Shin pain

Mar. 7th, 2013 08:16 am
[personal profile] ewt
I had some unpleasantness (further detail here if you are on my access list) on Monday which has left me rather out-of-sorts this week; one result is that all my joint/muscle pain is worse than usual. Annoyingly this seems to include the shin pain, even though I am being careful not to push myself for speed when getting from point A to point B.

So I didn't go to the gym Tuesday, and I'm not going today, and I will try again next week I think -- I don't know how long it will take to revert to "normal for me", but I do need to prioritise being functional for paid work and professional commitments. It's annoying, because the endorphins from exercise (even the walking) would probably help me get back to normal sooner as well as make me feel a bit better, but the risk of injury is just too high.
[personal profile] ewt
This morning I repeated Week 4 Day 1, but with all treadmill speeds .5kph slower.

I found it frustrating walking so slowly, and don't feel I've really had any cardiovascular challenge to speak of. But the shin discomfort was only minimal, and only near the end of the faster intervals. No NSAIDs since Tuesday night, so I don't think I've masked pain with medication. Shins a bit uncomfortable now, but nothing like Tuesday.

I suppose the lesson here is that I should not dash about in a hurry the day before walking at the gym.

I did have some hip pain and sacro-iliac joint discomfort; the hip pain has continued. I suspect this is due to too much standing yesterday (running many errands), because it was like this before even getting to the gym, and hasn't been made worse by it. Ibuprofen shortly!

Next time I will try the same programme again but put the speeds back up to 5kph warm-up, 6.5kph fast, 5.5kph normal, and ending with 6kph for the remainder of the treadmill time. If shin pain gets worse than it was today I will switch to .5kph slower, rather than doing myself more mischief walking faster than my shins are happy about.

I'm actually really glad of the treadmill: it felt like I was walking *much* slower, not just .5kph slower, and I think had I been trying to do a similar "scale it back a bit" outside I would have been too impatient.
[personal profile] ewt
Shin pain is back.

I am upset about this. I wasn't even running.

It started before I even did the first "faster" interval, when I was still walking 5km/h. Maybe I should have just stopped then, or done 40min at 5kph and left it at that.

I kept going anyway, telling myself it wasn't *that* bad. This may have been a mistake, in terms of recovery and not aggravating an existing injury, but I think I would be feeling even worse now if I hadn't completed the set.

Possible causes:
-last night I was running late for a service I was leading, so I walked faster than normal to get to church on time. I rather legged it, in fact, and was pleased with myself for having walked a mile in under 20 minutes. It didn't hurt at the time. I've been walking a lot: church is just over a mile and I am there most days, sometimes twice, so I'm walking two to four miles most days; most of the time, this doesn't cause me problems. In general my joints have been pretty good lately and I haven't taken any painkillers for a few days, so I don't think I masked pain with medication or anything like that.
-er, not sure what else. I don't think it was caused by walking faster for 5 minute intervals instead of 3 minutes, or anything, because it started before then.
-I'm starting to wonder if the orthotics are actually causing part of the problem. They're "half-orthotics", which means they're only under the back half of my foot, and they're stiffer than the shoe in the front part of my foot. Could I be over-working my calves/shins because that part of my step is more flexible? But without the orthotics, I get hip and back pain, which slows me down a lot more and probably involves long-term damage.

PLN:
-Accept that it isn't fair and allow myself to have a bit of a sulk. Grah to hypermobility. Hmph.
-On Thursday, try the same programme again, with all the speeds cut by .5kph. Decide after that what to do next.
-If I continue to have ongoing problems, maybe try those horrid elliptical machine things. I hate these, but I haven't really used them since before I got the orthotics, so maybe they won't make my hip hurt so much now. They don't involve so much lifting feet and putting them down again, so may be gentler.
-Think about how this programme could be adapted to cycling, which I have had more success with in the past.
-If that also doesn't work, look into spending serious money on shoes, gait analysis and so on, or possibly getting different orthotics (even more serious money, if the NHS says "You get shinsplints when you walk fast? Walk slowly then!").


