Monday morning I marched back to the doctor’s office for my appointment to go over the results of the MRI. They informed me at the desk that I didn’t have an appointment. I knew I did and luckily they were able to fit me in anyhow. Later that day I confirmed that I did have the correct appointment day and time as it is clearly written on the appointment card I was given. That’s really beside the point. Mistakes happen. What’s important are the MRI results.
I expected that the most likely outcome of the MRI would be the confirmation of a stress fracture. About equally weighted I thought the MRI might give no information. I also thought there was an outside chance, very small, that something else was going on. I had silly fears of seeing a tumor on the MRI results.
The simplest answer is generally the correct one. The results showed evidence of a stress fracture or at least bone injury. Right at my ankle bone marrow edema is clearly visible. Bone marrow edema means that fluid has collected in the bone marrow. This is a reaction the body has when presented with bone trauma. The radiologist and the doctor agreed that this is evidence of a stress fracture. When you look at my history there’s no doubt that some bone injury has occurred.
After the confirmation of the stress fracture, which was suspected all along, the doctor left me with very little information. He couldn’t explain why his treatment (the aircast) didn’t work as he had expected. He said that my case is very atypical. I think, to him, there are two parts of my case that are atypical. First that I could hop pain free and second that I didn’t respond well to the aircast leg brace system. I can think of a few explanations. As for the hopping it could (possibly) be due to the location of the injury though I think that is unlikely. More likely the injury isn’t as severe as is typically seen and I was probably well along the healing process by the time I saw him. As for the aircast not working I think the most likely explanation is that the aircast doesn’t really assist in the healing. This contradicts what this doctor has witnessed but corresponds with all other data I’ve seen. The 3 week recovery time for a stress fracture seems so fantastical to me that the claim must be questioned. I do not think that there is enough data to support that claim. I certainly didn’t recover after three weeks and I was dilligent about wearing the aircast. I actually kept the aircast in my bathroom overnight so I could put it on as soon as I stepped out of the shower. The only time I didn’t wear it was when sleeping and showering. I even wore sneakers around the house because it seemed to provide more support than wearing it alone. I will likely continue to wear the aircast as I do not suspect it is hurting anything. I might be helping — just not as much as sometimes is claimed.
The doctor didn’t really give me any guidelines. Perhaps he thought I knew everything I needed to know. Pretty much the only guidelines I was given was “plan on primarily cross training for the next 2 months.” I think that I do know the proper way to recover as I have researched this extensively.
My recover plan is essentially the following. First I will not run at all for 4 weeks. I will then attempt a very short run consisting of about 100 meters of running at a time for about 1 mile. If that does not go well I will take an additional week off. If it goes well I will increase the running distance for the next run. Based on the experiences of other runners I suspect that I should be back to 40-50 miles per week relatively quickly. I’m thinking about 3 months from now.
And so I rest, bike, weight train, and continue to learn to swim…and feel extreme envy when I see anyone running.