Runner on Crutches – A Shocking Diagnosis

Runner on Crutches – A Shocking Diagnosis

What a week! I get a totally shocking diagnosis this week after a swift visit to A&E when my pain came back and became unbearable… you won’t believe what they told me and how they fixed it!

To get you up to speed if you’re new here, in a nutshell, I ran 3 weeks ago and had slight pain on the top of my foot, which I’ve never had pain there before, but it wasn’t awful. I wore my heels in work all day Monday and all felt fine but then when I put them on Tuesday morning I had to take them off because I was in so much pain.

Since then I’ve not been able to walk properly or put any weight on it, which is putting my 10k PB dreams further and further back.

I had a disastrous time trying to get an x-ray a week after the pain started, I then had an appointment with my Doctor to discuss said x-ray the following week and was diagnosed with tendonitis and given painkillers and told to rest.

Nearly 2 weeks to the day from the first day of pain, I was starting to feel much better and was able to put a little bit of very cautious weight onto my foot which was great because I was able to get around a lot more… and here we are…

Sunday ~ finally feeling better

My foot has felt so much better this weekend, resting has clearly done a lot of healing. I’m using my crutches less and less which is great because it’s not easy using them.

Monday ~ back to square one

Everything was going so well…… woke up with ‘normal’ pain this morning while walking and hobbled around like I have been doing for nearly 2 weeks.

I was so glad that things were starting to look up and I was feeling super optimistic that I’d be back to walking in no time.

Except, as I was hobbling upstairs (not unusual), I felt a sharp pain where my tendon has been sore and that was it… it was so painful I couldn’t put it to the floor!!

So I’m now right back to square one and I’m upset (understatement).

I had a little bit of a meltdown because I feel like any progress I’d made the past few days has been ruined and there is nothing I can do about it.

Out came the crutches again and I’ve made the decision to not put my foot to the floor until I’m super confident that the pain has subsided considerably.

I may or may not have nearly fallen down the stairs trying to use my crutches (I just can’t do it, so going up on my knees and going down on my bum is the order of the day).

I know you’re not supposed to, but we all do, Google makes it seem like it’s a straightforward injury that will heal with around 2/3 weeks of rest. It suggests that you can do other forms of exercise, like cycling and swimming, rather than running while you recover.

That’s great, except I can’t put my foot to the floor without being in a considerable amount of pain so walking is out, let alone any forms of exercise.

I’m due to go to London in a months’ time and it’s not looking hopeful that I’ll be able to go, which will be awful… so I’m trying not to think about it.

So… back to square one, I’m not putting my foot to the ground at all, I’m making sure my foot is up the majority of the time, I’m putting frozen things on it when I can, I’m making sure I take my tablets and keep it out of the bath.

I’ve got my backpack out so I can carry things from upstairs / downstairs and use my crutches at the same time. I’ve also been wearing one of my trainers on my good foot to reduce some of the pressure from using it exclusively.

I look like I’m about to go on some sort of weird adventure, backpack on, one shoe…. looks totally legit.

(My good foot has definitely been suffering from all the hobbling and I’m a little worried that I’m going to end up with 2 bad feet…..).

I’m also trying to give my bad foot a little massage every now and then to try and keep the blood flowing around it and make sure that I’m moving it around a bit so I don’t end up with another problem!

This is, without a doubt, the worst injury I’ve ever had.

More frozen veg

Tuesday ~ mastering crutches

I’ve managed to keep off of my foot for a full day today using my crutches and I even managed to go up my stairs at home using them!

It definitely feels more ‘dangerous’ but it makes it so much easier to get around once I’m at the top instead of trying to haul myself off of the floor.

So I had that mini-accomplishment there but then when I got in bed I had the weirdest sensation in my foot.

It felt like all of the muscles from my ankle down we’re just about to get cramp. A little like a tingly sensation.

This went on for hours and I wasn’t able to sleep properly because the covers felt very heavy on it and it was so uncomfortable (I can’t put it outside the covers, the monsters might grab it).

Then I got a shooting pain up through the bottom of my foot and it hurt to even rest my foot on the bed… all fun stuff.

I haven’t suffered at all at night with pain or anything so it seems strange to me now all of a sudden I can’t have my foot touching anything because that hurts.

What the heck is wrong with my foot?! I’ve done so many google searches since I’ve been diagnosed and not one of them mentions anything about these symptoms!

