Mike’s Guest Blog – Where have I been?

If you follow the blog, you’ve probably noticed that I’ve dropped off the radar the last few weeks, both in guest-blogging and in Kathleen’s or Matt’s entries.  Three weeks ago today (two weeks before race day), I was wrapping up a 12 mile taper run with Matt.  My legs felt good so Matt and I pushed eachother the last 2 miles  of the run (sub 7:00).  After the run, my legs/feet felt sore, but that’s nothing new.  The next day, I definitely felt something new and different in left shin/ankle.  I thought it was shin splints and proceeded to rest the next couple days.  I used the standard ice and ibuprofen recipe, but Monday I could barely walk without shooting pain in my left ankle/shin.  Marathon was in doubt at that point.  I decided to unplug from the blogosphere.

On Tuesday and Wednesday (10 days to race day), there was slight improvement.  I went to a physical therapist Thursday, and after looking at my lower leg and watching me run, the diagnosis was tenosynovitis of the anterior tibialis tendon.


Basically, tendonitis that hurt on the outside of my lower shin and front of the ankle.  The likely cause was marathon training…no surprise there.  When I ran on the treadmill at the PT, the pain was worse when I ran with my standard heel-to-toe technique.  No pain if I ran in the midfoot style, no pain if I ran forefoot.  The PT recommended I run  a few miles Friday and come back the next week for a checkup.

I ran 4 miles on Friday (8 days to race day) using the forefoot style of running.  In this running form, you land on the ball of your foot or on your toes, predominantly utilizing your calves to push off.  The anterior tibialis tendon controls the foot during walking/running.  The tendon is engaged in the standard heel-toe running style every time your foot lands.  However, if you run midfoot or forefoot, the tendon does not engage (as much), and the amount of pain is much less.  Back to my Friday run…my calves killed during and after the run (for a couple days).  No way could I forefoot run 26.2 miles.

Back to the PT on Wednesday (3 days to race day).  My legs felt good, there was little to no pain while walking.  I ran 4 miles on the treadmill, using the midfoot style of running.  Everything felt good.  I wouldn’t have known to switch running styles to limit the pain from this tendonitis.  I was a little sore the next day, but continued to ice and take ibuprofen.  The plan was to start the race, run midfoot, and see how the leg responded.  More to come on the marathon.

For now though…anyone ever had this specific type of ankle tendonitis?  Recovery time?



  1. […] kept you at the edge of your seat since my last post.  If you need a refresher, here’s the link.  After experiencing some ankle tendinitis in the last 2 weeks of training (what was supposed to […]

  2. I, literally, feel your pain. I’ve yet to recover from this a full year later! Seems the only real cure is complete rest for 4-6 weeks. I’m looking at that now. Have tried acupuncture but no success. Will be interested to see how you go. Good luck!

  3. That’s terrible to hear. I did take 3 weeks completely off from running and that seemed to have done the trick. I’ve been back at it now for about 6 weeks and my ankle feels great. At the time of the injury, my physical therapist recommended midfoot or forefoot running to take some of the stress off the anterior tibialis tendon. After my 3 week break, I’m back to my natural heel-toe running style. My best recommendation is to take the time off. Your legs and ankles will thank you.

  4. Wish I’d found this post earlier in the year. I struggled with this issue back in February and March. I started posting about it here: http://cooperaa.wordpress.com/2014/03/21/waterloo-week-19/

    I think it’s coming back now, so I’ll post if I find anything useful out.

    1. Aaron – Definitely let me know if it comes back and how you combat the injury. You’re smart to build in some strength training. So far, I haven’t had any symptoms since last November. We’re in the first month of marathon training, so the mileage hasn’t built up too much. Fingers crossed that we avoid injury this time around.

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