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Foot Pain – GONE! - How To Push Yourself Harder in Exercise | Crank101

Foot Pain – GONE!

There’s something magical about recovering from an injury, especially one that has plagued me for over four months now.

Sharp pain in my right foot like I just stepped on a 220V electric line that buckles my knee quickly so I can take the pressure off it. That’s what I was facing even up to last week.

Arrow marks the spot where intense pain limited my running for months.

An x-ray showed no breaks as far as I or the doc could see. I should have gone for an MRI but I have a different approach to healing. I guess because it has always worked before. I just wait it out. I mean, I still work out as much as I can, running, biking, swimming, climbing stairs, whatever it is that I can possibly do without too much pain, but basically I go into a low-intensity mode until it heals up and I’m 100%.

Problem is, I’ve never dealt with an injury like this before. Prior to this, it has been all muscles and ligament injuries. Rolled ankle, overstretched calf on a run down the hill where I extended WAY too much… things like this. Besides cracking my sternum in an over handlebars crash on my first Cannondale in Central Park, NYC in 1988, I haven’t broken a bone.

If that’s what this foot thing was. I can’t really figure it out. I don’t trust Thai doctors to tie my shoe, so besides getting two x-rays of my foot, I didn’t go for the MRI. They’d have me in a solid cast for 6 months, muscles and bone and everything else atrophying all the while.

No thanks.

So this was either a stress fracture from running fast down 4,300 concrete steps spaced widely apart at Langkawi Island in Malaysia – twice, less than 10 hours apart in time, and then hammering my local mountain up and down a few times in record time.

Or, this was a nerve, aggravated by all that extreme nonsense.

I’m leaning toward a nerve or a tendon or muscle tear.

I’ve never dealt with nerve injuries. I don’t ever want to deal with it again. When I say the pain buckled my knees, I mean, I damn near fell to the floor at times. And I’m not talking about WHILE I WAS RUNNING. This was always after a run, a climb, and I was just standing in my house, barefoot on the hard tile and shifted my weight on the foot and BAM! Like electro-shock therapy.

It would do that a couple of times a day for the first few months. Talk about debilitating!?

The thing was – I could climb 1,250 stairs up a mountainside in Krabi and come down slowly – and have no pain at all during that. I even figured, try the trail and see what happened.

The first time I tried the trail (a mountain climb to 500m (1,500+ feet) elevation) after about 10-15 minutes my foot throbbed and threatened to shoot electricity through my foot. I stopped. I waited five minutes. Talked to myself. I figured, F-it, I’m going to walk up to the top of the mountain and down whether it hurts like mad, or not. I started walking (climbing the steep path). It hurt, it hurt, it hurt less, then, holy hell… it hurt not at all. Within 10 minutes there was absolutely no pain and I was able to get up and down (8 km – 4.8 miles) without any more pain at all.

Once home I was standing in the kitchen and had the insane pain for a second. I hobbled around and babied it, and it was fine to climb the steps in three days from that point. Then I climbed the mountain four days ago with absolutely no pain. Two days ago I climbed the steps with no pain.

Tomorrow I’ll climb the mountain again and make sure there is no pain before I start to run faster up it and see if it can take it.

The other day running slowly up the mountain trail I felt SO ALIVE. So amazing. I mean, it’s my favorite run ever – running under the jungle canopy with gibbons screaming, cicadas screaming, birds chirping, flying lizards jumping off trees in front of me, lizards scurrying around in the dry leaves… and sweating like a fiend.

I realized, man, if I could just do this the rest of my life, I’d be such a happy man.

There’s something so magical about coming back from a long-term injury and feeling alive again. 


2 thoughts on “Foot Pain – GONE!

  • at 9:02 pm

    I’m so glad to hear that you were able to fix your foot pain! It’s interesting that your x-ray didn’t show any fractures. Just like you, I’ve had a foot injury that has been plaguing me for the last six months or so. What do you think it is? It’s been miserable feeling like I can’t walk, ride my bike, etc. I’m going to follow your tip about finally seeking help.

    • at 1:20 pm

      What did I finally do? I just kept climbing stairs, I started again climbing the mountain trail – just walking as fast as I could. If my foot hurt, I didn’t go. If it didn’t, I’d go. Occasionally I gave it 2-3 days rest just to break it up a bit. Today I’m almost pain-free. I can’t say I’d feel comfortable pushing 100% up the mountain yet, but I’m going to ramp it up slowly and see what happens. I really want to do a 50km trail race this year. We’ll see what happens.


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