This is my ankle.

Looks healthy, doesn’t it? Unfortunately, when I’m running the inside tendon (known as the posterior tibial tendon) gets stiff and sore. That small scar is from when I accidentally smacked my ankle against the corner of the coffee table in our Shanghai hotel sometime back in July. I’m pretty sure I was trying to step over several toys on the floor. That boo-boo didn’t have any effect on my running in Shanghai.

The swelling on the tendon is so slight that I only notice it when I feel it with my fingers, comparing it to my other ankle. It doesn’t hurt when I walk. It hurts a little sometimes when I’m going down the stairs.

The tendon started bothering me a little in the week before I ran my first 5K. I took a week off from running after the 5K, thinking that ought to be enough. So one week later, I went out on a Sunday morning and did three miles and it felt stiff and sore. Moreso the day after. Again, I iced and rested it. I went out on the following Wednesday morning and tried running. I ran a quarter mile when the pain started up. I walked back home.

Then on the following Sunday I tried running again. This time I ran for a half mile before the pain started. I turned around and walked home. Okay, I told myself, this is going to need more time. I waited another week.

This past Sunday I planned for three miles but only made it through two and a half. The first mile and a half were fine. But then the stiffness and pain came and then after awhile my right knee started bothering me. So I stopped running.

I have never had these kinds of problems with swimming. The water is kinder to my joints. The chlorine is not kind to my hair. Though I never have to worry about the weather, swimming is far less scenic than running.

It’s very frustrating. But I keep telling myself that if I want to still be running 10 years from now, I’m better off not running for the short-term.


6 thoughts on “Sidelined

  1. I am amazed by your tenacity! Funny how one small accident can remind us to take care of our body. Rest up…you’re running days are far from over…

    • Tenacity can also mean just plain stubbornness, which has gotten me into trouble sometimes. 🙂

      In my late 30s I started noticing that my body didn’t “snap back” into shape like it used to. Recovery takes longer. Meanwhile, I’m going to be in the pool a bit more. I can at least keep exercising without further damaging my ankle.

      • You are right – the body does not snap back that quickly as we head into the next decades. But our ability to adapt becomes more pronounced!!! Watch the chlorine – it turns my red hair green! Which is not a bad idea since it is Halloween!

      • Green hair! Ha! It gives my dark brown hair highlights, even though I wash my hair after my swims with anti-chlorine shampoo.

        BTW, Happy Halloween!

  2. rich, long time no see… I must send you an update one of these days.
    nonetheless, we are alive and well in toronto, keeping a close eye on election results tonight.
    i am more interested in your running injury. i am susceptible to similar-‘looking’ symptoms on the top of my foot. some unusual movement in the metatarsals. when i get bruising like that, i know it’s either: (1) time for new shoes, or (2) time for new orthotics. since moving to a shoe with more cushion i have not had many problems other than zero motivation to run in the cold or rain (la spoiled me).
    hope you are well. i still follow your adventures on occasion.

    • No kidding! It’s so great to hear from you, Jen. Please do email me an update on what you’ve been up to, now that you’re back in Toronto. My wife and I are in a pretty good mood this morning, thanks to the election.

      As far as your foot the other thing to consider is that Injuries come (usually) from one of two reasons: overuse or poor form. For me, I’m pretty sure it’s my 42-year-old ligaments that don’t have the elasticity that they did 20 years ago. 🙂 They need more rest and stretching than they used to.

      Running outside….When the weather is horrid (late Fall through early Spring), those are times when I think, “why did we move back to the Midwest?”

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