I had a chiropractor appointment this morning to address the running-related tightness and on/off injuries that seem to come up whenever I up my training. Both achilles tendons have been sporadically grumbling for the past two or three years, and since then I’ve seen a PT, a podiatrist, had a gait analysis, gotten orthodics, tried to stretch more, and tried to strengthen more. A friend/owner of our local running store recently suggested that I see a chiropractor after looking at the wear pattern of my shoes; he thought an alignment adjustment might be worth looking into.
My dad took me to the chiropractor he had seen a few years ago–not only does this doctor specialize in treating athletes, but he a big runner himself! I explained that nothing is really hurting now, but sometimes I get tight after running and I’ve had some lower leg/ achilles injuries, he had me go through a few movements and asked if/where it hurt. I didn’t really expect anything to hurt, but when I bent down to touch my toes, I had radiating pain from the left side of my butt.
Then he had me try this:
1. Start in a reverse elbow plank.
2. Lift one leg off the ground, then switch.
I tried to lift my right leg first, and I immediately fell out of the plank from a stabbing pain in my left butt. My left side definitely couldn’t the rest of me up. I figured that my right side would be the same way, so I was surprised when I easily lifted my left foot from the ground.
He said that he uses this reverse plank as a “screener,” and a fail (clearly what I did) is a red flag for injury. Yikes!
[Now that I think about it, my left upper hamstring/butt has bothered me a lot over the fast 5 months or so. It hurts at the beginning of every run that follows a hard workout and it hurts when I bend to touch my toes after any run, but I notice it the most when I try to slip off my left sneaker by using my right foot to step on the heel of my left shoe. I guess I just ignored all of this. Have I mentioned I’m stubborn?]
Main takeaway: The upper part of my left hamstring is really weak, so my lower legs (including my achilles) have to work extra hard to make up for what my upper legs aren’t doing. He recommended practicing the reverse plank several times daily with both feet flat on the ground until I’m able to lift each foot individually.
So far I’ve held the reverse elbow plank twice today, for a minute each time. I’m shooting for 5 planks a day, and hopefully I’ll be able to lift my right foot off the ground soon!
Yesterday (Sunday) was a rest day. My legs were a little tight, but I felt reasonably good after such a long run on Saturday. I spent a large chunk of the day in the car; I tagged along with my dad to take little brother Greg back to college! His spring break just ended, but I’m glad that we overlapped for a weekend.
[Check this post if you’re curious about pool running]
There was a large water aerobics class going on in the shallow end (26 people; I had plenty of time to count), so I watched while I panted in place over in the deep end.
I’m off to plow through an AEP lab report. Excel is not one of my strong points, so the two of us had a trying time with data input yesterday morning, and I gave up after finally figuring out how to add error bars to my graphs. ..