Mystery Injury

I have been running since winter of my freshman year of college, after that “Freshman 15” happened to me. That would be since January, 1994, or 17 years. Sometimes I run more, sometimes I run less, but I’ve considered myself a runner that whole time.

During that time, I have hardly ever been injured. I’ve tripped and fallen way more than once, and occasionally a trip/fall has resulted in the need to have a little time off. But I’ve had no pulled muscles, no knee issues, nothing.

Until now. For some reason, I’m injured. At least, I think I’m injured. I can’t quite figure out what it is, or why it happened, but on Saturday I did the unthinkable–I stopped running and walked the rest of the way home, because the nagging hamstring pain was not going away. I’ve tried stretching it out, and I’ve used the foam roller, which seems to help. I’ve wondered if it was the result of a combination of different factors: not running a lot this fall, running in snow/ice which changes my stride so that I don’t slip, and running on really old shoes (a year and a half old!). I started having pain in mid-December, took time off, it got worse and then better, started running again, was fine the first few times, and now, again, pain.

Yesterday morning, though, my hamstring felt fine for the first few minutes out of bed, and I had a weird pain in the outside of my left foot. Then, as I moved around, my hamstring hurt and I forgot about the foot. Today, the same thing. My hamstring felt fine! Before getting out of bed, I could stretch it with no pain at all. I got out of bed, and limped from pain in my foot. So now, I wonder if I have a foot problem, and that causes me residual pain in my hamstring, which then overshadows any pain in my foot. I do know that wearing my winter boots, which I started doing right around the time when I first started feeling hamstring pain (a month ago now), makes that foot hurt, and I figured it was because they are totally flat, no support, but didn’t think about it too much. I have to wear them, though, because we have a lot of snow. New boots are in the works, but not here yet (more on that later).

I still don’t know why this is, or how it happened. I’m trying out wearing my running shoes (new shoes) in the house, to see if that helps me minimize pain today. I wish I knew what was wrong, because I hate taking time off, especially for an unknown injury with an unknown recovery time. And just when I was getting back into it, too.

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  1. #1 by Stacy on January 17, 2011 - 9:55 am

    It’s definitely frustrating. I agree with you that it is probably a snow boot/gait issue. However, starting up running too quickly/frequently may have contributed to that as well. I find that even between events, I have to be very careful not to create and injury. I think it is my age now.

    Try different shoes, and stretching out your foot in bed before you get up. However, I’d avoid stretching the hamstring for a few days. If there is a fray or tear, stretching will just make it tons worse.

  2. #2 by heatherinIN on January 17, 2011 - 7:57 pm

    Thanks, Stacy. My foot hurts weirdly–like, on the top of the foot. Nothing to stretch, doesn’t hurt when I stretch it at all. Hurts with some pressure (like walking barefoot, not walking in shoes), and hurts when I jar it or bump it.

    I read that about stretching a hamstring, too (and, alternately, I read one site that said you can run while it heals. Ah, the internet.). Today I’ve felt no need to stretch it, as I’ve worn my running shoes all day and it only hurts a little. It was bad for a little bit, I sat down for awhile, and then it’s been fine.

    It’s really a mystery to me. I’m actually contemplating medical care already, since I can’t quite figure otu what’s wrong. Can’t decide how long to give it with no exercise/wearing my shoes all the time.

    And I think it’s my age too. Can’t let so long go between good running anymore, and tehn start up like I never took time off. Boo.

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