The night after running my half marathon in May, I noticed a sort of knot right below my ankle bump on the inside of my left ankle:

IMG_5071I took this picture a few days after the race. The circle outlines the knot; as you can see it was pretty big.

I wore an Ace bandage for about two weeks and didn’t run, and within two weeks the knot went away and it wasn’t so painful anymore. I decided that I wouldn’t go to sports medicine unless it got worse. On and off throughout the summer it would hurt, but I wrapped it faithfully and used ice massage after working out. It did fine until I went to Florida. There, I walked barefoot on the beach every day, and didn’t ice or wrap. Then I came home and spent an intense weekend doing pilates barre, and again, no icing and wrapping. That week after the pain flared up again in my ankle and the knot was back. I had a hunch that it was tendonitis, but I wanted to make sure it wasn’t something worse (like a stress fracture), so I finally made an appointment to head to sports medicine.

My appointment was a week ago, and I was diagnosed with posterior tibilal tendinitis, which is basically just an inflammation of the tendon seen below:

posterior tibial tendonitisSource

It could be better, it could be worse. I’m bummed about the diagnosis, but i also recognize that there are lots of things that could be worse, and so I feel pretty mixed about the whole thing. After finding out what was up, I nervously asked the doctor what it meant for exercising, especially running. GOOD NEWS he said- “you can run as you’d like as long as you listen to the pain and back off when you need”.

Here’s the plan:

  1. Physical Therapy- I went last Wednesday and received a few strengthening exercises for the ankle area.
  2. Orthotics- I have had orthotics since March, but had only walked in them up until my appointment. I’ve done one run in them since my appointment and they didn’t bother me at all. I will wear these as I train for my next race. This provides support and takes some of the pressure off of that tendon as it keeps my foot more in line and doesn’t allow the arch to collapse on impact (This should also help the IT band pain that I experience. Here’s hoping!).
  3. RICE- I’m doing ice massage a few times each day, as well as wrapping my ankle with a simple ACE bandage after workouts and when my ankle hurts. I’m sure this will help as it helped during the first part of summer.
  4. Continue to rely on cross training- I love all sorts of exercising, so only running 1 or 2 days a week doesn’t bother me. Cross training will help to take away the impact on that tendon from running.
  5. Listen to my body and don’t try to be a hero. If my ankle feels great, I’ll run. If I start to run and it’s very clear that my ankle isn’t having it, I’ll listen to my body and rest it. No need to be a hero and push through, only to inflame it worse.

So, that’s the plan right now. I have good hope that I will be able to continue running and walking as I heal, but I’m sure each day and week will vary (just like it has throughout the summer).