So as many of you know I made a decision almost 1 year ago now to lead a healthier lifestyle. Part of that was starting this blog! I decided to start the 21 Day Fix and saw great results. I then continued onto multiple rounds of 21 Day Fix and then 3 rounds of Hammer and Chisel. I decided I wanted to start 21 Day Fix extreme right before my beach vacation so I could have the best bikini body possible :-). Things were going great until that dreaded morning in early June: I was in the middle of the program and doing single leg squat jumps. When I landed on my right leg I felt an immediate pain in my right lower leg and was unable to put my full weight on it for the remaining of the program. I continued through the program, altering the right leg exercises. I remember telling my husband, “I think I landed wrong on my leg…it feels like my leg is going to collapse when I stand on it.” I went through the rest of the morning and the pain subsided to where it was only a dull ache. I was grateful that it was better.
Leg Pain Waking Me Up at Night?
I really didn’t think about it much until I was awakened while sleeping at night by right anterior (front) leg pain. I thought it was shin splints, but I couldn’t find a tender area. I got up from the bed and tried everything night after night. I would stretch my calf, roll my tibialis anterior muscle on a foam roller, ice cup massage the area, and walk around. I was beginning to worry that I had cancer or a stress fracture. We are taught in Physical Therapy school that pain that awakens one at night is a red flag for cancer! But I was getting ready to go on a beach vacation, so I tried to convince myself it was a bad case of shin splints. I used Kinesiotape and taped my leg for shin splints while at the beach and kept doing the 21 Day Fix extreme videos. (I know..I am the worst patient).
Leg Injury – Time to See the Doctor
The pain continued to awake me at night and I became more worried and took it more seriously. This takes us to the middle of July. I decided to ice my leg 3 times per day, stretch my calf and plantar fascia 2 times daily, use kinesiotape, and back down my exercise regimen. I limited my exercises to arms, yoga, and pilates. When I returned from a 2 week trip I decided I needed to see the orthopedic doctor. Luckily the orthopedic clinic near me has walk in hours and I was able to be seen quickly.
The x-ray was negative. I was relieved because there was no evident stress fracture or cancerous lesion. But wait, I have had this pain for 2 months and for 1 month I have been “resting.” Nevertheless the orthopod diagnosed me with shin splints, gave me a prescription for ibuprofen, and told me to rest. Yes…more rest! I am going crazy not able to exercise, but he did say to try the stationary bike for cardio. I was scheduled to follow back up after 4 weeks.
Typical Leg Injury Rehab
So, four more weeks of icing, pilates, yoga, and riding the stationary bike. Finally the pain stopped waking me up at night. But, I had a constant ache (not pain) in the anterior portion of my lower leg. When I rode the bike and walked a lot at work it was more intense. I continued to picture myself walking and my leg collapsing because of a stress fracture that progressed. (Just think of the French gymnast who landed on his leg and it snapped, and the NCAA tournament where the player was running down the court and it broke.) So I couldn’t decide if I wanted to follow-up with MD. My pain was better and it wasn’t waking my up anymore. Also, I HATE going to the doctor…so I asked a Nurse Practioner I work with if I should request a MRI. She said absolutely. She also scared me a bit more and said that there could be some small cancer cells that wouldn’t show on the x-ray. Great! Now I’m worried again.
If You Have Constant Leg Pain – Check for Cancer
My next appointment went similar to the first. They took another x-ray and it was negative. The doctor kept saying that stress fractures only happen in long distance runners and it would show on the x-ray. But, he agreed to a MRI. He said if the MRI came back negative he would give me a steroid. Since that appointment I have started Piyo by BeachBody. It is another BeachBody program that is low impact and similar to yoga and pilates. I was really diappointed this weekend when I passed the soccer ball with my daughter for 10 minutes. Later that day I had a more intense ache and had to take the ibuprofen again. 🙁
So that’s where I am now. It has been a week since my appointment, and I have called twice to see when they are going to schedule the MRI. (They had to check with insurance first.) I finally got in touch with someone and they are “going to call me back tomorrow morning after scheduling it at the office.” So, I’m still waiting (almost 3 months since the start) to figure out what’s going on with my leg. I am really anxious to get it figured out and return to my intense program. Check back soon for my results.
The MRI results are in and it is just a major case of shin splints. The doctor said that it is the worst case he has ever seen. I am so relieved it is not cancer, but I will have to continue to take it easy for a while so that my leg can heal. I am so relieved that I don’t have leg cancer and it is just a simple sports injury.
Leg Pain? Get it Checked Out
I think if this whole process has taught me anything it is to listen to your body and see a doctor if things don’t seem right. Had I visited the doctor back in early June, I probably could have cut weeks or months off of my recover time!