Good things:
-I have a PLN
-I walked a mile in under 20 minutes last night, and regularly walk two to four miles in a day. That's not bad going. In 2007 I couldn't walk to the end of the road without serious back pain, so even if I'm having some minor problems now, I've definitely improved.
-Between the walking (and attempts at running in January), rowing (so far this does not seem to exacerbate shin pain), and various other things, I appear to have dropped a dress size since Christmas. Now, I'm not doing this to lose weight or get smaller, or even weighing myself or using measuring tape! However it is gratifying to see some results in the form of changes to my body, even if they are changes I am trying not to care about.
[personal profile] ewt
I found this morning hard work. I'm a bit sleep-deprived, a bit stressed, a bit achey. All of these are reasons I definitely needed to exercise, and all reasons that I wanted to get on with doing other things instead.

So, go me for turning up anyway. It's interesting how much differently I perceive the activity itself when the machine is the same and the programme is the same but I am not feeling great. It makes sense that everything is a bit less comfortable, feels a bit harder, but I had to talk myself into keeping going today in a way I haven't really had to before -- not because I was in significant pain or struggling to breathe fast enough or anything like that (I wasn't), but just because I didn't feel like it.

Here's hoping next week is more usual.
[personal profile] ewt
It has been wet enough here over the last several months that Wanstead Flats, where I like to walk, is consistently quite soggy. So I finally bit the bullet and did some walking on the treadmill at the gym.

I like it more than I thought I would. Noise-cancelling headphones are an asset as the background music at the gym is not pleasant; the headphones don't entirely get rid of it, but they make it quiet enough that I can listen to something else. But the ground isn't uneven and I don't have to try to avoid dog poo or fox poo and it doesn't rain and, well, as much as I love being outside, I tend to get distracted by the plants.

The treadmills at the gym have options for time, distance or calories to use as goals. I've been setting the time as 40min, then gradually increasing speed to 5km/h, then starting the "C25K" app on my phone. When it's time for a "running" interval I put the treadmill speed up to 6.5km/h, and the "brisk walking" speed is 5.5km/h. When the app on the phone tells me I am finished, I walk at 6km/h until my time is up (usually around 15 minutes).

So far this seems to be OK, though in fairness I've only done it twice. The extra time at the end is so that if I'm having a bad joint day, I can reduce the amount I'm doing but probably still complete the C25K aspect of the programme; it's mostly a psychological gimmick. My plan is to continue doing this until I have finished the programme or get injured (let's hope not), then repeat but with all speeds higher by .5km/h. I'm still aiming for two sessions a week rather than three, especially as I'm currently doing some rowing on two or three other days (as recommended to me by nearly every physiotherapist I've ever had), but I am only doing each session once (rather than repeating them as I was with running). This morning I walked 3.9k total with an average speed of 5.9km/h, according to the treadmill.

I haven't decided what I will do if I find I can't walk fast enough and end up breaking into a jog, but I don't think that's likely to happen on this iteration of walking Couch to 5k.
[personal profile] ewt
Thursday I had another go at Week 2, Day 2. Shin pain was quite bad again right from the start so I ended up walking. Heart rate afterward was 93bpm, not as high as when I run or row, and not as high as Tuesday's walking. The route I took was different, and very wet, so that I had to pick my way quite slowly across some bits to avoid getting soaked. I think that's probably the reason for the lower heart rate.

I walked an additional four miles on Thursday in the course of getting where I needed to be and when, and my shins have been hurting since. If they're still like this on Tuesday, running is going to be right out of the question.

I find the beeping of my phone to tell me to start the next interval does mean I walk faster than I would if I were just ambling around, and so I think I will keep using SimpleC25k even if I eventually decide that running is entirely out. If I do that I will probably also start using something like RunKeeper to log my distance. If average walking speed for adult humans is 5km/h I don't see why I couldn't aim to do 5k in thirty minutes, eventually. I do have long legs, and race walkers do much faster speeds than that, albeit with a rather strange gait.