2 weeks today was when the pain started and I’m even further away than I was at the beginning to being able to walk on it.

A very (un)helpful bunny

Wednesday ~ the worst day so far

My worst day with this injury by a mile.

I woke up this morning and my foot was in pain and still felt a little tingly. I spent even more time on Google trying to figure out what was ‘normal’ and how much longer I should expect to be out of action for.

I’m looking for just a little bit of hope or information on how much longer this is going to go on for. As per previous searches, I found nothing useful or reassuring.

While I was waiting for the bath to run, I looked down at my feet together and the right one definitely looks more swollen in comparison to the other.

I’ve been doing everything right so what is going wrong and why does it feel worse? I haven’t put my foot to the ground since Monday so it should only be feeling better going forward… except it’s not!

I decided I should call the doctor (he told me to return if it didn’t get better) and he advised that I should go to A&E because it should definitely be getting better, my tablets don’t seem to be working and because of the sudden pain I had on Monday.

So far, medically trained suggestions for my foot issue has been, a hairline fracture, tendonitis and gout.

All I know is I want to know what is wrong here so I can try and fix it ASAP.

Slightly swollen

Thursday ~ trip to A&E

The pain was really bad today and getting around the office is not easy but everyone is so lovely and I’m having to accept help from people which is very difficult for me (Miss Independent here).

My work BFF (and all around angel) Naomi, took me into A&E and I met my mum by the entrance.

I felt quite upbeat and I was glad I was going today in such a positive mood as opposed to yesterday (definitely not positive).

I went in on my crutches as I still can’t put my foot to the ground but luckily we didn’t have to wait long before we saw the doctor.

The doctor looked over my original X-ray results and she said I had lovely straight toes (I took that as a compliment) and there was definitely no break there.

She asked me a bunch of questions and then tried loads of manipulation on my entire foot, bending my toes back, forward, each toe and so on and it was super weird how I didn’t feel any pain at any point.

‘I’m not faking it I swear, it’s been really difficult to pinpoint the pain because when I walk my entire foot hurts’ I explained, feeling pretty sheepish that it appeared to be ‘fine’. I was so confused.

She then held a finger under one of my little toes and had me putting a little weight, then 50% then all of my weight onto my bad foot and it didn’t hurt at any point.

I was thinking this is so weird that none of this seems to hurt!

The doctor then put a little bit of gauze and tape under the toe she’d had her finger underneath and asked me to go onto my tiptoes.

Miracle tape

This was the ultimate pain for me as any bending backwards of my toes has always hurt immediately which is why walking has been so difficult.

Except… it felt…. absolutely fine!

By this point I’m thinking that it must be this toe or this tendon which is giving me trouble and having it taped is why I don’t feel any pain.

I then had to walk up and down the room, which was so difficult because I haven’t walked in 3 weeks, and the doctor was encouraging me to ‘walk normally’. Except I just couldn’t… but couldn’t say why.

‘How does it feel, does it hurt?’ she asked me. ‘It feels…… I can’t explain it… like I’ve got really bad pins and needles through my entire foot’.

‘Ok, come and take a seat and I’ll tell you what’s going on’. As soon as she said that I knew exactly what she was going to say and I felt embarrassed straight away.

‘So you can walk normally because there’s nothing wrong with your foot, your brain has been telling you there’s pain there, but there isn’t’.

I’ve never felt so happy and mortified all at the same time!

She explained to me it was a little like the phantom limb phenomenon where people who have lost limbs swear that there’s pain or itching in the limb that’s now missing.

I couldn’t believe it. So my ‘brain’ hasn’t been doing this the entire time can I add!

She thinks I started with the injury (which I tried to push through and hobble on for over a week) but over time my brain was telling me it hurt when it didn’t after it had healed.

This makes sense that I could only find recovery times for tendonitis at 1/2 weeks yet mine seemed to go on and on.

You’re probably thinking I’m a total hypochondriac at this point but I’m the absolute opposite of this!

When I first had the pain I was like nah it will be fine, and only went to the doctor after I’d been suffering for a week, which in itself is completely against my usual behaviour.

When he diagnosed me with tendonitis and he told me a recovery time of around 2 weeks I said to myself ‘no way I will rest it very well and I’ll recover way before that’.

