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Some Aches and Pains - My Visit to the ThedaCare Orthopedics Plus Free Injury Clinic

Posted Jul 26 2011 12:00am
It’s been an interesting day for me. I got out of bed very late this morning for my run but still did it. I just can’t afford to miss any training runs from this point on. As my luck has been recently with the weather, specifically with rain, I am worried that rain/storms may impact some of those future sessions just like it did last weekend. So no, my Sweet 16 miler has not happened yet due to the storms coming through. Even on Sunday morning there were storms in the area where I couldn’t get out even for a short run. So I’ll be pushing the 16 miler to this weekend and hope I can get it in on Sunday. But back to today, I did get out the door and what a beautiful morning it was. I ran a modified “NY” route and actually went into a new neighborhood briefly. I think I have found now the golden street that will link my neighborhood to other nearby major neighborhoods so I can do longer runs and still be in the general area of my home. I’m very excited about this and will go a little deeper into this connection this week. Overall a pretty good run this morning.

Having said that, the only thing that was bad about this morning’s run was my reoccurring pain in my right hamstring. I have not mentioned this pain or a couple of other issues over the last several weeks because I did not want to dwell on them. I thought they would work themselves out and that would be that. But there have been some pains or things going on that I now mention because I came to a point today where I finally felt like I needed to at least have them checked out. So that is exactly what I did, at lunch today I went to the free ThedaCare Orthopedics Plus Injury clinic for runners and walkers. The clinic is open for anyone registered for any of the Fox Cities festival of races. I didn’t feel like I needed or even wanted to go to my family doctor for such runner’s aches and pains. So since this is a free clinic and it is a part of me being in the marathon I thought I would try it first. I’m so glad I did.
I felt a little funny going to this runner’s clinic because I didn’t know 1) what to expect and 2) if I really had an injury. I didn’t want to take a trainer or doctor away from someone that really needed attention. But I convinced myself to go and I got there a little before noon (the free clinics are between noon and 1pm every Tuesday) and signed in to see someone. I was really surprised just how friendly and how excited they were to see runners coming in for the clinic. Very friendly people helped me sign in, sign a waiver and a release form. A few minutes later I was now waiting for my name to be called. I looked around and could see just a handful of people waiting of various reasons. I knew two others were runners as well waiting like me and I immediately identified another runner who was wearing running gear. But I couldn’t figure out who else was there for the clinic. Only after a few minutes they started calling our names for those there for the clinic. To my surprise the other runner was an older woman who was wearing an immobility boot. I guess you cannot judge a book by their cover as she stated to the trainer that she was running the full marathon in September. I wish her a speedy recovery and hope she makes it come September.
A trainer called my name and welcomed me to the clinic. The first question he asked was which race I was doing. After I said the full marathon I think that at least got him into the mindset of what kind of training and mileage I have been doing. After being directed to an exam room I began to list off the coupe of issues of concern in recent weeks. What are those? The major one for me was trying to figure out why my right knee went numb a week or so ago. It worried me that if I start pushing the longer distances that my knees will not take the additional strain and stress. The numbness has not returned since then but I have not done a long run since then as well. The trainer worked with me to understand my general process for a run. That being do I stretch? How do I warm up? How far do I go? Do I stretch after the run? Prior knee issues, etc… We worked through a lot of questions and history but could not come up with a reason for the numbness. It might be my fault for waiting so very long to go in but maybe it was a quirky thing where I did something like pinched a nerve to bring about the numbness. In any case that issue is still a mystery but at least it does not appear to be anything major.
The second issue is the primary reason I went in today. For weeks now I have had a persistent pain and tenderness in my right hamstring. It doesn’t hurt while I am running but it is very tender and painful after the run and well into the day. Even on off days the tenderness is there. Again the trainer spent a good amount of time with me checking the area, testing my leg strength and asking questions. After all of this it seems like I have a strained hamstring. It does stem from me being really tight and not overly flexible. I know that I should stretch more or even stretch at all. But I am fearful that every time that I do stretch I seem to injure myself. So as I have stated in past blogs I really do nothing from a stretching perspective. It looks like that finally has caught up with me. The trainer suggested some stretches for both before and after the run. He also advised to ice the area after my runs. The hope is by doing so in a few weeks the tenderness and pain will be gone. I have to laugh though that anytime that you go to the doctor with a pain that it is worse after the exam. With the trainer, and in fairness any doctor doing the same thing, my hamstring is so sore at the moment. But I am happy to at least know what may be causing it and now how to treat it.
The last item I actually threw out to him on the way out of the exam room. He had me come back and spent an equally amount of time on this issue as well. I was very surprised by this but shows the concern and professionalism of the trainer who wanted to understand what the issue is and to try and determine how to address it. The last issue was, and I know this may sound silly, my right foot feels like it is rolling to the outside when I walk or run. I have felt that I have been both walking on and running on the outside of my foot for almost two months now. So it has been really weird to have the foot feel that way, with the pressure on the first three toes and outside edge. The trainer looked at my arches and how I stood. The right arch was higher but that was being caused by the body and not truly being a high arch. He had me do some knee bends to see where any pain was. What I felt was that it was in my right knee and lower calf/ankle area. It turns out that my ankles are so tight that it is causing my right foot to position itself that way. I was told which ankle stretches to do to help with the situation. Weird isn’t it? That is something like your ankle tightening up will cause my foot to turn like it is. Really glad to figure this out. I was becoming concerned that something bad was happening.
So I left the ThedaCare clinic with a couple of answers to my pains and issues. If things do not improve I was told that I can certainly come back on a Tuesday for additional evaluation and discussion of these or any other running injury. I am really glad that I took the time to take advantage of the free clinic offered with registration of the marathon. I would highly recommend that anyone running in the Fox Cities Festival of Races that has an injury or issue to take advantage of the free clinic. What a great service and benefit for being associated with any of the races. Thanks ThedaCare for offering this.
Here is more information from the Fox Cities Race website on the ThedaCare Clinic:
As the Finish Line Medical Provider for the Fox Cities Marathon, as well as the Half Marathon sponsor, ThedaCare Orthopedics Plus is proud to offer a Free Injury Clinic every Tuesday until the Fox Cities Marathon, noon – 1 p.m. The free injury clinic is open to all participants in the Community First Fox Cities Marathon races (including full marathon, half marathon or 5K). ThedaCare Orthopedics Plus’ sports medicine team of licensed athletic trainers, physical therapists or sports medicine physicians will be available to assess injuries and provide recommendations to help you continue or return to running safely. No appointment needed. Visit ThedaCare Orthopedics Plus, Appleton Medical Center, 820 E. Grant Street, Appleton, Tuesdays, noon – 1 p.m. For directions, see: 
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