I've been having other leg problems, and they seem to get worse when my shins are particularly sore. I think this is a hypermobility-related thing. I now have a testable hypothesis as to what is going on. Sadly testing will take some time as it involves various physio exercises which will likely take a few weeks to make any difference.
[personal profile] ewt
This morning despite a good walking warm-up I was into serious shin pain about three seconds into the first running interval. I wasn't able to shift it with stretching or longer walking intervals: whatever I did, as soon as I started running again, it hurt.

So I walked fast/slow for the intervals, and thought about how I want to handle this.

I'd not had a great time of joint stuff over the weekend, which probably wasn't helping me. Yesterday was an extremely long day (up at 5am, bed well after midnight), which also didn't help.

I've already said I will keep trying to run for the rest of January, and I think I want to stick with that: my body is inconsistent enough, and sensitive enough to things like sleep levels, that I am not certain this morning's pain means I simply shouldn't run. However, I reserve the right to walk instead at any point if the shin pain (or joint pain, but so far shin pain seems to be the thing that really limits me) is like it was today -- I am not in this to hurt myself! Rather I would like to find out, gently, whether I can run, or how running might be sustainable for me. This morning was not a failure, just a data point.

I did enjoy the walk, and even if subsequent runs are all "unsuccessful" in terms of actually running, I think that establishing a habit of walking outside twice a week could do me good. Much of my day-to-day walking happens when I am carrying something (which will distort my posture) or in a slight hurry, and it's pleasant to be able to move around without encumbrance and to walk for the sake of it rather than on the way to somewhere. I'm uncertain whether posts about my walks would be within the scope of this community if I were to switch to walking as a long-term strategy, but for now I will consider them running attempts (as they are).
[personal profile] ewt
I decided to take part in Janathon and have been updating [personal profile] artsyhonker with details as it's a bit more public and I'm more comfortable linking to there from my public twitter account.

But basically, I decided a) I may as well pick up where I left off rather than starting over and b) I may as well run twice a week and do the programme at the pace suggested until I have problems.

First run, on 1st January, was fine, easier than the ones I did later in November in fact. Second one on 3rd January was not so good: shin pain again. Bother.

I'm thinking I will try to keep going for January, doing what I can -- that is, not starting any running interval with shin pain, and lengthening the walking intervals to include stretches if necessary to achieve this -- but if at the end of January I'm still being limited by shin pain, then I need to try something other than running and accept that at this weight running is too high-impact for my body.

I already know that cycling doesn't generally cause me problems, but on a "real" bicycle I tend to only work hard if I'm in a real hurry to get somewhere, so it's probably exercise bikes at the gym if I want to push myself. I've also been told by several physios to do rowing but I am already using the rowing machine at the gym on non-running weekdays (for ten minutes at a time -- not a huge amount or a huge challenge, but enough to feel like I'm doing something and to establish the habit of going to the gym), and would prefer to have something else so it doesn't get too monotonous.
[personal profile] ewt
My ankle got better, then I had a week of quite bad general joint pain, then I had moving house to contend with. I'm still moving, and my running stuff is not all in one place as a result, and I have more services than usual to prepare for.

I'd like to get back to running, but realistically this is probably going to have to wait until January. I'm struggling not to mentally berate myself over this, but I think I will be even worse if I tell myself that of course I can keep going/restart now, and then fail to do it because the logistics are silly.

A disadvantage of walking until I feel warmed up (rather than for a set amount of time), and walking/stretching between running intervals until the shin pain goes below a certain level, is that I never know exactly how long a session will take; that makes it harder to fit in, even with my fairly flexible and variable schedule.

I think I will try for twice a week in January, though: stretches and/or extra time between running intervals seems to do more for the shin pain than only running once a week did.

Bother.

Nov. 17th, 2012 12:43 am
[personal profile] ewt
I've been very tired this week, and struggling with motivation, and I was going to run today but turned my ankle. It isn't bad -- I'm walking nearly normally and there isn't any swelling -- but it is painful enough a few hours later that I think running tonight would be a bad idea.

Tomorrow no good, Sunday I won't have running kit with me having stayed overnight in Leytonstone, which means it'll be Monday or Tuesday.

