this will take may depend on all of these variables.
If you weren't told, remember that Vicodin contains a synthetic opioid that is addictive. Is it better to know where your pain is coming from so you can treat it, or to disguise it? Sometimes, the devil you know is better than the devil you don't.
Great answers here before me The short answer is on average 6 weeks for the bone to mend. Soft tissue is a little harder to gage, but probably similar. I would nix the vicodin.