30 Bananas a Day!

Seeking advice-Exercise-Running injury-joint pain-Orthotics?

Hey all!

I am at a loss and would absolutely love your input here.  As much advice as I can get.  

To start- I've been HCLF vegan for about 3 years-ish. I love running and about 14 months ago, I was at my running peek...running a mild-moderate amount...around 3-7 miles per day.  I wound up with a stress fracture in my foot.  Once I recovered...I went back to running (as it's my favorite form of exercise).  Within a month or so I wound up with pain in the opposite foot.  Long story short, this led to tendon pain up and down both ankles and foot pain that felt like another stress fracture. Took LOTS of time off. Every single time I've tried to start running again, I wind up with another injury.  

During my time off, something happened where my bones under by toes began to hurt so bad I could hardly walk on them. It hurt to walk from my house to my car. Anywhere.  I'm only 28 years old and this should not be happening!

My feet, ankles, and knees hurt badly with every impact when trying to jog...sometimes even with walking. To the point I can't do it.  I've tried walking for exercise and the same thing happens.  Knees hurt to walk up and down steps.  I finally resorted to a podiatrist and he made me some custom made (Vegan) orthotics. He says I have poor foot structure and that I should feel better after wear these orthotics. I've been wearing them a few weeks now...I'd say around 6 weeks. and my toe/foot pain went away with everyday walking but when I tried running/jogging for exercise again, low and behold---my knees and ankles were in horrible pain. Not only while attempting to jog but even afterward...for weeks.  When I take the orthotics out, the pain worsens and everything hurts EVEN WORSE.  

I'm at a loss. It's been 14 months of hell trying to problem solve and discover what to do.  I've been to see several specialists. Tried icing, tried time off, tried walking, tried aqua jogging. You name it.  Mainly, my concern is that I LOVE RUNNING and I feel I may never run again. I'm a cardio junkie. I've lost so much muscle and just become squishy since not being able to run and just feel like I'm losing my mind. 

So questions:  any advice on where to go with this?  I know you fruit bats have different views on orthotics and I'm open to both sides. I just want to be active again. I broke down in tears today when trying to jog for the first time since letting pain go away while wearing my orthotics. Everything just feels weak and painful. My feet, ankles, and knees hurt with every step on impact.  

Another Question: Any other good cardio I could do? I've tried elliptical (hurts my knees). running, jogging, walking, etc.  HURT.  If I correct one thing, something else starts.  I just don't know what the heck is going on and have kept to myself about it for a year now.  Time to seek your advice. I tried cycling on spin bike...which is fine while I'm sitting down with zero resistance. but the second I stand up and get more vigorous, my knees/feet/ankles start up just as they do when running.  Takes weeks to even become comfortable during daily life again after I exercise. 

Anything??? I'm READY TO GET MY LYMPH PUMPING and be able to workout again. I want my body back, my mental clarity, and my health.

Thanks guys and sorry this is sooo lengthy.  

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Hi I have had similar issues after a snow boarding injury and had to have a 1.5 years off cardio.  Finally made things work with strength training  ( building muscle) and a spin bike.  I'd suggest building strength, upper and lower body and stick with gentle cardio/ spinning etc and slowly amping it. Strength training/ yoga/ and bike have been my recovery formula in my experience.

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Thank you for this suggestion! I've always wanted to enjoy strength building but have never really enjoyed it enough to get into it.  Perhaps this is my window of opportunity to learn to enjoy it and reap the benefits. Strength training should help with joint issues too, correct? I mean if you build the muscles surrounding those joints.  I'm sorry to hear you've been going through a similar situation.  Are you finding your recovery formula is helping to get you back to where you want to be in terms of being more able to return to your previous activities? Thank you again for your response...it is much appreciated. 

Hi Courtney,  After 1.5 years I recovered my ankle injury and started jogging again but over did it. Too much too soon and now my knee on opposite leg has given way. Decided to focus purely on strength for a few months and now slowly getting back into low impact bike only cardio.

My knee if definitely making good progress and I have little runs on it and feel its healing.  I am going to do purely bike and strength training till I get 100% recovery but feel like I am making good progress for now. All physio doctors emphasized for me was strength building for rehab, I am finding it worked for my situation.  Hope you can find a way to improve your situation :)

In the introduction to 'Fasting and Eating For Health', Joel Fuhrman M.D. tells his own story of recovery after a bad ankle injury.  He was an Olympic hopeful and after his injury he had the top specialists trying to get him back on track but he was unable to walk for a year. At that point he decided to try a long supervised water fast and it worked and his ankle healed 100% from water fasting.  It's a great book.

A tool that may help you recover is a tens machine, we have this type and it works for my family really well for muscle aches and pains: https://www.walgreens.com/store/c/walgreens-electrotherapy-unit/ID=...

An interesting video on why getting blood flow to the area is so important here: http://www.30bananasaday.com/video/video/search?q=ice+not+so+nice

Hope this helps! :)

Thank you so much, ednshell! I will look into this. I am 6 months pregnant at the moment so I will have to wait before I am able to fast but I will definitely read up on this in the mean time.  I was thinking back and remember the doctor putting me in a boot for my original stress fracture and began to wonder...did this perhaps throw something out of alignment? As my legs were uneven during that time since the boot had a "heel" on it. Considering maybe going to see a chiropractor but I've never really been big on that idea...I feel I am grasping at straws at this point. 

I really appreciate the resources and will look at them now!

You are welcome!  I think you are right to assess the boot on your own. Too many times I have given more trust to the doctors than my own judgment and regretted it every time. I have read about casts being put on perfectly healthy limbs on cats and dogs and after they were taken off there was permanent damage to the nerves.  I do not think casts are ever a good idea.  My son had one on his leg and says that leg has never been the same since.  And the fracture was a hairline and clean.  A friend had a broken ankle and got a cast and his ankle healed crooked.  

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