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More Details on My Injury
By: Weldon Johnson
June 17, 2004

Last summer, I started having some slight trouble with the plantar fascia in my right foot. I knew that generally this is caused by a tight calf , so I tried stretching my calf more often, but felt there just wasn't something right about it. Finally, when I was in Florida with the US team getting ready to fly to the Dominican Republic for the Pan Am Games, I severely strained my calf during my final workout. I tried to run the 10k at the Pan Am Games, but ended up dropping out halfway. I figured time would heal the thing, so I ended up taking about a month completely off, but when I started back up again my calf was still bothering me, so I got some rehab work on it, but perhaps never fully corrected the problem as my plantar fasciitis reappeared last winter as I was trying to get ready for the Olympic Marathon Trials in February. I've always said I would rather run the marathon in Athens than the 10k, so my priority was too get ready for the marathon trials instead of the track trials. I got a cortisone shot in December and that seemed to help my plantar a lot, although I ended up developing a knee problem prior to the marathon trials.  After the marathon trials, I took it easy for a week or so to rest my knee and then started up again. Soon my plantar came back pretty intensely as did some knee problems on the other knee (it seems like when my plantar gets intense I compensate and cause other problems). This was around the 1st of March. I figured I needed to completely fix my body, so I posted on this website asking who I should go see. I got a ton of recommendations but decided to go see a guy in Flagstaff who other runners had recommended because I was stick of traveling. That was my first mistake, as he actually made my calf injury worse. Of course a few weeks had now passed, and then I started seeing a few other people in Phoenix.  Things finally seemed to be getting better although my plantar still hurt some, but my knee was 100%.  I started working out again, and things were going well (I thought). One day, I went to Phoenix for some treatment and to workout and was actually getting pretty encouraged.  I was doing a tempo run that day and during the 2nd loop (I do 2 equal road loops), my foot was killing me.  It felt like someone was stabbing me in the foot each step. I remember wondering at the time if that is what a foot feels like before the plantar fascia ruptures. But I didn't want to use the foot pain as an excuse so I kept running on it. I should have known something was up because for the first time ever in 4 years the 2nd of my 2 loops was slower than my 1st  (training tip: if you're not running your tempo runs with the 2nd half faster than the 1st you're doing them wrong). Looking back I'm pretty sure this is the day I got a tear in my plantar fascia. (I did not rupture the fascia from the bone, rather I have a tear inside of the fascia). The previous days when I thought things were getting better I had noticed my ankle had swollen up. I think I had just been compensating running way more on the outside of my foot and thus my symptoms seemed better but the problem was still there. But when I ran hard, it was impossible for me to compensate on my ankle and I tore the fascia.

A couple more weeks passed with just easy running and I went to Connecticut to see podiatrist, Dr. Brian Fullem, who posts on this site a lot and who I really trust (If you're in the NY or CT area you should see him. He has 2 offices in Ct., one in New Haven). He mentioned at the time that  I might have torn my fascia already, but he would give me a cortisone as he knew I was trying to make a last ditch effort for the trials. I got the shot, took a few days off and the pain returned right when I started running again. It was a really intense pain when I tried to run anything over a jog.  Brian suggested an MRI to confirm the tear, so I got an MRI, and it said there was an intrasubstance tear in the fascia. Brian said there was a chance with a couple of weeks of intense rehab I might be able to run again. By this point, I was really out of time but figured I had nothing to lose. So I went to the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, got rehab done on the foot, and was in a walking boot. The first day back when I tried to run, the foot still hurt. It was at this point that Brian said I might need up to 2 months off. So that's where I'm at now.


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