I’ve procrastinated writing this post because, frankly, I’m not even sure what my current “status” is regarding the recovery of my metatarsal stress fracture. Recovery has taken A LOT longer than I anticipated. As the title suggests, it’s been one step forward and two steps back. I’ve been pretty calm for 10 weeks of no running/cardio, but now I feel almost hopeless. Am I ever going to run again? I don’t even remember what it feels like!
My parents are rolling their eyes right now, but I know they would be thinking the same thing if they hadn’t run, let alone done any cardio, in more than two months.
Here’s a little timeline of my injury/recovery:
October 3– my last run, first notice of pain.
October 3-15- complete exercise break (nada).
October 23– MRI confirms stress fracture. Booted.
October 23 – mid November- wear the boot, only do upper body weights.
**Here’s where it gets “interesting”… my OTHER foot starts hurting now. The one not in the boot. I start going crazy.
November 18– Orthopedic says I don’t have to wear the boot but to treat both feet as “in recovery”; he says there are zero signs of injury on the X-ray (for both feet); start physical therapy.
Thanksgiving break (Nov 20-28)- wear the boot on the non-diagnosed fractured foot (my mom said it’s the “good-bad foot”) because it started flaring up; stayed off my feet as much as possible.
November 29 – December 2- feel OK enough to ditch the boot. I wrote here that I was out of it.
Since then, with doctor’s approval, I’ve “experimented” and done about 10-20 minutes of very light cardio (elliptical or bike) 2x a week. After and during each time I haven’t had any pain, but occasionally, my “good-bad foot” felt weak, delicate and like something was “off.” My originally injured foot feels normal, so that’s good. The feeling isn’t concrete or consistent enough to chalk it up to an injury. It could just be the twinges that come with recovery.
I’m still in PT and doing my exercises daily, which include mostly one-legged balance moves and calf stretches, but I’m not seeing significant progress. At least not as much as I had hoped to see at this point. I suppose my reasoning for limiting the cardio is two-fold: 1) I’m just being extra extra cautious and don’t want to push past that “iffy” feeling, 2) I don’t have the motivation right now to get my endurance back. Plus, 20 minutes on a bike feels like a marathon. I know cross-training is a crucial step toward running so I’ll have to buck up soon.
I wanted to be running by Christmas. And by running, I mean up to 3 miles. That is a far-fetched dream now and I’m thinking I have to DNS (do/did not start) the Princess Half Marathon at the end of February (I signed up in July). I miss so much about running and I’m in such a slump when it comes to motivation to do the workouts I CAN do. The last three months haven’t been what I envisioned for my last “fitness” semester in college. I’m disappointed I had to give up my Spinning class and that I can’t run some of my favorite loops around town. Hopefully this will one day be just a small afterthought, but for now, it’s still very much at the forefront of my mind.
Here’s my non-plan plan: when I get home next week, I’m going to hopefully start using the AlterG treadmill at physical therapy. I will continue doing 10-20 minutes of light cardio a few times a week, monitoring how I feel after each session and adjusting the length of sessions as needed. I hope to start doing run-walks (1 min on, a few minutes off) in early January. Baby steps.
I know I’m on the road to recovery, I was just not anticipating it would take this long.
On the bright side, my upper body is stronger than its ever been. It might not be a big visual difference to anyone else, but I see muscles I’ve never seen before. More importantly, I have a lot of blessings and excitement in my life, particularly in the next two weeks, so I haven’t been dwelling on my recovery too much. I know running will happen…eventually. I’m hopeful the new year will bring a new, healed start.
I now officially end this “sad” post. There are lots of fun things happening this week, and I’m not just talking about my graduation. Stayed tuned for a fun giveaway!
Thanks for sharing this update, even if it was a bad one :( So disappointed for you, and I hope that your foot improves, but at a slightly faster pace!! I definitely think it’s a good idea to DNS the half if you’re still not able to start running now. There will always be races in the future :) Get better soon!!
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I hope that by using the AlterG I can build my endurance and increase the recovery speed (if that’s possible lol). Thanks for your well wishes! :)
Margaret @ youngandrungry says
I am so sorry about your feet that’s so frustrating! I always struggled with finding the balance when I’m injured of still exercising without hurting myself further. You don’t want to sit around all day for months until it’s healed, but even the smallest thing could throw you back to square one.
It sounds like you’ve been taking great care of it though I’m surprised it’s still hurting and I really hope that all of the sudden it disappears. I was about to say at least this is going on in the middle of winter and not spring or fall, but I bet it feels great there right now. Keep your head up, I’m sure recovery will come soon!
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My issue is that I’m not even sure if what I’m feeling in my foot is bad. I’ve read that it’s normal to have some tingling or “off” sensation when you’re recovering, so it’s up to me to decipher if it’s good or bad. I’m really just being extra cautious I think. Yeah, unfortunately the weather is perfect for running right now.
Alyssa @ renaissancerunnergirl says
I know it’s horrible to get one injury and then just start feeling like you’re breaking down all over. That happened to me last summer – an old knee flareup of tendinitis turned into a pulled hip flexor, with 3 months of no running followed by 2 weeks of NO exercise at all and then PT. Not being able to do anything except walk the dog once a day was such a bad feeling because running was a mental lifeline for me, so I totally feel you – and that derailed plans for my first marathon (it was supposed to be Disney last January, I was back to run the 1/2 but not a full) :/ I hope you get where you want to be soon.
I feel like being in the boot ruined me because my regular foot had to overcompensate. So it’s been like learning to walk again and correct my hip alignment. Running is a mental lifeline and I’m somewhat amazed that I’ve been able to make it through. But it’s encouraging that you are on the other side of injury!
