I LOVE IT WHEN I'M RIGHT!
Everyone pull up a chair, because it is story time again...
Late last week, a new patient, let's call her Becky (again with the name change to protect the innocent) came in to the office complaining of lower leg pain. The pain is primarily located in the back of the leg. Becky told me that her leg pain is most noticeable during and after a run. She is a runner, and is currently training for an upcoming Half Marathon. This is not her first half marathon, and she has decided to take a different approach to training for this race, and is following the training program laid out by our friend Justin Metzger, who happens to run PACER (Performance, Aerobic Capacity, Endurance, Recovery) and is also a CrossFit coach at Blackbird CrossFit. Needless to say, Coach Metzger knows his stuff. The coaching and programming that he provides for this half marathon training group is DIFFERENT than the programs that most people training for a half marathon follow. (If you are training for an upcoming race you owe it to yourself to reach out to Coach Metzger to see if his training is right for you!)
Sorry, I got a little carried away there, but back to Becky and her leg pain. We were able to dial it in a bit and found that she had some tenderness in an around her achilles tendon, but at that time the tenderness was only really noticed with direct pressure in the area of pain. So now we know the culprit, but we need to find out WHY? It is typically pretty easy to figure out the location of the pain, but figuring out why can be much more challenging. We did some testing and Becky passed with flying colors. Hip mobility? Looks good! Ankle mobility? No issues. Color me confused. Now what?
Next, we talked about her runs. Becky admitted that prior to the runs that she does on her own (not the runs with Coach Metzger) she typically does not do much of a warm-up... and she does not have a routine "maintenance" program of stretching and mobility drills that she uses at home. Now we are getting somewhere! I made a simple suggestion to Becky. Make the time to warm up before and cool down after each run, and let's see if it makes a difference. Care to take a guess as to whether it helped? I probably would not be telling you this story if it didn't! Becky was able to do a training run without any pain!
What I am getting at here is that sometimes finding the answer is easy, and sometimes we need to dig a little deeper. Sometimes, we just need to change one little variable and we can make a huge change in someone's life.
Movement is my medicine,