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  1. #1
    jfellrath's Avatar
    jfellrath is offline Junior Member
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    Question Barefoot running/walking injury.

    Primal Fuel
    Hi all,

    I'd been wearing my Vibram FiveFingers part of last summer and all of this spring and early summer with no issues. At that time, I'd been wearing my FiveFingers only for general walking around and use, not any sort of distance running. No issues whatsoever, had a great time and felt wonderful in them... other than the expected calf muscle issues with getting used to them.

    I started doing my outdoor workouts in them this spring, again with no issues. These were generally just some sprints, running, and then calisthenics workouts including jumping and squats. No issues. This was generally done on the soft ground.

    Then, in June, thinking I'd done enough training in them as I wasn't getting calf issues any more, I ran the Warrior Dash in them. This was a three mile course up and down hills and with some obstacles, no pavement involved.

    Since then, I'd been getting some pain in the Achilles tendon where it met my heel bone, just to the inside of the back of my foot, on both feet. It wasn't anything bad, and rather stubbornly I sort of just ignored it. In fact, I also got a pair of VivoBarefoot shoes for work because I thought my heels just needed to be stretched out like that on a more regular basis.

    Yesterday, though, I ran the Ruckus run - similar to Warrior Dash but this time there was a significant portion of the race that was on pavement, thought this time it was all flat. I did really well, had no issues with heel pain while in the run (in fact, I never have had pain DURING an activity, only after or early in the morning when first getting up, hence my thought that I just needed the stretching). I worked very hard to avoid any heel-striking and tried landing on my forefeet the way you're supposed to do.

    But... a couple hours after the run, it started to hurt in those same spots. A lot. And it stayed that way all night. The next morning it was even worse...I couldn't flex my foot forward (to an angle of less than 90 degrees) at all without excruciating pain on my right foot, and it was super-uncomfortable on the left. Pointing the toe isn't an issue at all on either foot. I was on crutches all day, staying off my right foot. It still hurts now as I write this. I iced it a few times and that provided a little bit of relief, but it's hardly better. It's a pretty sharp pain, not dull throbbing or anything. And it goes away when I'm not moving my feet or ankles at all.

    So... any thoughts on what I did? Strained a tendon? Stress fracture? And how to treat it? I have another similar race in less than a month and I'm happy to wear regular shoes for it, but I just want to know how to deal with this properly. If it means not running in the race, that's cool, too, naturally.

    Thanks,
    Jamie

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    Yaish's Avatar
    Yaish is offline Senior Member
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    I'm no expert, but it sounds like it might be an achilles tendonitis.

    Achilles Pain / Achilles Tendinopathy - Treatment, rehabilitation, stretching, sports massage

    Gradual onset of achilles pain at the back of the ankle, just above the heel bone.
    This develops over a period of days.
    Pain at the onset of exercise which fades as the exercise progresses.
    Pain eases with rest.
    Tenderness on palpation.
    and

    Causes of Achilles Tendonitis
    Achilles tendonitis is an overuse injury. Too much too soon is the basic cause of overuse injuries, however other factors can contribute to developing the condition.

    Increase in activity (either distance, speed or hills).
    Less recovery time between activities.
    Change of footwear or training surface.
    Weak calf muscles.
    Decreased range of motion at the ankle joint, usually cause by tight calf muscles.
    Running up hills - the achilles tendon has to stretch more than normal on every stride. This is fine for a while but will mean the tendon will fatigue sooner than normal.
    Overpronation or feet which roll in when running can place an increased strain on the achilles tendon. As the foot rolls in (flattens) the lower leg also rotates inwards which places twisting stresses on the tendon.
    Wearing high heels constantly shortens the tendon and calf muscles. When exercising in flat running shoes, the tendon is stretched beyond its normal range which places an 'abnormal' strain on the tendon.
    Sound about right?

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    Yaish's Avatar
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    BTW, I'm experiencing some of the same symptoms along my left achilles, but I'm just trying to be careful with it and taking ibuprofen for swelling.

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    AndreaReina's Avatar
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    You went from short, intense runs to distance running -- the adaptions for one aren't exactly the adaptions for the other. You over-used the tissues, now you need to rest and let them heal. Then, slowly add some distance to your routine.

  5. #5
    jfellrath's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Yaish View Post
    I'm no expert, but it sounds like it might be an achilles tendonitis.
    --cut--
    Sound about right?
    Yeah, that sounds like it. Guess I'm going back to conventional shoes for a while and staying out of the Vibrams.

    Quote Originally Posted by AndreaReina View Post
    You went from short, intense runs to distance running -- the adaptions for one aren't exactly the adaptions for the other. You over-used the tissues, now you need to rest and let them heal. Then, slowly add some distance to your routine.
    Andrea, you're right on. I was looking at the e-book from VivoBarefoot on how the foot strikes differently whether you're walking, running, or sprinting, and it's apparent that I'm going to need to do more general "running" before these races. So, as soon as the pain is gone and I can handle it, short runs will become part of my routine. Thanks all!

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