(Also, I tried to post this before and it went in my own journal, for reasons I don't quite understand.)
ewt: (mercury)
[personal profile] ewt
I'm late with things this week; I'd hoped to be running on Mondays or Tuesdays, generally. Monday I wasn't feeling well, Tuesday I was stuck inside waiting for a parcel, yesterday was far too busy.

I was tired today, and I noticed that while the 60-second running intervals were still relatively easy in cardiovascular terms, I felt more out of breath than usual and took a bit longer for my breathing to return to normal in between.

As with last week, I extended the walking intervals (by pausing the app on my phone) so that I did not start any running interval with shin pain beyond a certain level. On an entirely subjective scale I think the shin pain was less than it has been since the first run, so I'm very pleased with this strategy. I started stretching between running intervals much earlier in this session, before my shins actually started to hurt (but when I could feel the muscles I stretch were starting to seize up a bit), and that seems to have helped.

I need to decide whether to keep doing Week 1 Day 3 until I can do it "as directed" with only 90 second walking/stretching intervals, or move on to Week 2 and keep pausing the walking intervals as needed. None of the running intervals today felt as if I couldn't have continued for another thirty seconds, either because of CV limits or shin pain limits, so I am leaning toward starting Week 2, but perhaps it is best to see how I feel in the next few days (last week I had sore shins walking for a couple of days after my run despite the new strategy, and I could do without having that as a regular feature of my life).
ewt: (mercury)
[personal profile] ewt
I was dithering about going out this morning, again partly because of being quite tired after a weekend with too much travel in it, and partly because of quite legitimate concerns regarding joint pain and so on.

I'm still on sixty seconds of running to ninety seconds of walking, and feeling slightly irritated with the apparent lack of progress. The running is still not desperately challenging in cardio-vascular terms, but my shins are still complaining. I don't like that I'm not much in control of the progress of this, can't make it better by just showing up and giving it my best shot, and don't even really know when I can expect some improvement. I want to deal with this the way I deal with learning difficult music, but I don't have enough information to put it into context. I should remember this feeling when my own music students get frustrated!

This morning I decided that I would do all the running intervals, on the grass, but walk longer or do (shin-splint oriented) stretches in between if necessary: I wouldn't start a running interval with shin pain bad enough to slow down my walking beyond the speed I would normally walk if pain-free. Obviously this is all a bit estimated, I'm not out there measuring exactly how far I walk in the ninety seconds, but seeing what feels "about right". After the first two running intervals I recovered quickly enough to manage starting on time. After the third, fourth, fifth and sixth runs I needed longer breaks, but seemed better again between 7th and 8th, though the walk home was not wonderful (back onto pavement for that).

I'm pleased with this method. It takes longer, and I will have to leave more time for runs than I would if I were following the programme more strictly, but I feel better about completing the running portions, even if I needed longer breaks, than I did about not finishing last week. I also hope that it might allow me to gradually lengthen my running time. Some of the stretches provided much more immediate pain relief than during the week, which is both encouraging and useful; and another advantage of stretching, as well as walking, between intervals is that it makes me pay attention to the stretch. My lower legs (not just shins) have been a bit complainy the rest of the day, getting worse as the day has gone on, but I did do a lot of pedalwork when practising organ this evening too, so I can't only blame running for that.

Other things:
-I found myself un-earwormed, which is very unusual for me. But I also found myself counting in my head during the running intervals, trying to pace my counting to exactly 60bpm so that I'd get to sixty just as my phone beeped. I was within one second on five of the eight intervals. This has nothing to do with running really, but amuses me as a musician. Maybe next time I will try 72bpm, or something like 40 which I think will be hard.
-Lots of mushrooms again: fairy ring champignons, boletes of some kind, charcoal burner russulas. I didn't get back to the park during daylight to collect any, though. And I love the fallen and falling leaves.
-I wore the hiker/trainer hybrid shoes, and had dry socks for the duration, hurrah!
[personal profile] ewt
I did cut the insoles in my trainers and that does seem to have made them fit better. I waited until I got to the grass to start running, and tried to concentrate on posture.

