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Hope to do Triathlon Again...anyone in this situation?

Posted by Jen I on 9/19/01 at 12:27 (060945)

This is my first post. On Dec. 1st, 2000 I decided to make two changes in my life. To finally lose the extra weight 25-30 pounds I had put on in the last 20 years, and to join the Triathlon team that had started to form at our fitness center. I joined Weight Watchers and the team and off I went. I had always been a runner and a biker. I have been active all my life, but Triathlon was a whole different world. The weight came off, the training was wonderful. I loved it so much and did so well, I went overboard. We raced every other week from May 31 to Sept. 16, finishing up with a half Ironman. To my amazement and amusement I took first place in my age group in each event and was grateful to be in the 40-44 age group! Last winter we started training for a full Ironman for Oct. 21st, 2001. Our mileage was high and we started to do speed work....on a treadmill...the beiginning of the end, but I did not realize. I developed a severe case of PF in my left foot. Went through months of all the traditional stuff...two doctors, orthotics, ultrasound, taping, stretching, icing, heat, iontophoesis, cortisone...you all know the drill.

I had EWST (Ossatron) on Aug. 23rd, so I am coming up on four weeks tomorrow. Only in the last two days have I felt any relief, in fact for the last two weeks it was worse, but I was warned that might happen. I have started to wear the night splint again, and that stretching seems to be helping the process. I have also stopped all activity, which is making me crazy. I understand it may take as long as 12 weeks before I am pain free.

Any Triathletes out there that can give me hope that I will one day be able to participate in the sport again? I still have that Ironman in my dreams, but I am not sure if I am just dreaming and that is all it will ever be. I would be happy to just go for a run again. Sorry for the long post, but I just discovered this site! I did not even know there were different types of Shock Wave Therapies.

By the way...Messa Blue Cross Blue Shield is covering the treatment.

Re: Hope to do Triathlon Again...anyone in this situation?

john h on 9/19/01 at 13:53 (060962)

Jen: i have had 3 ESWT treatments. the effect for me generally did not kick in until about 6-8 weeks after treatment. I was a runner but not in your class. I would run about 30 miles a week and run all the 5k-10k races at a rate of about 7:50 min a mile. My advice to you is to really really cut back on your running or you risk never running again. I ignored my pain for well over a year and continued to run until the pain brought me to my knees. The damage was done and i became chronic and have had bilaterial PF for 8 years. This past month after my 3rd ESWT treatment and every treatment known to mankind including surgery i am able to finally walk a 5k on a regular basis. If i had backed off when this started i think i would still be running 7 days a week. Now is the time to get control. It may take 6 months but i most strongly suggest to you that if you want to continue to run in years to come pay the price now. I have not given up of my dream to once again run a competitive 5 or 10k race. It may not happen but i still pursue that dream. It can be more than a dream for you but you must do what needs to be done now and that is rest those feet for whatever time it takes, talk to a knowledgeable doctor, and read all you can here.

Re: Hope to do Triathlon Again...anyone in this situation?

Jen I on 9/19/01 at 15:32 (060968)

john h. - Thanks for your feed back. I really appreciate the insight. I only had symptoms for two weeks before I went for help. I did run a bit when I started to feel like the foot was better, but I could not walk for two to three days after that. I kept riding and swimming. That did not seem to bother it much. I am still swimming but I quit running and biking since my ESWT in August. I don't plan to run or bike for a while. I am happy to be moving in the water but fear that when I do start running again, it will all start again. I know I will need to start slowly and add on slowly. The doctor that did my treatment said that it may take 12 weeks for the pain to go away. I am expecting to not be running for quite a while. I hear your warning! Thanks again!

Re: Hope to do Triathlon Again...anyone in this situation?

Jack W. on 9/19/01 at 17:14 (060982)

Jen: I feel your pain, kinda. I too am a runner and have been running 37-40 miles consistently for many years. I developed an achilles problem at the insertion point with the heel about 4 years ago. As my condition increasingly got worse I looked for answers and the two are 1) Surgery and 2) ESWT. I opted for ESWT and am approaching 2 weeks post treatment. Still to early to tell results. Have curtailed running since treatment which is torture for me. Two points I would like to make. First, that the ESWT treatment is non-invasive and can only improve your condition not worsten-it. Secondly, if you read the messages throughout this web-site you will get a sense for the pitfalls of surgery and the high sucess rate with ESWT. I guess what I am saying is that the odds are you will be returning to training for the tri very soon. If you had chosen surgery as your treatment the tri would be nothing more than a dream for the distant future. Good luck.

