I said I would write about the three “P”s that my PCP wanted me to see for the shin splints… Orthopoedist (was supposed to be Podiatry…), Physiatry and Physical Therapy. Turned out to be an interesting triumverate. The overall upshot of all three was that the chiropractic stuff I had done (Graston, ultrasound, electrical something or other, and massage) were all appropriate and what these other docs would have included in their treatment plan. That was good news since I had been feeling like I had maybe wasted several months (and several $$) on something that would turn out to have been useless. They also all agreed that while all of those treatments were good for mitigating the severe symptoms, it would never have gotten me to a point where I could run without just re-aggravating the injury.
The Orthopoedist was the most straightforward, succinct doctor I have ever seen. He listened to my story, watched me walk around a bit, and then asked if I could touch my forearm with my thumb. I did and he asked me, “Do you have any idea why I asked you that?” I didn’t. Turns out if you can touch your thumb to your forearm it is a sign that you have loose ligaments & joints. I didn’t know that it was something that not everyone could do :) So, he says, of course I have shin splints, I need orthotics, he can give me some OTC ones that, if they work, I can order directly when I need more. If the OTC ones don’t work then I’ll need custom ones but those cost $200 – $400 and insurance won’t cover them so he recommends I try the OTC ones first. Didn’t want to see me for a follow up, done and done.
The Physiatrist said basically everything the Orthopoedist said though with more personality and more explanation. He did want to follow up in 4 weeks and mentioned an experimental treatment that could be tried if orthotics & PT didn’t work – something about making my blood protein rich and then injecting it back into my shins to spur healing. Um – no.
The Physical Therapist was the most practical of the three and gave me the best explanations of anyone about what was happening in my body to cause the shin splints and what kinds of exercises and other things should be best (in addition to the orthotics!) to keep it in check. I went to see him 4 times total and now am just doing the exercises at home and keeping an eye on things.
All three agreed also that my sneakers are good — also a relief since I trust and love my running store and wanted to believe that they had done a good job fitting me.
I don’t feel like I’m cured — I still find that pain is increased if I run a full 3.2 miles at (for me) a good pace. But, I do feel much more hopeful and I am able to get out with my running group. I had been hesitant to register for any 5Ks since I wasn’t sure I would actually be able to complete one but now I’m planning to sign up for a few.
Tonight my running group was invited to speak to the new Beginner 5K group & run with them. It was amazing to celebrate what we have accomplished since we were all in our beginner group and it was such an opportunity to meet some of these folks and try to help them see where they might be in a few months. I’m so proud that I went from not being able to run for 2 minutes to running through the winter – to sticking with it even through injury and pain. When I had my couple of minutes to speak, I talked about the importance of showing up, of getting out there for every practice and to always be moving forward – the advice I was given. Sometimes diabetes is like that too – you can’t give up. It still amazes me how diabetes can help me face other things in my life and how other things can help me learn new things about living with diabetes.