First, no running. Really. None. The MRI revealed some serious tendinitis in the Achilles. My primary care physician prescribed rest and anti-inflammatories.
Second, my primary care physician's prescription did absolutely nothing. The pain persisted with zero improvement after a month.
Third, I started talking with my endurance buddies about alternative treatments. On the recommendation of several athletes, I ventured to a pain and sports medicine specialist who practices prolotherapy. Never heard of prolotherapy? Me either. Here's the skinny:
In prolotherapy, a syringe is used to inject a liquid—often containing sugar but which can include a variety of other substances—into the painful area. The idea is, paradoxically, to create a minor injury to stimulate a healing response. Some doctors scoff at prolotherapy and many insurers won't cover it. But the procedure is being performed by a growing number of physicians, and has even gained adherents at institutions such as the Mayo Clinic and Harvard Medical School.
I've had two treatments over the past 3 weeks. And it works. Maybe it's a placebo effect, but I finally have relief. I was able to jog 3 pain-free miles last weekend. (I hate the word, "jog." But I can't really describe my slow-as-molasses shuffle as anything more than that. Certainly not "running.") It's going to be a slow climb back to where I was, but it was joyous just to be able to move again.
Fourth, "soft in the middle" does not begin to describe how I've felt the past couple of months without running. Sure, I've lifted weights and put in my time on the stationary bike, but it's not the same.
Fifth, not running makes me a bit irritable.
Sixth, Annie is a happy, smiling, six-month old joy. Seriously. Look at her.