Last week’s visit to Health-Fit Chiro was a fun experience. While there were not any cool gadgets to take pictures of like when I jumped in the BodPod at SMAC a few months ago. Nope, just some BOSU balls, jump stretch bands, yoga mats, and blocks in their play examination area. I went in to get my left ITB looked at since it has been bothering me all month and they confirmed my suspicions: it’s tight and pulling abnormally. Luckily, this visit has double benefits, I get to do some rehab/PT exercises followed up by some active release technique (ART) massage in my lower back. I have only run once since last week and I got roughly a mile into the run before my ITB flared back up, so I have to figure out a way to keep up my cardio activities while I am sidelined.

The doctor diagnosed me with some hip extension issues that look to be related to external hip rotation, so my left hip only has partial range of motion while in extension rather than flexion, which he told me was pretty strange. I believe it is related to tightness and soreness I am starting to experience in my lower back just above the pelvis. It gets extremely tight and sensitive to touch after a run, whether my hip hurts or not, so I think I have a combination ITB and piriformis problem. Or on the flip side, one injury is definitely causing the other, I just cannot identify which way it’s happening first. It is probably something with my running form that is the cause as I do not have the same pain during TRX or other intense activities. My only run last week was a split of grass/trail and pavement and only after a half mile or so on pavement did my hip start to hurt, so I may no longer be able to run solely barefoot on paved surfaces. I had absolutely no issues on the grassy areas, so we will see what the doctor has to say on my next visit. I am just looking forward to the massage, it makes my back feel so much better and I just have not figured out how to replicate that at home, yet. ART may be a bit painful but it is an absolute delight.

This minor injury is annoying since I have three or four races lined up between now and the end of the year that I may not be able to complete which would totally suck. I am going to try my next run either solely on grass or in my huaraches to see how that affects me. I hate cutting off my runs at 1.5 miles just to limp back to the car and feel fine the next day.

I went out for a short two-mile run on Tuesday and this time, I had a buddy! I am glad to have now gained a running partner, it will make some runs much more fun. This was also my first full barefoot run, meaning I did not run part of the time shod and I ran more than a few hundred feet. During the run itself, I noticed a slight tight pain in my right knee but I felt no pain in my feet themselves, although I did notice a small pulling sensation in my Achilles tendon during the first few hundred feet. It did go away and must have been attributable to overly tight calf muscles despite having been stretched for a few minutes each. Two days later, I feel absolutely no tightness nor pain in my calves or Achilles tendon. Amazingly, my legs also feel great and there’s zero tightness or pain. Rather than stretch immediately after my run, I ended up getting cleaned up and went out for a few hours and ate dinner, all before stretching. Did allowing my muscles to cool down and naturally relax aid in my near zero recovery time? I have no idea, but I would love to know if other readers have experienced the same thing. Do you normally stretch immediately after exercise or wait an hour or more afterward?

So since this was my second barefoot run this week, the soles of my feet were still quite black and discolored so I naturally expected the same effect to occur during this run. While we ran, the tarmac was warm but not hot so I know that attributed to the color transfer but my feet were not as blackened as they were on Sunday. However, due to poor running form, another problem popped up: blisters! I had two smaller ones below my big toe on my left foot whereas I had a larger one below my big toe on my right foot.

My big ol' blister

My big ol' blister

That is the sole of my right foot and the blister, while a little hard to see, is right on the distal edge of the ball of my foot and travels from there up to where my toes bend and the skin folds. Between Tuesday and today, the area was pretty sore and got to be about the size of my thumb from first distal joint to the tip of my thumb. It sure did make walking around a curious endeavor both barefoot and in my flip flops. I was very worried about popping them accidentally so I walked around quite gingerly and it was honestly hilarious looking, it was a mix of walking bow-legged while leaning back on my heels to ease pressure on my forefoot. The last time I had a blister, it took a few weeks to fully heal and go away.

However, this week something strange has happened: the blisters have already disappeared entirely. The affected area is still a little sore but the sub-cutaneous fluid accumulation is gone. This startled me at first because I thought I had accidentally burst all three blisters somehow so when I looked at my foot more closely, or as closely as I am humanly able to do, there are no splits or holes that I can see. It looks like all of them have simply disappeared and the fluid was re-absorbed into my body entirely. I have never seen this happen to my body in all the years I have exercised. Blisters on my hands always took a few weeks to disappear and any on my feet (from poorly or oddly fitting shoes) took at least a week to subside. I am completely unable to explain how they have basically gone away in two days and my feet are nearly 100% healed up. They are still black on the soles but the blisters are gone, aside from a bit of soreness. The only thing I can attribute this to is increased, but controlled, movement and a dietary change. Since I cannot explain this, can any readers actually explain it? I will be looking in one of my medical books about this but I am not sure what they will say either.