There’s something to be said for blissful ignorance.
There I was at my third appointment since getting back from my holiday, patiently allowing my physio to crank up the voltage on the electrotherapy machine. I even resisted the urge to yell out ‘it’s aliiiive!’ when the pulses of power through my shin started making my foot curl up of its own accord. Seriously, I know it’s nearly Hallowe’en but this freak show is getting ridiculous.
(NB – it occurs to me that we need a codename for my physio, who is a large Greek man who is preventing me from running. We shall therefore refer to him hereafter as Achilles).
Anyway. I mentioned last time that as far as I was aware, the problem with my legs is a mixture of calf strain and shin splints. So in between trying not to cry because I’m still not allowed to run for at least another fortnight (or use a cross trainer. Or strength train. Or do Pilates) I did say to Achilles that I’m well aware that if you don’t do what you’re told with shin splints then they can last for months, since I have a friend who has been out with them for the best part of a year.
“Yes” he says, “and really what you have can be even trickier to manage”
Hang on – what?
“Wait…I thought we said this was shin splints? What is it then?”
“Oh, didn’t I say before? You have Compartment Syndrome”.
Just as a quick note (mainly for my mother – are you listening Mum?!) this is not a ‘syndrome’ that you want to Google. The first picture that comes up on Wikipedia is bloody terrifying, and I really, really don’t think that what I have going on is as scary as what appears in your search engine (really Mum, please don’t look it up).
There are two sorts of Compartment Syndrome. There is Acute Compartment Syndrome, which I think is what that lady in Australia got when she spent the day crouched down in her kitchen wearing very skinny jeans – basically very similar to a crushing injury where you have no blood flow to bits of your body. And there is Chronic Compartment Syndrome, which is what I’ve got in its exercise induced form.
On the plus side, it not being shin splints means that my terror of developing a stress fracture is probably less likely. From what I understand from Achilles’ descriptions, I have a massive build up of lactic acid sitting in the anterior compartment of my lower legs. This means that the space my muscles and tendons have to move in is very restricted, and its why my legs were all swollen up and painful.
10 days of electrotherapy, icing and ibuprofen gel has made a massive difference already – my physio actually used the word ‘happy’ yesterday, which is a rare occurrence. Unfortunately he was only talking about my left leg, my right is still bad which is why I’m still not allowed to run.
So really, I don’t think that I’m looking at the scary outcome of ‘surgery’ which is all over the MedWeb and Wikipedia descriptions. After all, my physio did agree a week ago to try to get me in shape to still complete the New York Marathon, so he can’t think it’s quite that dire.
My legs are a lot less swollen that they were, less painful, and apart from a bit of residual weakness on the right side it’s at the point where if I wasn’t going to the physio and being told not to then I would be running on it again by now.
Thankfully I am going to the physio and I will continue to be a good girl. As New York is out of the window there’s plenty of time before I need to start getting into my London plan. It’s a bit annoying that I’m only allowed to swim and do yoga, having joined a gym and got all excited about the plethora of cross training opportunities that will provide, but better to rest now and come back stronger than make the problem worse before it’s fixed.
One thing I do know is that my current cross training strategy of sitting on the sofa while I ice my legs and eat large quantities of cheese probably won’t help to address the ‘loss of condition’ that Achilles so kindly pointed out to me yesterday, just as I was trying to hold back the sobs.
To that end I have ordered a fancy Speedo ‘legsuit’ so I can start swimming.
I am a terrible swimmer, but at least I’ll look like an Olympian whilst I’m doggy paddling around the shallow end…..