Sunday, 5 June 2011
Having decided to take it easy on all fronts (well, diet and running anyway), I seem to be in a better place mentally and more in control of eating.
Yesterday I was happily active, got lots done and whilst my diet included the rare treat of a Chinese takeaway, two of the overhyped Oreo biscuits and two pain au chocolat, there was no binge and far more controlled choices.
Interestingly though, my achillies still felt sore from just walking and carrying yesterday and both heels felt sore. In the past a physio had said I had a touch of plantar fasciitis (which I'll shorten to PF from now) but it didn't really cause a problem and faded away again, but I decided to look it up last night.
Digressing slightly, Googling that sort of thing isn't too reliable. A number of (generally American) websites purport to give information but are essentially barely disguised marketing tools for specific insoles and are a little misleading as a result. The information from universities (also generally US) seems far more even handed and gives a different 'weighting' to both causes and treatment.
Not sure if the achillies is related but I suspect it might well be.
You see, I've been trying to work out what might have triggered the injury. Its chronic rather than acute and there was no 'incident' to set things off but neither was there a sudden increase in training mileage; sudden change in terrain, sudden increase in length of runs, or change of footwear. There were none of the triggers that explain a chronic injury's onset.
Or so I thought.
I'd recognised that the recent hefty weight gain would make runs feel harder and that it could make a small contribution to tiredness and knotting of muscles but last night's research suggests rather more than that.
It seems weight is a major factor for PF. This is particularly true for the obese (which I'm obviously not) but several sites list a common cause as 'sudden weight gain'. The fascia operates to raise the arch with every step and is loaded each time with a pressure of double our body weight, so a sudden gain of 20lb means every step adds an extra 40lb of pressure on the fascia - effectively a sudden ramping up of training workload.
Bingo! There's the trigger.
I still don't know if the achillies is linked or not - not directly as its not a PF symptom - but I now suspect the trigger is the same. Its not the weight I'm at, its the speed at which I got here.
Bad news is that it can last for months or even years. Good news is that losing weight and appropriate stretching, allied with NSAIDs, ice and rest in the early stages can help speed things up.
Good news, is that when I think back to last year there were two times when I had heel and/or achillies pain and both matched to periods of weight gain. Whilst neither seemed as prolonged or painful as this, they both were brought back under control.
I won't even try to run until at least next weekend, and as and when I do it will be a very short very slow run. In the meantime I'm popping the drugs and doing the stretches. At the gym may stick to the bike in order to keep weight off my feet.
What I'm not doing is hurtling straight into a knee jerk, super fast weight loss regime. For today at least I'm happy just to feel control. In the coming days I'll go with trying for some form of defecit as this is evidently a big part of the cure but it wont be pressured or dramatic.
Posted by Running Rob