The Long Road to Recovery

I’m awarding myself a new superlative: world’s slowest healer.

While I diligently followed my orthopedic doctor’s orders and the advice of my physical therapist (as well as my own hard-earned advice), it turns out my calf strain wasn’t quite healed when I got back to running in January.

My recovery was going pretty well until I got up to about 30 minutes of running. Then I started to feel some pain. I was hoping it was just DOMS—normal muscle soreness. But having learned my lesson, I didn’t try to diagnose myself and scheduled a follow-up appointment with my doctor to be sure.

My doctor was also hoping for the best, but ordered a musculoskeletal ultrasound to be sure. My first test in December was an MRI, because she wasn’t sure if the problem was skeletal or muscular, but with my injury clearly categorized as a muscle strain, an ultrasound was a cheaper and faster option this time around.

MRI - Calf
MRI, December 10, 2016

I spent a week impatiently awaiting my results only to have more bad news: the strain was still visible.

The doctor wanted to be conservative, so she followed that up with more bad news: no running for another month.

She wanted to try something else, a platelet-rich plasma (PRP) injection to try to stimulate healing, but that was a no-go with my insurance company. Instead, I opted for some acupuncture earlier this week to get the blood flowing.

Thankfully, I stopped running before the ultrasound, so I’m already two weeks into my latest time off, but I have to admit, it’s frustrating.

I was so optimistic when I started running again in January, and I went out and planned my entire year of running. Now, I’m back to the drawing board. It’s hard to imagine how I’ll hit any of my running goals this year given my late return to the streets.

The particularly frustrating thing is that I’ve been here before. When I was diagnosed with a stress fracture in winter of 2014/2015, I took the prescribed amount of time off, only to learn that I definitely wasn’t healed yet. Hence my new superlative.

I’ve decided I really truly am the world’s slowest healer, or that perhaps living in New York has something to do with it. How many other people, when recovering from a calf strain, still has to walk at minimum three miles every day just to get to and from the train to work?

When my stress fracture was so slow in healing, the doctor decided to depend on a follow up MRI in order to clear me for running, and this time, we will do the same thing. Later this month, I’ll get a follow up ultrasound to see where we stand.

In the meantime, I’m doing as much cross training as I can tolerate (I really hate most things other than running), to try to maintain some sense of aerobic fitness. Please pray for my sanity.


PS – Believe it or not, I actually took the picture at the top of the post. We drove that road in Norway, known as Trollstigen, or the Troll’s Road, two days after the Berlin Marathon in 2014, three days before the hike that lead to my stress fracture, making it particularly fitting for this post about the long, winding road to recovery, huh?  (PPS – Norway is stunning.)

4 thoughts on “The Long Road to Recovery

  1. *hugs* I was hoping to do a test run today but I still have some lingering dull pain. I don’t know when I will be back out there either. TBH the worst part of my injury has been dealing with doctors and pain medicine, and just how hard it appears to be to get pain medicine when I was clearly in a ton of pain (and not trying to obtain the medicine for bad purposes like to get high or whatever). I don’t feel like my doctors have even really listened to me or care.

    I agree it has to be really hard to be injured in a city where you do so much walking! One thing I have on my side is working from home, I can work with my compression socks on, with a TENS unit hooked up, whatever. I can do my PT on my breaks and no one cares because they don’t see.

    You had a big comeback from the stress fracture and you will have your comeback from this. You are still an amazing runner and a member of this community…


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