I still got shin pain; not so bad at first, the first two intervals felt very easy and I wanted to run longer... but after that, gradually getting worse, and continuing into the cool-down periods. I didn't jog/run the last two intervals, because not only were my shins hurting but I could feel my feet twisting in response.

Good things:
- I showed up. I was quite sore yesterday, and also had a sedentary day, and it would have been really easy to tell myself that I wasn't up to running today without bothering to try it and see.
- Knowing what it feels like to not complete a session is useful, I think. It feels like it was still worth trying, today, even though I am disappointed that I didn't finish. That means that next time I am feeling like I might not manage the whole thing anyway, I'm more likely to turn up and do what I can than blow it off.
- The actual cardiovascular effect of this is still easy to deal with, and that makes me feel good. I'd got into the habit of thinking of myself as terribly unfit, but clearly this is not the whole story.
- It's mushroom season, and during the walking periods I spotted a few tasty things, which I might go back and pick later if I have time. Being outside without commuting and carrying lots of stuff around is good.

Given the way my body seems to behave with inflammation (once I have an injury it gets re-inflamed very easily -- I don't know whether this is related to the EDS, or whether it's a fairly normal thing) I'm wondering whether it's worth taking pre-emptive NSAIDs when I am planning to run. I do this sometimes on days when I know I'll be putting my joints through a lot, and it does seem to help. It feels different to medicate so I can do my work than to medicate so I can go running/jogging, which perhaps says something about how I feel about exercise as self-care! I suppose in this as in other things the trick is to try it.

Next week I will wear the other shoes again, the hiking-trainer hybrid things. They are much more waterproof than the trainers. *wrings out socks*

If I don't find an acceptable way of dealing with the shin pain by January I am going to have to try something else.
[personal profile] ewt
I dithered a lot before running this morning, then realised that physically I was feeling OK, but was on something of an endorphin dip after a very exciting weekend and that running might actually help me out of that. And I figured I may as well progress to Day 2 as it's the same as Day 1 anyway in Week 1.

Not great things:
-shin pain was with me again. Not as bad as last week: it's eased a lot now I'm home, and it wasn't the entire focus of the run. But it's more than I'm happy with, and feels more like a "this is potentially causing damage" pain than a "your muscles will get stronger and cope with this" pain.
-as a result of shin pain, I'm still walking quite slowly in the walking intervals and after the run: several people passed me on my way home. It's really hard to gauge whether my cardiovascular fitness is improving when I'm being held back by another thing.

Good things:
-I finished, and it wasn't as hard as last time.
-A flatter route does seem to be better, as does running more on grass than on pavement (not an option on the more hilly route I was taking before -- too much risk of twisting an ankle and falling down the hill sideways)
-I do, indeed, feel the same gentle pleased-with-myself happiness as I did when I first started this. I felt emotionally good about running while I was running even though it hurt, and I feel good now about having been running. Yay endorphins!

Thoughts:
-I was in my 'best' shoes today, a sort of hiking boot/trainer hybrid, and still had the shin pain. These shoes are definitely not too small. I wonder whether the extra height at the heel due to orthotics is throwing my foot forward onto my toes more when I run and causing problems. This could also be related to the feeling that the trainers I was wearing last week are too small.
-I could have shin splints. I'm not confident that getting diagnosis and treatment for this (whether my self-diagnosis is correct) on the NHS will be anything less than a battle, and I have other healthcare battles to fight, so I'm not going to try unless it starts to interfere with walking. However, treatment is similar to that for many other soft tissue injuries: rest and ice and NSAIDs to get the inflammation under control, careful return to activity and a long hard look at ergonomics to see what is going wrong in the first place. I can do all that on my own with very little risk.