The day after I sustained the injury, I was going to go to the gym, even though I couldn’t walk properly and had a very noticeable hobble. I only didn’t go because my colleagues convinced me it wasn’t a good idea.

Thinking I can’t do things is not my style. I think that’s the number one thing that makes you a great runner!

You mentally have to push yourself when you’re exhausted, defeated and have all the will to stop… yet you don’t, you carry on despite these things.

I am without a doubt a determined person. Once I make up my mind about something I’m doing it.

So while I hobbled in on crutches on the way into the doctor’s office, I came out walking!

Anyone who saw me in the waiting room must have thought that they were witnessing a miracle seeing me walk out! (If It were me, I’d be thinking I want to see THAT doctor!).

Mum and I were laughing the whole way out in total disbelief.

Then we walked, perfectly normally, out of A&E about half a mile to the car park to go home!

I messaged people on the way home telling them ‘it was in my head’ and most people thought I was being sarcastic or just trying to be funny.

Then people were like ‘wait, what…??’

I felt like a total idiot! When did my brain take over and decide I was still in pain? How long had I been ‘recovered’??

I’d been so miserable not being able to get around and yesterday I even sat on the edge of the sofa and said to myself ‘just get up, just stand up and walk’! But didn’t…

I don’t know how much longer it would have gone on if I hadn’t gone to A&E!! Imagine that!

When I got home I just couldn’t process the whole thing. It didn’t make sense to me why and how my brain had done that.

The doctor had told me that I wasn’t going crazy and it wasn’t my fault and encouraged me to go home and look up some examples of other people who had the same thing.

Then I spent the entire evening trying to make it make sense to me and I couldn’t. I felt silly, confused and then confused some more.

Friday ~ it’s a miracle

Much like when I walked into A&E on crutches and walked out without them, I walked into the office this morning perfectly fine.

I still have the tape under my toe which I’m a little scared to take off! She gave me some to go home with and I have to reduce the thickness of it little by little as it’s ‘training my brain’ to think differently about my foot’.

The look on some people’s faces when I walked in was priceless. I was concerned that people wouldn’t believe me but it made no sense for me to make it up either!

I’m not sure if someone told me the same thing whether I’d believe them! But everyone seemed convinced that I was telling the truth which was such a relief!

Lots of people said to me that their doctor had told them that their condition was all in their head too except it was undeniable that I couldn’t walk yesterday but today, I could… there was legitimately no other explanation for my recovery!

I did have some pain throughout the day though but it was back where my original injury was so it feels ‘real’. Or was it? I was so confused!

By the time I drove home it was agony but when I stepped foot at home it seemed to be gone!

My brain feels broken so I don’t know if I do actually have some pain from my injury and walking on it all day has just made it sore… or is it not sore at all…

I’ll literally never know!

Saturday ~ ‘running’ errands

I’m still so cautious putting my foot to the ground but I had a ton of stuff to do now that I could get around.

Where I live, the car parking situation at the shopping centre is atrocious so I had to try 3 different car parks before I could find a space and it was on the opposite side to where I needed to go.

Usually, I’d walk the entire way from home but I didn’t think that was a good idea because I was still a little shaky on my foot and ankle.

I had to park really far away and with a mild hobble at that.

By the time I’d run my errands I was walking really well and I’ve only got a little pain (or do I) in my ankle and the inside of my foot presumably from underuse.

I’m very upset that my gym app now says I am ‘low activity’ as it’s usually ‘very high’ but all in good time… I can’t WAIT to get back on the spin bike!

We all take our health for granted and it’s only when we’re struck down that we reminisce to the days when we were better and scolding ourselves for not appreciating it more.

I was ecstatic that I could walk up the stairs unaided, that I could bend down and say hello to Teddy Bun, I could get in and out of the bath, do my washing and the biggest one I COULD CARRY FOOD/DRINK OUT OF THE KITCHEN!

So please look after yourselves, appreciate your health (hoping you’re in good health) and go and live out your dreams!

You only get one life, you must live it while you can because there are no second chances! This is is! Your time is RIGHT. NOW!

1 Comment

  1. May 12, 2020 / 10:10 am

    Getting injured sucks, especially when one is close to PR form. I hope you are feeling 100% now and can destroying runs.

    By the way, this is very motivating “You only get one life, you must live it while you can because there are no second chances! This is is! Your time is RIGHT. NOW!”

    Keep it up!

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