Brie @ Lean, Clean, & Brie says
I love that you are looking at the bright side of things and focusing on your upper body. Although I’ve never been injured besides shin splints, I could only imagine how difficult it could be when recovery takes longer than you were hoping for but it is so great to see that you are taking things as they come. You will be back to running soon :)
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Thanks, Brie! Hopefully with the turn of the calendar I can get back at it.
Ahh this is so frustrating and I can’t imagine how antsy I’d be if I could do any cardio. However, upper body training can be really fun too! Nothing like some mean delts ammirite? Wishing you a much speedier recovery moving forward, or at least some better answers <3
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Thank you, thank you <3 I mean, I can take someone in a seated row contest. That's kind of cool? jk...
Rebecca @ Strength and Sunshine says
When I developed patella femoral syndrome in my knee years ago, not being able to walk and being in PT, did cause my other leg to start hurting. It so hard to balance out everything when an injury is really one-sided!
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Sarah @pickyrunner says
Ugh so frustrated for you but it seems like you’re doing everything you can to get healthy! You’ll be back out on the roads before you know it, but for now, your plan will get you there. Keep your chin up!
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Becki @ Fighting for Wellness says
Coming back from an injury is so frustrating, especially when it seems to be lingering forever. I’ve dealt with a lot of injuries over the past year and sometimes it feels like I’m never going to be 100% again, but I know I’m getting there slowly but surely. Good luck!
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Amanda @ ExploringLifeAndThings says
I’m sorry about your injury, that has to be so frustrating and just plain annoying. That’s good you’re being super cautious though. I tend to be over-cautious (some may call it being dramatic..) about the smallest inkling of pain while running. My boyfriend is an athletic trainer so I’m constantly asking him what the pain means, what I should do, etc. haha. I think it’s awesome how positive you’re being and I hope everything gets better soon!
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Thankfully I’ve never been severely injured. But, I did have a slight cold over the weekend and had the hardest time relaxing/taking it easy. I love being productive, exercising, studying and getting things done. However, that is kind of hard to do when you have a stuffy nose and sore throat. So to an extent I have an idea of what your going through. Get well soon!!
Great post – I love the timeline because it’s a realistic look at how long we really need to recover and rest. I often try to push myself when I know I need to take a day off and pay for it later (at a greater extent).
Julia @ Lord Still Loves Me says
Love your positivity, and I am so sorry you’re still dealing with this Emily. I’ll be keeping you in my thoughts. I hope you’re able to still participate in that half marathon. I have faith you’ll be able too! That’s still a decent amount of time away!
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Michele @ paleorunningmomma says
That’s a long time without running or any cardio so no eye rolling at all! Totally sucks to be injured and then have something else mysteriously begin without a cause. The longest I was out from injury was 8 weeks, but since it was tendonitis and I was way too scared of losing fitness (not healthy!) I still did the elliptical and spin during those 8 weeks. Truthfully, I did not fully recovery from that injury for probably another two months after I was running again, but somehow got lucky and it eventually healed. Better to wait and be on the safe side. If I were injured again I’d approach my return a lot more cautiously.
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Dani @ Dani California Cooks says
I really rely on cardio to keep myself mentally healthy, so I gotta hand it to you for sticking through this! It’s all about perspective – in a couple months, a year, several years – this will all seem like a blip.
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Oh no! Overcompensation and different stresses on your good-bad foot whilst the bad-bad one was in the boot due to posture/ walking style etc. is a very plausible cause of the pain there. I had something similar when I injured my ankle playing hockey and ended up doing some damage to my hip too purely due to the way I was walking in order to avoid putting too much pressure on the original injury.
I also struggle with taking time off due to injury and completely empathise with the difficulties of getting back into the mentality of running in the same way as before the break. However, I usually find it takes only a couple of sessions before the bug bites back and I make a point of running some nice routes without any time tracking when easing back in.
Don’t worry about the half marathon for now either; perhaps go out with your family and make sure your cardio is painless and fun before you refocus your training! You are a great runner and things will come back naturally :)
Best of luck if you have any remaining exams and have a fabulous next few weeks.
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Natalie Timperio says
Ugh I’m so sorry to hear this. About two and a half years ago I suffered from bilateral tibial stress fractures with multiple fractures along my left tibia. I can completely relate to the physical as well as the emotional and psychological pain. I was fortunate in that I did not have to wear a boot as I was able to bear my own body weight without too much pain, I “simply” had to stop the activity that caused the fractures – running. I gave up running for 6 weeks but it’s never been the same since and now I don’t run at all. Instead, I bike. I look back at that time in my life as being very sad. I’m sorry I’m not able to provide you with more sound advice other than sharing my own story! The one thing I will say is that you still seem very committed to fitness as well as recovery. Keep going – what doesn’t kill you will make you stronger (in time, at least) lol! In the mean time sharing your story is a great method of therapy, too! x Natalie http://www.thegirlwithbangs.com
Ellen @ My Uncommon Everyday says
That’s really frustrating. It’s so annoying when something hurts and you can’t figure out what will make it better, but it’s great you’re looking on the bright side. Good luck if you have remaining exams, and definitely relish these next few weeks! Wishing you a speedier recovery!
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Ugh this is so rough! I am just starting to run again after an injury so I feel you – and anyone who says stupid stuff to you or rolls their eyes needs to read my post on things you should say to an injured runner! People are silly, us runners need to run! I think it’s good that you’re being cautious and hopefully things will start getting easier soon. Good luck with the rest of your recovery!
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Hope you feel better! There is nothing more frustrating than an injury!
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Every day it gets a little better…but I’m still prepared for setbacks.