Friday, November 21, 2014

Diagnosis: Stress Fracture

Last Friday while I was running around North Park I felt something very weird in my right foot. I thought I stepped funny. Joe and I went out later that night to do some Christmas shopping and the pain got worse. I came home, wrapped my foot and relaxed the rest of the evening.

Not my foot, but yes, right there!

The next day, we went back out to finish our shopping and I felt pretty good. We went outlet shopping so there was tons of walking around. About half way through shopping, I was pretty much dragging my foot around. Something wasn’t right. I thought maybe it could be loosened a little by doing an easy mile on the treadmill. Needless to say, it didn’t.

I skipped my long run on Sunday and just sat on the couch. I could feel pain in my foot without even moving. The pain was pretty centrally located on the outside of my right foot. There was some bruising, not a lot of swelling, but the pain was pretty bad.

After staying off of it for an entire day, I went to work and took it very easy. I am up and down a lot at my job, so when the pain showed up, I decided to lay low for the rest of the day. Feeling pretty good by the time I came home, I decided to hit the treadmill for my scheduled four mile run. First three miles were pretty smooth, the last mile was a struggle.

Tuesday, while I was at work, I was sitting at my desk and the pain in my foot was growing. I was near tears. I texted Joe and told him I was starting to freak out. I have been injured before, but I never felt anything like this. While I was looking for different stretches and tips for helping the pain Chelsea chimed in and told me to go see her doctor.

I thought about it my whole drive home and decided I would go to the doctor. To my surprise, they could get me in the next morning. Alright, here goes nothing.

As soon as I get to the office, I am sent for x-rays. Everyone is super nice and very understanding that I am a runner and we don’t go to the doctor unless it really hurts. I did get asked a lot if I was a dancer, I didn't think much of it. After my x-ray I sit in the room for over 20 minutes by myself. Thank you twitter for taking my mind off of things!

The doctor came in and got straight down to it. He showed me my x-ray and I have no idea what I am looking at. He told me he was going to do something to my foot that would hurt real bad. He ran his knuckles down the outside of my foot, and I screamed. He then said I’m going to a whole bunch of things that won’t hurt at all, and he was correct. Then he just came out and said it.

Steff, you have a fifth metatarsal stress fracture. You are going in a boot for two weeks.

I put my head in my hands and just cried. I didn’t think it was that bad. He then said a whole bunch of stuff, but the only words I could process through my tears were stress fracture, boot and two weeks. I told him I have a marathon in 10 weeks and he told me he wouldn’t rule it out until I get an MRI done in two weeks.

Stress fractures are very common in distance runners, mainly in the second and third metatarsal. The fifth metatarsal is the bone that connects to your pinky toe. A fifth metatarsal stress fracture is actually very common in dancers. Now makes sense why everyone was asking me if I was a dancer.

No swimming, no biking, no trying to be active. He told me it will hurt before it starts getting better, but since I came in so quick, there is a pretty good shot that it will heal in the two weeks needed.

As soon as I “walked” out of the appointment I called Joe and told him, then I texted Chelsea to let her know. I shared the news and the outpouring of love from everyone was amazing. It meant so much to me to have all of you guys take the time to wish me well. I talked to Sarah, who is just coming off a pretty rough stress fracture, and Toni who is in a boot right now as well. Talking to these ladies made me feel so much better.

I know, so fly!

So, my MRI is scheduled for December 4th, with my follow up appointment on the 9th. I can only take the boot off to drive and shower, I even have to sleep in it. Getting adjusted to the boot has already been a struggle, but I am trying my best.

The only positive that may have come out of it, on my diagnosis sheet the doctor wrote that I was an elite runner! No lie!

SEE!!!! Best doctor ever!

I keep getting asked if I am alright mentally. To be honest, I am. I hurt really bad. If I didn’t hurt this bad, I would be upset. I have come to grips that I may not be able to run NOLA, but if I am able to I will not be doing it for time. I’m going to take all the Jell-O shots, food and beads along the way.

