I saw my doctor on Monday after taking two full weeks off from running and all weight bearing exercise, wearing a foot pad and wrap, and avoiding heels like I avoid broccoli.
Last I saw the doc, he had my MRI results in hand. “Findings suggestive of a stress fracture of the tibial sesamoid,” read the radiology report. When doc pressed on the area—one of the two tiny bones in the ball of the foot—it was pretty painful.
Now? No pain whatsoever, not even when he really dug in there. Based on that, he thinks I may not have had a crack in the bone, but a bruise.
Bone Crack Or Bone Bruise?
The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons describes it this way: “A stress fracture is a small crack in a bone, or severe bruising within a bone.” They’re both stress fractures, but two different types.
A crack and a bruise can appear the same on an MRI, which doesn’t necessarily show the fracture. MRIs might show swelling, or edema, which is indicative of a stress fracture. But I’d have the same swelling whether it was a crack or a bruise, my doc said.
He thinks I caught the bone bruise right away and nipped it in the bud before it had the chance to become a crack. That’s the theory anyway.
So what next? He told me to try a short run on the treadmill, 20 minutes or so nice and easy. If I had any pain, he wanted me to march right back into his office, at which point he’d slap me with a full stress fracture diagnosis, put me in a cast, and pass down a sentence of four more weeks without running.
If I had no pain, he said I could ease back into running every other day, with short, easy jogs. He wants me to keep wearing the foot pad and wrap for the time being. If the pain creeps back in at any point, I march right back into his office. If I’m still pain free, I see him for a follow-up in three weeks.
Soooooooo? I hopped on the treadmill Monday night for that test drive. Talk about knots in my stomach! I don’t think I’ve ever been as conscious of one teeny, tiny bone as I was for that 20 minutes, constantly assessing for the slightest hint of discomfort. The good news? It never crept in. Those 20 minutes—building slowly up to a conservative for me 11:30 min/mile pace—felt great. Yee-haw! Read the rest of this entry →