I received a comment on my blog today asking me to tell my Posterior Tibial Tendonitis recovery story. Other people have found my blog googling the same issue, so I thought I'd post about it since I didn't really say much after I was diagnosed. So, this story is for you, Tammy. If you have any questions that I don't answer here, feel free to ask!
I guess I'll start by explaining when it all started, how I felt, and then what I did to resolve the problem. I had run 3 half marathons in 2009 with virtually no problems, and I decided I would run the LA Marathon in April of 2010. I made a sub-goal to also qualify for the Boston Marathon, so my training time goals and workouts were with this goal in mind. My training was going awesome, actually, and even though I had the Boston goal in mind, I was truly trying to follow my body and didn't feel like I was overexerting myself.
My problems began when I received a new, lighter pair of shoes for Christmas. I had previously been running in Mizuno Waverider 12's but decided to try the Mizuno Elixir 4's because although they were in the same class of shoes on Runner's World, the Elixir's are a lot lighter and have far less support. I never tried them on before buying them and I immediately knew when I received them, that I probably needed more support. I didn't want to wait for new shoes or spend more money, so I used them anyways. This was an idiotic move on my part, but I thought I'd be okay.
I can't blame everything on my new shoes because I was also putting more mileage in, so the culmination of these two factors was probably what lead to injury.
Anyways, I started feeling soreness and mild pain above my ankle, but I just attributed the pain to the toughness of training for a full marathon, so I didn't give it much thought. I stretched a lot and tried to roll out that part of my leg with my Marathon Stick. For awhile, I thought this helped, but the pain still lingered. My mild aching above my ankle turned to debilitating pain within the course of 2 weeks. It didn't really hurt that much when I walked, but when I tried to run, I limped and couldn't even run a mile. I started cross-training with the stepper at the gym, but there came a point where I could barely do this. I probably should have gone to the doctor at the first sign of pain, but I didn't want to be a sissy and was hoping it would get better.
I finally went to see my doctor and the PA on duty took X-Rays. He and the X-ray techs initially thought I had some trauma on my bone and referred me to a podiatrist. When I went to the podiatrist, he pushed my foot around in different directions until I squealed. He was able to diagnosis fairly quickly that I had posterior tibial tendonitis caused by too light of running shoes and over-pronation. I was surprised to hear I overpronated because I had my shoes and run analyzed at my local running store and they thought I was a normal pronator. They were wrong. So, the shoes that hadn't caused me problems in the past, were technically wrong for me.
The podiatrist gave me two options: I could either purchase shoes with more support or get fitted for orthotics. He said about half of his marathoners choose orthotics, and he highly recommended I go that route. I did. It took two weeks for my orthotics to come in, so I went back to using the stepper to cross train, hoping that I could still run my race. I had a lingering chest cold that I came down with a few weeks before Christmas, and I probably should have stopped working out altogether, but I didn't. My chest cold became worse, and I went back to the doctor and found out I had full blown pneumonia. He said running my race was now out of the question, and I just needed to take it easy.
I was really depressed over finally deciding that I had to throw in the towel. But, in the end, taking a rest probably not only helped my lungs recover, but probably helped my tendonitis as well. I was supposed to run the LA Marathon in March, and it's now May. I've been running 15-20 miles for the last month or so, and started training for a new half last week. I feel my orthotics have helped me a ton and I don't feel pain anymore. At first my orthotics felt like a piece of wood in my shoe, but now I barely feel them. I'm not putting the kind of mileage I was before in, so I guess only time will tell. If you're dealing with a posterior tibial tendonitis problem, and I didn't answer a particular question here, feel free to ask. I suppose my recovery story is yet to be concluded. I'm thinking about another full marathon in November, so hopefully my new orthotics will continue to make a difference. Hope that helps!