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Diagnosis: Stress Fracture

This time around, I've felt this wretched, annoying, on-and-off foot pain since my last race in April, and all along I thought the pain was caused by bursitis, which was the last diagnosis I had--over a year ago. Even though the pain I've felt this time is different--on the ball of my foot versus the top--it's in same region, around the third metatarsal head. So I saw a few doctors (orthopedist, podiatrist, physical therapist). They all went along with the bursitis diagnosis and gave me recommendations accordingly. No running, no impact, biking OK, elliptical OK, etc. But after my last attempt at coming back to running, which was woefully short-lived, I decided to see a fourth doctor, an orthopedic doc touted as "the best" in Tampa, Kevin Elder. He was quick and to the point and recommended a new MRI. He said I could have had bursitis last year but a new stress incident this year. Or I could have a neuroma. But he wanted to rule out a stress fracture first.

Well, it turns out we couldn't rule that out, because the MRI showed I did in fact have a stress fracture. I was--and still am--surprised. This was the obvious diagnosis all along, the fairly common occurrence in runners, but I'd come to believe that all of my ailments aren't ordinary, are mysterious and unfixable. In fact, I'd often said I wished I had a stress fracture, because (1) it's a freaking diagnosis, and (2) they heal. I guess my wish came true.

I only received the results over the phone, from the nurse, so I still have to meet with the doc on Monday to go over the MRI and my recovery process going forward. I may need to wear the clunky boot again. But I really, really hope I'll still be able to bike and swim, though I can see how he might not want me pedaling. But something. I need to keep something. I can give up the elliptical (easily), some of the weight training I've been doing, but please leave me with something. For my sanity. Perhaps I should have a better perspective on this, like, This is a time for me to look inward and heal. What can I do for myself that's not exercise-related? How can I find peace through stillness? Well, I can't. Or at least I don't want to. That's my brutal honesty. Quiet stillness is maddening to me these days. But that's a post for another day.

Update on dos and don'ts to come!

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