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I have been an off and on runner for years. Last year, I decided that I loved how running made me feel that I was going to become a true runner. I went along fine for about 6 months when I developed what I thought was calf pain. Then I had very sharp pain one run, took a week off and was diagnosed with shin spints. Long story short, over the past year I tried: RICE, complete rest, cross training, physical therapy, massage therapy, personal training. Finally, I fought with doctors and made it to a sports medicine doctor. I had Xrays, a bone scan, and finally the all telling MRI.
Last week, I was diagnosed with a stress reaction in my left leg. The way the doctor described it, was that it's way worse than shin splints and almost a stress fracture but not quite. Since I've tried everything else, he put me in a walking boot for 4-6 weeks.
I'm looking to see if anyone else has been in this situation! I'm completely frustrated and just want to be pain free. I HATE the boot and being pretty much completely inactive. I have so much energy that I need to expend but I don't know how! (can't do bike, elliptical, yoga, ANYTHING) How did you get though similar situations without going crazy????
I am going through this now, except mine was a true stress fracture. I have been basically doing NOTHING since my bone scan on 5/24. I had the boot but admitedly was not very good about wearing it. I have young children and at home it was impossible with the stairs, so I pretty much only wore it at work. From what I have read online, inactivitiy is best to ensure complete healing, with the exception of things like swimming...etc..what isn't all that clear is for how long. I have heard 4-6 weeks, 6-8 and that it can take a full year. I finally ran for the first time 2 days ago after passing the 6 week mark. What I did was walk for 10 mins, run for 20, walk for 10 and the run till I got back to where I started (about another 5 minutes). Covered only about 4 miles. I am worried however that I may have done too much. I felt fine then but later felt that "twinge" in my tibia. Now it feels fine, but I am worried. Wish I had a bone scanner at home! Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
Thank you for replying!
I had my bone scan the same week you did, but then my ortho refered me to my sports med doc. I had the MRI and a week later I was put in the boot. I wish I got it when you did! I'd be out of it instead of just one week in!
Being single, a teacher (not working in the summer) and not having kids, I'm wearing my boot religiously. I have done NOTHING athletic in over a week...and am very restless because of it! I will admit to walking a very slow 1/2 mile a few times a day to break up the boredom! I have an appt in two weeks. I really hope that because I'm being so "good", for lack of a better word, that I'll have huge improvement. I hope I'm not setting myself up for disappointment!
I've tried so many things before the boot, that some doctors have even said to me, "Do you think your body just isn't meant to run?". Though I'm starting to accept that, my original hope was that I just hadn't found the right doctor to help me run pain free again. I think I might have found him this time.
Mr. Stress Fracture, good luck. Don't ramp up your mileage too fast! Take it easy!
So, the bone scan wasn't enough to convince them you were developing a stress fracture? On the scanner, mine looked like a flash bulb going off in a dark room. I had run a half marathon 2 days before that, the doctor was impressed, my wife, much less so.
You would think that I would have researched this a little sooner, but I didn't. I ran today, did 10 min walk, 10 min run ... repeat for 40 minutes covered about 4 miles. I decided to pay attention to how my feet are hitting the ground and noticed that I am seriously hitting the outside. I started to feel some pain in the area of my injury and concentrated on striking as flat as I could, this really helped and I was able to finish pain free. Based on this and a review of some websites, the best being http://www.runnersworld.com/article/0,7120,s6-240-319-327-7727-0,00.html it would appear I am a classic under pronator. The best part is that I am running in Asics Gel 1160's, a shoe designed for OVER pronators. I have always used Asics but, I have always bought them at places like Dicks, where you get little advice and just end up buying what feels good. Turns out that I may very well have created or at least added to my issue. I am going to get my gait analyzed to be certain, but I am pretty sure that I now know a major contributing factor. Another symptom that I have had and noticed since changing shoes, I now kick myself in the ankles when I run, so much so that I end up bleeding.
Sorry for all the gory details, but I think you might want to consider having your gait analyzed. It may be that your body is fine for running but your shoes are working against you. Look into it now that you have so much time on your hands : ). Good luck and I hope this helps you too! I think you will likely find that after wearing the boot so religiously, you will be able to resume after about 6 weeks, just don't do it the wrong shoes.
When you do start back, this seems pretty helpful http://www.pfitzinger.com/labreports/stressfracture.shtml my runs have been "loosely" based on this.
Mr. Stress Fracture,
I'm glad you are feeling better. I hope your running continues to improve.
The orthopedic saw nothing on the bone scan. My best friend is a chiropractor. I asked her to bring it up on her computer and she noticed a bright white spot on the exact place on my leg that hurt! I thought I saw it at the ortho, but the scan was up and down so fast that I couldn't really see it well. The sports med doctor prefers MRI because of the many ways he can see the inside of the leg. Once he showed me, I have to agree (except the scan cost me nothing and the MRI cost me $100!).
I wish I got my boot way back when you did so I'd be done and not only on 1 1/2 weeks! LOL I wish the PT I saw last summer thought to recommend testing! I've done a lot of research now, but back then I was just trusting what I was told.
One of the official names for "shin splints" is "Medial Tibial Stress Syndrome," which is less than full-blown periostitis that can involve swelling and lumps or distortions in the periosteum (the "skin" or fascia that surrounds the bone, and to which tendons attach). It's true that an actual "stress fracture" would probably be invisible this early, but doctors have to act on the possibiities as well as the probabilities, so immobilizing you with a boot is the safest course to take. It buys enough time to allow a fracture to calcify enough to be seen. The link below explores some of the reasons (etiology) leading up to what they describe as a "stress reaction."