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Saturday, 2 July 2011

My Injury Troubles Go On and On and On....

Its now been seven weeks since my last competitive parkrun. I did manage one slow parkrun a few weeks later, and I did get myself round the Two Castles 10km three weeks ago, in a less than fit state, but basically I have been injured for seven weeks. And all because of a calf injury, which at the time of the initial injury felt almost insignificant.

To be honest, this year has been pretty much wiped out since March, with the calf injury and the preceding hamstring injury (same leg, so probably related rather than coincidence). In that three month period I have managed to run two 10kms, both in a semi-recovered state, but way below my best. I have also run 5 parkruns (so its not been a total absence), but only one at what I would call full speed.

There was a time, a period of around a year from May 2010 to May 2011, where all that Saturday morning meant for me was:
  • get ready for parkrun
  • do parkrun
  • recover from parkrun
But its now been such a long time without parkrun being the focus of my Saturday morning, that it is already starting to feel normal not doing it. That is not a nice thought.

This current calf injury has been a real pain in the leg, pardon the pun. At first I though it was just cramp. I probably didn't give that initial injury enough time or respect and I certainly tried to run too soon afterwards, inevitably making it far worse. At that point I knew for sure that it was a real injury.

I then started treating the injury as one should. I did all the RICEing, I stretched, I gradually built up the strengthening exercises, started walking, then static cycling, then jogging. I slowly built up my speed and duration of jogging, up to running, to the point where I could manage the Two Castles 10km at maybe 90% effort.

I was even sensible after the 10km, giving myself five days to recover without running, but still stretching and strengthening, only to suffer re-injury getting out of bed of all things! I still don't know why I decided to stand on tip-toes when I got out of bed. I have never done that before, or since, but it was clearly the wrong thing to do. That was the third incidence of the injury! That was two weeks ago yesterday.

This time I decided to get a physio involved in my recovery process. By the time my first physio appointment came round a week had passed. I had been doing all the right things in the meantime, RICEing followed stretching. When I saw the physio, we were able to move straight to the strengthening phase, all the time continuing with the stretching.

At my second physio appointment (4 days after the first) I was making such good progress that we decided to really up my strengthening exercise workload. My 20-20 hindsight tells me that this increase was just a bit too soon. I should have listened to my body during that next 24 hours and built up to the new levels gradually, rather than making a sudden huge leap in type and quantity of exercise. Next time I won't be in as much of a rush!

It wasn't actually the strengthening exercises that produced the 4th incidence of the injury in the end, but I'm certain they were a massive contributory factor. The day after doing the new increased load of strengthening exercises my calf was very sore, and not in the area of the previous injuries, I knew that continuing the same pattern of exercise was not an option. That was Wednesday. I took it very easy, with just a very slow walk that day and none of the strengthening exercises. I didn't feel that I had re-injured myself, but I knew I needed a few days off the exercises to recover. This was not the end of the world and I felt it had been a very lucky escape.

On Thursday the soreness had diminished and I felt up to a lunchtime walk at work. I knew I still wasn't quite walking normally, but my gait was close to normal and I thought a slow walk would help loosen things up. Unfortunately, about 15 minutes into the walk I felt a sudden severe pain in the middle of the calf which abruptly stopped me in my tracks. I knew it was worse than ever this time. Worst of all I was a mile from the office and had to hobble the whole way back. This didn't help.

Yesterday (Friday) I luckily had my next physio appointment already arranged and we discussed where we had gone wrong and how we would proceed, starting again at the beginning of the recovery process.

So I now find myself back at the start of the recovery process yet again. I'm sitting here writing this blog post with my legs raised and the calf resting on an unconventional bag of spinach (I don't like peas!). Anyway, I hear that spinach is better for you! I'm taking it easy and I am on a course of Ibuprofen for the next week.

This is the worst stage of the recovery process for me. I actually don't mind it too much once I can start to stretch and walk properly without feeling like I am doing further damage. That should only be a two or three more days I hope. And once I am back to static cycling I will be a much happier man, but that could easily be 10 days away.

I am certainly going to do the right things again, and try to avoid dangerous things like "getting out of bed" and "walking slowly in straight lines", as my old body clearly can't cope with these extremes of human endeavor and endurance!

With a lot of luck I may make it back to parkrun in a month or so, I am not putting any deadlines on it, but I can't wait to be fit enough to parkrun again.

1 comment:

  1. Sounds horrendous Ian, the problem with a body in its mid-thirties is the length of time it takes to properly recover! We all still have the mind and competitive spirit of a 20 year old, but the body can't always keep up....I organise a five a-side session called Fatboy football, and the number of injuries keeps growing, basically because there is too much testosterone flying about for our bodies to handle!!

    Keep up the recovery and be patient.




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