The foot bones connected to the…ankle bone

Yesterday afternoon, I noticed my lower back hurting.  I have never had lower back problems so I wasnt sure what to make of it.  It hurt to touch, hurt to walk, to lay.  Everything.  I ran through it yesterday and woke up to it hurting again.  “Can’t I catch a break?” I thought, in reference to the last klutzy injury I had.  I did my first hour running and was almost debilitated when I got home.  I tried the foam roller, hoping my whole back was tight.  No luck.

Then I thought…could it be my shoes?  This was a long shot.
I had heard other people say that back pain was how they knew they needed new shoes, but that had never been the case with me.  My telltale sign is pain in my little bow-legged knees!!  It couldnt hurt though–so I switched shoes for my second run.  While on the treadmill, it hit me.

Please remember, in addition to being an all-around awesome person, I am also a massage therapist. That means I took a lot of anatomy classes.  I can most likely tell you exactly what muscle is causing you pain, and why.  Apparently that only works on other people though, not self-diagnosis.

You see, every since I dropped that bottle on my ankle, I had been compensating when running, and I could feel it in my right hip.  Specifically, where my quad attaches.  I felt it and had been rolling it.  Guess which side of my lower back hurts?  YEP!  I feel victorious now that I know I 1) Didn’t randomly herniate a disk in my sleep 2) Am not actually injured!

To celebrate, I made beef stew for dinner, and it was amazing.

Anticipating a week getting back into the swing of things, runningwise.  I have 47 miles on tap, and I am looking forward to every single one.

And to hopefully making a trip to Nordstrom to try on some Tom’s shoes–the only thing I requested for my birthday!  I love the idea–you buy a pair, they give a pair to a child in need.  And, to make it better, I actually like the shoes!

Oh, PW just got home from running a TT in New Hampshire–I’ve hardly seen him this weekend, so I am going to spend some quality time with him!


11 responses

  1. Hi Courtney,

    You nailed it! There are very few patients I treat where the hip isn’t involved in some way. Now that you’re “local”, let me know if you need anything. Keep on running! Neil

  2. I’m having pain (a huge knot, to be exact) on the muscle inside of my lower left leg behind/under the bone (tibia/fibula). I have no idea why but i did just start running/training again this past week. I”m thinking it’s either the shoes or the fact that I’m consciously trying to run more forward on my feet rather than heel-strike. Any suggestions or thoughts?

    • Rae,

      That’s most likely your Tibialis posterior muscle. That muscle becoming knot-like is exactly where shin splints originate. The shin splints on that part of the leg are actually more common than on the front of the shin. Self massage tools are fantastic, such as the triggerpoint tools (, but a skilled massage therapist (Courtney) can be invaluable when you are starting to train and change form. Take it slow….

  3. If you just started running again, and changed form, then you have 2 reasons why you would be having pain. Not treating you or seeing specifically what is wrong makes it impossible to know exactly what is happening, but I can make a few safe suggestions. I would try and massage those knots out and recovery until you aren’t having any pain. If there are activities and exercise that you like, and don’t cause any pain, then those should suffice for now. It would be a great time to get some new running shoes. As you start to get back into running, try to do so at a slow and steady pace that is extremely comfortable. Most people want to “run before they learn to walk,” but it’s important to start slow, especially with changing form. Also, remember, that when you are trying to run more forward on your feet, that forward “bend” comes from the ankles and not the waist. As you bend at the waist, you engage your hamstrings and deeper calf muscles, which then become overstressed. Additionally, landing on the forefoot requires both mobility in the ankle joint and eccentric calf strength. So you should begin to do the eccentric calf work Courtney suggested to prepare for the change in form and hopefully your ankles are mobile enough. This is something available from my website that may help:

    Good luck! Neil

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