Re: Hope to do Triathlon Again...anyone in this situation?

Pauline on 9/19/01 at 22:04 (061021)

Jen,
I am not a runner, but we did have a triathlete named Rock
who joined the board for a while. I don't know if he still looks in on us but he did overcome his P.F. and is back running again. He too did Ironman. If your out there Rock, Jen could some input.

On a personal note, my nephew's girlfriend is a professional triathlete.
She was selected to trained at Olympic Villege for the 2000 Olympics with hopes of making the team. She too has had P.F. and has come back to run again.

I think your chances look really good for a full recovery. What you need now is time to heal. Take it, because it will yield great rewards.

Wishing you a speedy recovery.

Re: Hope to do Triathlon Again...anyone in this situation?

Jen I on 9/20/01 at 11:35 (061057)

Jack- thanks for this information and the encouragement. I don't think I would ever opt for surgery. I am hoping that this ESWT treatment is going to work. Sounds like many people had to go back for more than one treatment which concerns me financially, My insurance covered it this time, but I am not sure they will cover repeated treatments.

Good luck with your healing. I'll check to see how you are progressing. I actually went this morning and did one of those Hydrofit work-outs in the pool....better than not moving at all, and the women in the group were lots of fun....but it's not running, and it sure isn't riding. I am trying to stay positive and patient...not an easy task for people who are used to the advantages of running.
I am sure you can relate.

Re: Hope to do Triathlon Again...anyone in this situation?

Jen I on 9/20/01 at 11:37 (061058)

Thanks Pauline...I really need to hear stuff like this right about now. Triathlon is addicting and to not be able to move that much is messing with my general outlook. It is good to hear about people who have recovered from PF and gone back out to have a good time again. Take care and thanks again.

Re: Hope to do Triathlon Again...anyone in this situation?

Graham Wilson on 9/20/01 at 12:43 (061068)

I have competed in 4 IM races and have had PF for 2 years now.I like you tried all the treatments available including ESWT. My main problem is that my pain level went down a lot immediately after the procedure - and like a fool I started running too soon. My only advice is take a long time to recover from the procedure and when you are ready only run in a forest on chippings or a very soft treadmill. I am now back to 10 miles a week and looking forward to IM Wisconsin next Sept. Graham

Re: Hope to do Triathlon Again...anyone in this situation?

Jen I on 9/24/01 at 07:26 (061396)

Graham: Thanks for the warning about training too soon. So, how long do you think one should wait after being pain free, before training again? I am just over four weeks since the treatment, and my heel still feels like a train wreck. I would love to hear about your IM experiences and the IM Wisconsin which is one I'd love to do one day. If you would be interested in talking about IM and how you train, I wouldn't mind exchanging e-mails. Jen

Re: Hope to do Triathlon Again...anyone in this situation?

Graham Wilson on 9/24/01 at 08:53 (061401)

Hi Jen: would love to share my experiences re IM etal. So we don't block this group down email me off line at feman@earthlink.net Graham

Re: Hope to do Triathlon Again...anyone in this situation?

john h on 9/19/01 at 13:53 (060962)

Jen: i have had 3 ESWT treatments. the effect for me generally did not kick in until about 6-8 weeks after treatment. I was a runner but not in your class. I would run about 30 miles a week and run all the 5k-10k races at a rate of about 7:50 min a mile. My advice to you is to really really cut back on your running or you risk never running again. I ignored my pain for well over a year and continued to run until the pain brought me to my knees. The damage was done and i became chronic and have had bilaterial PF for 8 years. This past month after my 3rd ESWT treatment and every treatment known to mankind including surgery i am able to finally walk a 5k on a regular basis. If i had backed off when this started i think i would still be running 7 days a week. Now is the time to get control. It may take 6 months but i most strongly suggest to you that if you want to continue to run in years to come pay the price now. I have not given up of my dream to once again run a competitive 5 or 10k race. It may not happen but i still pursue that dream. It can be more than a dream for you but you must do what needs to be done now and that is rest those feet for whatever time it takes, talk to a knowledgeable doctor, and read all you can here.

Re: Hope to do Triathlon Again...anyone in this situation?

