Monday, 20 August 2012

Pause for thought

I've had to be sensible and take a few days off.  Things were going really well: I've braved the main road, and for two consecutive days I ran a mile completely barefoot.

However, I'd developed a small bruise-like pain on my right heel - outside or lateral edge, underneath my ankle bone. When I was running on the second day (a 2.5 mile run, first 1.5 in Vibrams, last mile barefoot) I could feel pain developing quite rapidly in this area. It scared me a bit because it reminded me of the pain I got when I had my stress fracture. I slowed for the last 400 metres or so, and iced the area on my return.

I little later I could see a small amount of swelling in the area. I did a bit of research and found an excellent website for pinpointing foot pain. It is either posterior heel pain (though this seems to present much more at the very back of the heel), or more worrying - a developing stress feature of the calcaneal.  Another classic symptom of this is that that there is pain in this area when the achilles is 'pinched' on both sides simultaneously - something that I can definitely confirm.

That was the 17th August.  I've been good and rested my foot now for a few days, and whilst there is still a little pain, it's much improved.  Symptoms now are only noticeable when I walk - on flexing the ankle to lift the foot up at the end of each stride - or if I squeeze the area.  I'm not limping.

So another little set back.  I think, as runners we accept that our running life is never straightforward - except for the lucky few.  Have I been put off running barefoot?  Certainly not.  In fact, as I drove down a local road the other day, I commented to my daughter that it looked like it would be a great road to run down barefoot, because it was a little bit rough and gritty, and I thought it would feel nice on my soles.  It's frustrating to wait, but I know it'll be worth it.

I thought it was important to make this post, because I'm guilty of raving about how great barefooting is, but (for me at least) it's not a quick route to faster and longer runs.

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