Definitely NOT a Stress Fracture. They Said…


If you’re a long suffering reader of my blog, you’ll already be aware of my current foot injuries which have me benched from running since last April. Shortly before the Paris Marathon in April, I started experiencing some mild pain and discomfort on the outsides of both my feet, as well as around the heel area, on the underneaths of both feet and indeed on along the top of my left foot (for good measure). Long story short, it got rapidly worse in the couple of weeks leading up to the race and I could hardly walk on the left one after completing the 26.2.

Pure joy from the ankles upwards. Left foot was, however, in bits.

6 months later and after a series of visits to 2 different physiotherapists, a chiropodist and a GP, it had been collectively decided that the cause of my foot pain was NOT:

  1. A stress fracture
  2. Plantar Fasciitis
  3. Arthritis
  4. Rheumatoid arthritis
  5. Other rheumatology illnesses

All seemed to agree that it was likely that my feet had just generally taken quite a “battering”/ a “pounding” for the last while with training – and though I couldn’t disagree with this, it just seemed a bit too vague a diagnosis for me. I like to know exactly what is wrong, what caused it and how to fix/avoid it going forward.


Ortho / Joint Expert

My GP sent me for X-ray to rule out any obvious fracture, before referring me to an orthopaedic specialist, whose area of expertise is feet and ankles. During my visit with Mr Laing, he examined both feet, bent my legs and ankles this way and that, twisted my toes up and down and generally fiddled around with all the bits in my feet. His conclusion was that I likely have a stress fracture in the fifth metatarsal on my left foot and may also have a stress fracture on the right foot.

im-not-a-nerd-i-just-like-to-know-everything-about-everything-and-id-like-to-know-it-nowHold on.

A stress fracture?

Wait, didn’t you say I definitely DID NOT have a stress fracture 5 months ago? This is why I don’t like going to physiotherapists – they are often way too vague in their analysis, differ wildly in what they think is wrong and far too often seem to be just winging it. Need to work on your core. Here’s a list of exercises to strengthen the leg muscles. Use ice baths. Oh, and that will be 50 euro and I need you to come back again next week.

Beyond frustrating.

I am sure that there are some very good physiotherapists out there in the world doing great work, but I am equally sure that I have yet to meet one. And those who are not doing a good job or who are blatantly just winging it are doing a terrible disservice to the former.

Rant over, sorry.

Sorry for ranting. Here’s a picture of my dog, just chilling out to bring some chill to this piece!

The orthopaedic foot specialist referred me for an MRI scan so that he can fully assess what’s going on inside my feet, which I had done at the weekend. Next up is my follow-up appointment with himself to analyse the MRI and decide where to go from there.

What Next?

If it is a stress fracture, the hard-to-swallow reality is that I may be completely benched from running, walking and all foot-based activities for up to a year…maybe more. For someone used to running 5 days a week and getting a few nice walks and hikes in on my days off too… this is a big, big pill to swallow.

The last few months have been tough, not being able to run and with the Dublin Marathon coming up in 3 weeks time, I am finding it really hard not being able to lace up and go for a run.

But the reality is that stress fractures need time and rest to heal. If you don’t give enough time or rest, it will not heal and all you’ll end up doing is prolonging the healing time… and therefore prolonging the torture of not being able to run.

I read all your blogs, follow your training, look at how you performed in your autumn marathons and I am envious.

I cannot wait to get back running and one thing is for certain – if and when I do lace up my Sauconys again, whether it’s for 3 miles or 26, I will be so grateful and happy to just be able to do that – to be able to run, to be pain-free and just doing my thing – that is a wonderful, wonderful thing.

Happy running my friends! Go do your thing.


4 thoughts on “Definitely NOT a Stress Fracture. They Said…

  1. Oh no! So sorry to hear about the stress fracture. Definitely good to not run and just let it heal. I know it’s hard, it was hard for me to not run for 6 days so I feel for you. You’ll be back and at it once healed. Hoping it heals on the faster side!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Thanks Sharon, healing time seems to be crawling by, I feel like an impatient child! I miss running so much and think it could be quite a while before I’ll be back running again. Enjoy it!


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