PLN:
-until the shin pain is less problematic, I'm running once a week, not twice a week. Longer recovery time (due to special snowflakeness in collagen production) is a known bug, and running once a week will still be better for me than not running at all.
-in my trainers, I'm going to take out the insoles and cut the back half off so that the position of my heels relative to my toes is not so high. This might also stop them being too small.
-I'm going to make sure I run on grass as much as possible. This may mean a more repetitive route, especially while I'm still in Enfield, but it is actually a bit of a no-brainer that I should have caught before.
[personal profile] ewt
Thursday my joints were too iffy to run, and today I have swollen glands and a headache as well as joint pain, so I'm not going to push it. The event at the weekend took a lot of physical stamina and I think I'm still recovering from that (certainly my voice still is -- I did a lot of singing).

I plan to run tomorrow if I'm feeling better, and then on Friday. Next week I'll try to get back to the Monday/Thursday schedule.
ewt: (mercury)
[personal profile] ewt
That was not a good run...

My trainers, which seemed to mostly fit all right on Thursday, felt too small today when I put them on. I didn't get as far with the warm-up walk as I did on Thursday, and didn't really feel warmed-up when it was time to start running. Some of the running/jogging intervals were slow enough I may as well have been walking. My shins hurt the entire time (rather than hurting a bit at first and then feeling better), and still do, and I don't feel physically good the way I did after Thursday's run. The whole thing just felt hard and unpleasant and painful, and I only finished because I wanted to see whether I could and what it would do to my body if I did.

Good things:
-dodgy hip still seems fine
-initial cardiovascular effort seemed to settle in nicely after a bit; I was not being limited by lung capacity at all, today, just by stupid leg pain.

Thoughts:
-I probably do need new trainers, a size up, to accommodate the change in foot size when I wear my 'best' shoes for three days. Bother.
-The first part of my route is uphill. It might be better, next time, to pause SimpleC25K until I am on a flat bit, especially if I'm not feeling properly warmed up; alternately, I should try a flatter route.
-I have no idea whether I'll be able to run on Thursday. I'm tempted to try it in my current 'best' shoes mentioned above, which are sort of hiking boot/trainer hybrid things.
-I'm not sure whether I should go to Week 1 Day 2(a) or stick with Week 1 Day 1 for a third repetition to see how I settle into things.

After the last run, I was fine on Friday (but it was a day off, so I didn't really challenge myself movement wise at all), had rather stiff muscles on Saturday which meant I needed to move very carefully to avoid joints getting pulled out of, er, joint, and was fine on Sunday. Judging by that, I can expect this Wednesday to be a day when I need to be quite careful with my body, but I *might* be OK on Thursday. Friday would be a bad day for me to run because I'm starting a 30-hour fundraising event at church which is going to be quite demanding enough.

I am hoping this is due to wrong shoes. It may be that I need even longer recovery time between runs and will have to drop down to once a week, but I'll try twice a week for a few more weeks to see what happens.
ewt: (mercury)
[personal profile] ewt
I've just posted about this on my own journal, so won't go into a lot of detail here.

I have some medical challenges and old injuries, and have been told running is not for me, but I'm not certain that's the case. I suspect, rather, that running lots all at once is not a good idea for me, and running marathons is not a good idea for me, and that I will have to take care to avoid injury. But I miss running from fitter days. So I'm experimenting with following a modified Couch-to-5k programme; I need to run twice a week, not three times, and I'm planning on running each session twice rather than once. So I did Week 1 Day 1 this morning, and I'll do it again early next week, and then on Thursday or Friday next week I'll do Week 1 Day 2... if it turns out that I'm wrong, and that running is genuinely bad for me, I will have to stop and think about doing something else instead, but so far I am hopeful.

I thought this morning went well. It was a stunning day with bright sunshine, which always helps, but I went out expecting that I'd probably have to stop after halfway through, and I managed the whole thing, and felt physically really good afterward. If my dodgy hip doesn't complain unduly between now and then, I'll do Week 1 Day 1(b) on Monday morning.

I'm using an Android app called "Simple C25k" which seems to meet my needs. But carrying phone and keys means I will need to find some sort of pocket belt thing with zips. I also seem to have a blister on the instep of my right foot where the orthotic I wear was rubbing in shoes I wore for the past few days; I'll wear different ones for the next few and see if I manage all right on Monday (I got these trainers before I had the orthotics, though I've not worn them much).
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