For now, I am Steff, the injured runner.

I'm making the best of it!

Have you ever suffered from a stress fracture? How did you deal with the news?


  1. Oh no! Sorry to hear this, but it sounds like there are a lot of positives: only 2 weeks in the boot & your marathon is still a possibility. Hope it heals quickly & the pain subsides soon.

  2. I am sorry! That boot sounds like a total PITA. Sending you good thoughts and vibes for a speedy recovery.

  3. GAH! Just sucks, Steff. I'm so glad that you took the initiative to get it checked out pretty quickly; some folks wait, and their recovery time ends up being really extended. Take care and find something you love to keep you busy/sane for the next couple of weeks; you can get through this!

  4. So sorry Steff! I hope it heals quickly and you are back training soon! I'll be running the half in NOLA! It's such a fun race! I've done the full too and it's a great course! :-)

  5. I've never even read your blog before but I saw it on the Sweat Pink group and just wanted to give you a virtual hug. I had a stress reaction in my heel (calcaneous/cuboid) back in May. I had to take 7 weeks off running (apparently I was high risk bc it was cuboid, so my doc didn't want to take any chances). It's tough, but 6 months later, I have PRed a half marathon and a 5K this month, and am about to run my highest mileage distance in a week, this week. You can and will make a strong comeback- just follow the doc's orders *hugs*.

    Oh, and an alcoholic milkshake was how I dealt with the news. It was within walking/hobbling distance of my doc. Maybe that's why they put that dessert bar there...

  6. We truly are sisters now because I had the exact same stress fracture. 5th met. Right foot. My best advice is to follow all the doctors orders. Trust in your recovery and try not to stress. Ask about doing the elliptical with your boot on, my ortho let me do that to stay in shape. It was hard but at least I was moving. Did he tell you to take calcium plus vitamin d?

  7. Sucks that had to happen. I only had to deal with a stress fracture once and it was in my toe. I got it a week outside of the marathon last year and went against the doctors order and still ran. I was in severe pain and ended up having to rest longer after the race. Listen to the doctor and enjoy your time off.

  8. Steffany Smith RubelNovember 23, 2014 at 8:00 AM

    Wow, in the toe! That had to be real awful!

  9. Steffany Smith RubelNovember 23, 2014 at 8:02 AM

    MY SISTER!! He told me we are going to be real aggressive with the recovery so that is why I am so restrictive. He didn't tell me about taking anything, but I'm sure it wouldn't hurt!

  10. Steffany Smith RubelNovember 23, 2014 at 8:03 AM

    Thank you so much Amy. That milkshake sounds amazing!

  11. Steffany Smith RubelNovember 23, 2014 at 8:04 AM

    Thank you Mindy!! I hope to get to meet you there!!

  12. Steffany Smith RubelNovember 23, 2014 at 8:04 AM

    Thank you Tara! I got a book, started getting some blog posts ready and finished my Christmas shopping! Yes, it hasn't even been a week!

  13. Steffany Smith RubelNovember 23, 2014 at 8:06 AM

    Thank you Marilyn! I'm getting used to it and hope its working!

  14. Steffany Smith RubelNovember 23, 2014 at 8:06 AM

    Thanks Jenn! Fingers crossed for sure!

  15. :-( I'm so sorry! Luckily, you caught it really early and hopefully will be back on track ASAP!
    Fingers crossed for you!

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  18. I'm not a runner, but I think I'm going thru the same thing you are, pain-wise. I did a lot of walking this past weekend and had some new shoes. I have that pain right there where you circled and when my husband tried to rub it, I yelled, and cried. I can't afford a doctor, much less a boot. I'm on my feet a lot at work, and at home. I don't know when I'll be able to rest my feet. I hope you are doing better, since it's been a couple of years. I would love to have an update of possible. Best wishes, Anna.

  19. Wow, in the toe! That had to be real awful!