Friday, 23 November 2012

Metatarsal Stress Fracture Scare


Monday night I was just about to complete my long run for the week (a mere 13km but hey, I'm transitioning to barefoot, so had to start my distances again) and after running down a hill in Gravesend, I had a sudden pain in the top of my left foot. After limping a little I tried running again but it was hurting still, so I limped a little more until it stopped. I was then able to carefully run the rest of the way home and while it was sore, it wasn't excruciating.

I was immediately onto the internet to find out what it might be and to my horror, I came across this video about metatarsal stress fractures that describes exactly the pain and inflammation I was experiencing on my foot.

As I said: Horror! 

Actually this doesn't begin to express just how down I was about it and I have to thank my girlfriend for being amazing and supporting me through a very depressed day by making me lemon pie and giving me a calf and foot massage (gently). Thanks babe!

I left it a couple of days (mostly because I was doing my day job and running a business intelligence project with CapricornVentis for one of our insurance clients) and while my foot isn't as painful as it was, it was still a bit swollen and making me limp a little.

This morning I took my foot (accompanied by the rest of me) to a local hospital to get it checked out. Amazingly, there was no queue and I was seen within about 10 minutes in the minor injuries clinic. The nurse who was helping me (who asked not to be named) agreed that an x-ray was needed to rule out the possibility of a metatarsal (or other) stress fracture.

I love how the way we phrase stuff can totally change how we think about things. The nurse wanted to "rule out the possibility of a stress fracture." She could have said "check and see..." or any number of other combinations, but for me, almost at once, I started feeling more positive about it and found myself focussing on ruling out the possibility.

Anyway, my foot was immediately x-rayed and the results poured over by myself and the nurse for a good 10 mins (and while I snuck the photo of the screen below).

An x-ray of my metatarsals after a suspected stress fracture through running

We both agreed that there doesn't appear to be anything wrong with the bones and that it's probably a ligament or tendon strain.


And despite the video saying that even if the x-ray is negative, stress fracture should still be suspected, I find myself feeling very buoyant and positive again :)

I'll still be taking a couple of weeks off (using the formula that I found on various forums: From pain stop + 1 week before running again) but so glad that I won't have to can the whole event. 

I'll definitely be taking my running easier and going to some barefoot training as soon as I'm able to run again.

One thing that is interesting to see is how much my little and big toes' bones have been pushed in by wearing modern, pointy shoes all my life. Really backs up what the Vivobarefoot team were saying on the barefoot freedom night the other week.

1 comment:

  1. You can run after fixation as you explained. As with any running program, however, I recommend that you progress slowly to running (or back to running). Listen to your body and allow sufficient time to get running the way you hope.

    metatarsal stress fracture