You’re Going To Stick WHAT into my ankle?

Needles, she said. I’m going to stick some needles into your leg. What foul quackery is this thought I. My ankle hurts and she wants to hurt it some more by sticking a bunch of needles into it.

I lay down on the bench and put my head through the hole. I’ve always hated needles. Dentistry has poisoned my mind against such barbaric instruments. However, the physio seems  to know what she’s doing, so I steel myself to whatever is to come. She assures me that it won’t hurt but I squeal pathetically every time she introduces a new needle. She assures me that the latest one hasn’t yet pierced the skin. “That’s just the tube” she says. I am baffled. That really hurt. I would be rubbish at tattoos. She goes into the next room to get something and I look around at my ankle. There are several small spikes sticking out of it. It looks extremely alarming. I look away and she returns to remove the needles and massage the tendon. Surprisingly it seems that she can now touch that achilles tendon without me squealing and leaping into the air. The needles thing seems to have eased the pain a little. I suspect the relief is only temporary but it feels good nevertheless. Apparently its purpose is to increase blood flow into the tendon. These tendon thingies don’t get so much blood and it seems that if you’re trying to fix them then blood is just the thing that their little tendon selves desperately need.

I’ve been seeing a physiotherapist for a few months now. It started with my hamstring problems just before the London Marathon. Then there was a debilitating knee problem after the marathon and now I have achilles tendon pains. It seems that I am receiving a crash course in runners injuries.

knee taping picThe knee pains were absolutely dreadful. It was they that put paid to my Edinburgh Marathon at mile 16. Michelle (the physio) explained to me that it was an imbalance in the muscles that had pulled the knee out of alignment. This caused the knee to scrape on things it shouldn’t be scraping on and therefore inflicted loadsa pain. She is very realistic and realises that runners are ridiculously stupid creatures and will still attempt to run whatever the injury. She therefore taped up the leg to try hold the muscles in place and stop any more inflammation. Unfortunately this doesn’t last long as the tape tends to work loose after a few days. I am, however, learning (albeit very slowly) that I really should cut back on the running and take up other forms of exercise until my injuries heal. Even when they have healed then it seems to make sense to look after the other muscles that work together with the leg muscles. She is trying to talk me into Pilates classes but I’m not overly attracted by the idea. I am however doing the exercises she has given me to pull that knee back into place. There are bum exercises and some more to strengthen the inside of my knee and these exercises seem to have worked. I have had no more pain from that knee. I have had pain from my achilles tendon though.

ankle taping picIt’s an overuse injury she says. My heart sinks when I hear this.I know that the only real answer to an overuse injury is to stop using it. I take a look on the Internet and everywhere I see the answer, it’s an overuse injury.


The physio has me standing on steps and pushing my heels down over the edge. I have to do 30 of these quite slowly every day. I also have to do calf stretches, ice the tendon, heat the tendon and then still maintain all those knee exercises. This fixing my legs business is becoming a full time activity. I am also under strict instructions to attend the gym, do  some swimming and lots of bicycle rides. Frankly all I want to do is the thing that I enjoy; just to run. I must be patient though. My time will come once this tendon is mended.


Bury St Edmunds Parkrun

I love doing a bit of parkrun tourism. It is fascinating going to different places to see how they do their parkruns and to experience so many of the beautiful places in which these runs take place.

My home parkrun in Cambridge was taking a short break for a couple of weeks so that Milton Country Park could do some work on the paths. Richard and I discussed the alternatives and decided to go slightly further afield to try out one that we’d never been to before.Richard twice

The Bury St Edmunds parkrun is held in a beautiful park full of fine mature trees and splendidly springy grass to run upon.

pre race at bury parkrunThe run has a wide start so that no one is far from the start line even with the 259 runners there were today.  We set off like a charging barbarian horde going uphill across the grass. There is much shuffling for position but as we turn the corner to run back downhill, everyone is beginning to spread out a little.

We curved around to the right keeping the trees on our right hand side and then back down another slope eventually arriving at a large clump of trees and a narrow path through the middle. This is very welcome for the shade the leaf cover gives us from the sun but it is a bit of a bottleneck and we must tread carefully to avoid the many tree roots strewn across our path. Having survived the deadly obstacles we emerged back into the sun to skirt around the enclosed football courts and then up the hill back to the start so that we can begin our second lap.

I’m hurting quite a bit now from the ankle injury and reckon that I’m beginning to slow a little. I huff and puff a little up the hill. Richard is running at the side of me and I reckon he’s a little bit alarmed by the noises I’m making.  He suggests that maybe I could slow down if I wish. We turn to go down the hill and my breathing eases a little but as we turn right I’m hurting again and I can tell that my speed has dropped,, as people are beginning to go past. I’m trying to ignore the pain from my ankle and just keep my legs turning over. It’s damn hot and sweat is running into my eyes causing them to sting. The trees are a welcome relief but as we run through this section Richard trips on a tree root and goes down onto the floor. Fortunately he manages to put his hands out and roll so doesn’t get hurt too badly. He gets up and we carry on.

We burst out from the trees again and curve around the fenced football pitches. I put on an extra bit of speed up the hill and am incredibly relieved to see the finish funnel this time and take my token.

end of bury parkrunThis was a lovely course and it must be delightful to see how it changes with the seasons.  I should imagine parts of it become fantastically muddy during the winter months. Of course that kind of weather was a long way away today and both Richard and I suffered from the heat and the humidity of that glorious summer Saturday morning. We grabbed a couple of cold  drinks from the shop and made our way back to the car. We both really enjoyed our visit to Bury St Edmunds parkun and thank all the volunteers for making it happen and helping to give us such a fine running experience.

I got a time of 27:03 which wasn’t amazing but I was reasonably happy with it.