Jen I on 9/19/01 at 15:32 (060968)

john h. - Thanks for your feed back. I really appreciate the insight. I only had symptoms for two weeks before I went for help. I did run a bit when I started to feel like the foot was better, but I could not walk for two to three days after that. I kept riding and swimming. That did not seem to bother it much. I am still swimming but I quit running and biking since my ESWT in August. I don't plan to run or bike for a while. I am happy to be moving in the water but fear that when I do start running again, it will all start again. I know I will need to start slowly and add on slowly. The doctor that did my treatment said that it may take 12 weeks for the pain to go away. I am expecting to not be running for quite a while. I hear your warning! Thanks again!

Re: Hope to do Triathlon Again...anyone in this situation?

Jack W. on 9/19/01 at 17:14 (060982)

Jen: I feel your pain, kinda. I too am a runner and have been running 37-40 miles consistently for many years. I developed an achilles problem at the insertion point with the heel about 4 years ago. As my condition increasingly got worse I looked for answers and the two are 1) Surgery and 2) ESWT. I opted for ESWT and am approaching 2 weeks post treatment. Still to early to tell results. Have curtailed running since treatment which is torture for me. Two points I would like to make. First, that the ESWT treatment is non-invasive and can only improve your condition not worsten-it. Secondly, if you read the messages throughout this web-site you will get a sense for the pitfalls of surgery and the high sucess rate with ESWT. I guess what I am saying is that the odds are you will be returning to training for the tri very soon. If you had chosen surgery as your treatment the tri would be nothing more than a dream for the distant future. Good luck.

Re: Hope to do Triathlon Again...anyone in this situation?

Pauline on 9/19/01 at 22:04 (061021)

Jen,
I am not a runner, but we did have a triathlete named Rock
who joined the board for a while. I don't know if he still looks in on us but he did overcome his P.F. and is back running again. He too did Ironman. If your out there Rock, Jen could some input.

On a personal note, my nephew's girlfriend is a professional triathlete.
She was selected to trained at Olympic Villege for the 2000 Olympics with hopes of making the team. She too has had P.F. and has come back to run again.

I think your chances look really good for a full recovery. What you need now is time to heal. Take it, because it will yield great rewards.

Wishing you a speedy recovery.

Re: Hope to do Triathlon Again...anyone in this situation?

Jen I on 9/20/01 at 11:35 (061057)

Jack- thanks for this information and the encouragement. I don't think I would ever opt for surgery. I am hoping that this ESWT treatment is going to work. Sounds like many people had to go back for more than one treatment which concerns me financially, My insurance covered it this time, but I am not sure they will cover repeated treatments.

Good luck with your healing. I'll check to see how you are progressing. I actually went this morning and did one of those Hydrofit work-outs in the pool....better than not moving at all, and the women in the group were lots of fun....but it's not running, and it sure isn't riding. I am trying to stay positive and patient...not an easy task for people who are used to the advantages of running.
I am sure you can relate.

Re: Hope to do Triathlon Again...anyone in this situation?

Jen I on 9/20/01 at 11:37 (061058)

Thanks Pauline...I really need to hear stuff like this right about now. Triathlon is addicting and to not be able to move that much is messing with my general outlook. It is good to hear about people who have recovered from PF and gone back out to have a good time again. Take care and thanks again.

Re: Hope to do Triathlon Again...anyone in this situation?

Graham Wilson on 9/20/01 at 12:43 (061068)

I have competed in 4 IM races and have had PF for 2 years now.I like you tried all the treatments available including ESWT. My main problem is that my pain level went down a lot immediately after the procedure - and like a fool I started running too soon. My only advice is take a long time to recover from the procedure and when you are ready only run in a forest on chippings or a very soft treadmill. I am now back to 10 miles a week and looking forward to IM Wisconsin next Sept. Graham

Re: Hope to do Triathlon Again...anyone in this situation?

Jen I on 9/24/01 at 07:26 (061396)

Graham: Thanks for the warning about training too soon. So, how long do you think one should wait after being pain free, before training again? I am just over four weeks since the treatment, and my heel still feels like a train wreck. I would love to hear about your IM experiences and the IM Wisconsin which is one I'd love to do one day. If you would be interested in talking about IM and how you train, I wouldn't mind exchanging e-mails. Jen

Re: Hope to do Triathlon Again...anyone in this situation?

Graham Wilson on 9/24/01 at 08:53 (061401)

Hi Jen: would love to share my experiences re IM etal. So we don't block this group down email me off line at feman@earthlink.net Graham