Blogging has now taken the place of running as "therapy" so this blog might not be as entertaining as others that capture the moments throughout a race, but reflecting on injuries is an important part (in my mind) of the healing process. So, here we go!
October 21st marked the first day of the weekly trips to Chicago. After the X-ray came back negative, we discussed a few options. Ultrasound could help see what was going on in my foot, so we went with it. The podiatrist found a bursa on the center of my heel that was inflamed, thus generating pain when I would walk. It seemed as though my plantar fasciitis was being replaced by the bursa.
Remedies for a bursa? Cortisone shot (with ultrasound guidance) has shown to be the most effective. The amount of pain I had been in post-Kona was pretty high on a pain scale, so this option was a strong frontrunner. The downside to the cortisone shot would be having to wait to get an MRI for another 4ish weeks (cortisone shots don't allow the MRI to show what is actually going on in your foot as the area where the shot was administered "lights up like a Christmas tree"). Being fairly confident the bursa was the source of my pain, I decided to go with the cortisone shot.
I hopped around on crutches for a few days (highly entertaining for my students), but weened off of them as quickly as possible per doctor's orders. My follow-up appointment went well, and my physical therapy was ready to begin. There was still some slight lingering pain, but a 1-2/10 on a pain scale is really not much in comparison to a 9/10. Physical therapy would allow me the chance to work on the imbalances I had that likely led me to the current situation. This required 30-40 minutes of exercises per day, but I was willing to do whatever it would take to get my body healthy again.
Fast forward to Thanksgiving. Six weeks after the cortisone shot was injected, my foot began bothering me again. Not as bad as before (3-4/10 on a pain scale), but enough to make me realize that the cortisone shot had only hit SOME (not all) of the bursa. Bummer. Another appointment to the podiatrist was planned...
December 7th, exactly three months after the initial plantar fasciitis diagnosis, marked the day of discovery with my foot. My podiatrist went through the options with me (Amniofix, PRP, Cortisone shot again, etc) so that I'd know what to possibly expect after getting the MRI results (now that the Coritsone shot was out of my system). An MRI was ordered, and results showed "Severe proximal plantar fasciitis with secondary small region of reactive marrow edema in the calcaneal tuberosity." I'm no doctor, but I did take some anatomy classes in college and have a best friend who happens to be a nurse. Long story short, real bad plantar fasciitis with the bursa still present.
December 14th couldn't come soon enough. I had Ryan come into the doctor's office with me to help me make my decision on which treatment option to go with. Tenex was also brought into the conversation (a procedure that reminds me of acupuncture to an extent) as was surgery, and all pros and cons were discussed. The podiatrist and his staff stayed an extra HOUR to help me through this process, and I cannot be more grateful for their support. After discussing everything, Amniofix was decided as the treatment of choice.
Medical foot diagnosis: interstitial tear to the plantar fasciitis at the insertion point
English diagnosis of my foot: I have a tear in my foot where the plantar fascia attaches (at the heel) with a bursa smack dab on top of it
Amniofix is basically a process that involves shooting placenta into the affected area so as to help the body repair the damage. The doctor described my current situation as having a coat with a zipper not properly lined up. The fibers that connect my plantar fascia to the insertion point (at the heel) are basically torn and unable to repair themselves, so this injection is supposed to help that area repair itself.
The shot itself didn't even hurt. I was told the next 2-3 days would be the most painful...and given that I had to crawl from my bed to the bathroom (where my boot was), I would say that statement was fairly accurate. My foot will be in a boot for the next 2 weeks, and we'll re-evaluate from there.
I'd be lying if I didn't include that there were some tears. Not full-blown tears like back in March when I had patella tendinitis, but I did have a few moments of frustration that resulted in tears. Every time I got to that point, I reminded myself of the positives in my life. SO many positives. SO many things to be thankful for. Tears dried immediately.
Writing all of this down makes me really reflect on how crazy an injury like plantar fasciitis can be. I have heard for years that it is by far the WORST injury ever, but was fortunate enough to never have experienced it myself. I can definitely say I agree; this is the injury that doesn't go away, yet almost teases your body to an extent.
So, how am I so positive when the outcome and return to running are still unknowns?
I don't have an incurable disease. I'm not dying. I'm not broken beyond repair.
I have an incredible husband. I have an amazing family. I have fabulous friends. I have a wonderful job. I have my health. And I have my faith.
What's not to be positive about?