I think of myself as a fairly tough guy. I mean, of course I'm not as "tough" as any of the Pillsbury Dough Boys I work with who played high school football a hundred years ago, thus qualifying them for "bad-ass status", and "know everything about all sports" for the rest of their lives ... but I get by. Sarcasm. But my wife will attest that I typically respond to any new pain from running like Fred Sanford ... "Oh no, THIS is the big one ... I'm coming Elizabeth!" But then usually the pain subsides and I'm fine for another 2,000 miles or so.
Take this week for example. I had a really good long run on Saturday, but during the two recover miles, the top of my left foot starting hurting directly behind the big toe. I hurt with every foot strike. It hurt so much it made me limp, and eventually stop a couple of times. The pain remained throughout the day, and even hurt the next morning when I woke up. Like a dummy, of course I tried running on it again for a recovery run, and it really flared up. I stopped my recovery run after about 3 miles and walked back home, with the thing killing me with every step. My immediate self diagnosis ... I of course had a stress fracture! Which was the perfectly logical and rational conclusion I should have come to considering I've NEVER had a broken bone of any kind. Again sarcasm.
So I did what I always do when the latest ache and pain shows up ... I began looking at muscle diagrams of the legs on the internet. I immediately noticed that many of the calf and "shin" muscles were directly connected to the area that was giving me trouble. So, I began stretching the area and rolling & massaging them out. And wouldn't you know it ... the area felt great today! Just like that, my "stress fracture" was gone!
I don't mean to make light of actual stress fractures and structural damage ... of course they are real and cause a lot of runners a lot of problems. And of course, I WOULD NOT do what I do - if you feel like there's an issue, go see your doctor. But so far it's just been my experience that area reflecting the pain is typically not the area causing the pain. It's usually caused from tightness from a larger muscle pulling on the area and creating an issue. That of course way over simplifies it, but whether it's been IT Band, upper hamstring, groin, knee or heel pain - I've always been able to isolate the connecting muscle or muscle group and get myself back to normal.
So anyway, once again I freaked out over some running pain for nothing. Today's hill workout went well, and I should be good for a few more strides. And with that, let the "Jim, you know you're a little careless with your medical advice" begin. Have a great week!
... be great today!