my feet hurt.

by Janetha on October 17, 2012

in unfortunately


so, i mentioned the other day that my feet are hurt. they started hurting during the last couple miles of tough mudder on saturday and by sunday morning i could barely walk. i wasn’t sure exactly what was wrong with them, but i did know it was absolutely painful to walk. it still is—just not quite as painful. luckily the severity of the pain has subsided over the past few days.

the upside to injury? sweet friends like lizz bring me delicious, buttery, home-baked rolls so i can eat my worries away.

IMG 6897
(she brought these sunday. i polished the last one off yesterday. i couldn’t enter or leave my kitchen without eating one. so tasty.)

i am blessed to have a best friend (otherwise known as kristen) who is a physical therapist AND she has family and friends in the field. fortunately for me, she set me up with her friends at neuroworx to see just exactly what is up with my feets.

IMG 6934
(feet are not very cute. just sayin.) 

there is this cool contraption called a pitchfork that helps test for stress fractures.


no, not that kind. it’s a metal instrument that she tapped on a hard surface (so it was vibrating) and then held it to my foot to see if the vibration caused any alarming pain. luckily, it didn’t. (i realize that any PTs reading this are totally shaking their head with my botched description of this method…)

so, yay!, more than likely not a fracture. the only real way to be super sure is to get an MRI, but for now the diagnosis ended up being peroneal insertional tendonitis. that’s a mouthful, right? here are a couple articles online about the condition: article one, article two.

a brief explanation of what it is, taken from the article linked above:

Peroneal tendonitis occurs as a result of acute or chronic overloading of one or both of the peroneal tendons. Peroneal tendonitis results when a load is applied to the tendon that is greater than what it can sustain over time. The location of pain associated with peroneal tendonitis is distal to the lateral ankle and just proximal to the 5th metatarsal base as seen in the image to the right.

there are three reasons (that i can think of) why i ended up with this injury:

  • uneven terrain during tough mudder—lots of holes, hills, mud, dirt, and other unstable situations for 12 miles that forced my ankles and feet into many foreign positions in a short amount of time.
  • i had never run more than 10k (6.2 miles) consecutively in my life… and then i went and ran 12 miles. yep, i am fit enough to do something like that, but my feet were asking WTF was going on!
  • i wore my minimalist shoes. i have been wearing vibram five fingers or new balance minimus shoes for over a year now, so i didn’t think wearing “regular” shoes would be a good idea for tough mudder (since it’s not what i am used to.) however, i had also never run 12 miles before! so the lack of padding and support in my shoes during the race probably played a role in my injury.

so, yep, that’s why i’m hurt. not a very good story, but a story none the less.

Funny Get Well Ecard: Sorry about your injury and that you haven't thought of a more badass backstory for it.

my friends at neuroworx treated my feet with ultrasound, an ice massage (not as relaxing as the type of massages i’m used to!), and finished them off with some kinesio tape. i have been instructed to continue taking an anti-inflammatory, ice the affected area, and give my feet some rest. this is where the sitting-for-8-hours-at-my-day-job comes in handy… luckily i don’t have to be on my feet too often!

it’s definitely discouraging that i have this injury to deal with for a few weeks due to tough mudder, which was just a few hours of activity. while my fitness level is in line with the challenge i faced with the race, my feet were not prepared to take such a beating. i am trying not to get too hung up on the situation, because there’s nothing i can do about it now. hindsight is 20/20, right?

i found this paragraph about the healing process of tendonitis in one of the articles i linked above interesting:

“Tendon injuries, including peroneal tendonitis, are notoriously slow to heal. The reason that tendons are slow to heal is simply due to the fact that the blood supply to a tendon is limited and extremely fragile. As a result, tendons are poorly supplied with blood and are unable to respond well in cases of injury. When a tendon is injured, the initial response to the injury is that the tendon becomes inflamed. Inflammation is the primary means by which the body sends out a signal or call for help to manage the injury to the tendon. Inflammation is a signal that requests increased chemical and cellular responses to the injury. Inflammation is also the body’s tool that is used to bring additional blood flow and oxygen into a specific area to promote healing.”

let’s not think about the “notoriously slow to heal” part—ugh–i found the bit about inflammation pretty cool. our bodies are built to send physical signals to injured areas immediately. so, while inflammation sucks and is painful, it’s actually our bodies being super smart! here is the next bit about pain following the paragraph about inflammation:

“Why does tendonitis hurt? While inflamed, the tendon is actively working to repair itself. There’s an acute influx of blood, oxygen and cells that results in swelling. The arrival of all these cells is a new and unusual activity in and around the tendon causing pain. Pain is simply nature’s way of limiting physical activity and promoting rest. Although pain is not desirable, pain is our best guide to the nature and degree of injury and will help guide choices used in healing the injury.”

pain sucks. there’s no doubt about that. but where i read that last sentence, it made me like pain a little bit. pain is more than just a pain—it is a calculated way for our body to tell us to take a load off and give the affected area rest until the pain subsides.

this made me think of when i have a scab. i am one of those people who can’t leave well enough alone and always tries to peel scabs off of my skin, but it hurts! duh, of course it hurts. scabs are there to heal our skin, and when it is painful to peel them away, our body is saying “don’t flipping mess with that scab! i made it to fix your injury!” i need to go through this thought process the next time i am tempted to mess with a scab.

i am glad i read up on injury, inflammation, and pain. i am more likely to actually give my feet a break rather than ignore the pain and make matters worse. i have been rowing at GPP this week instead of running, and i skipped out on the squats from monday and tuesday. i also have been forgoing burpees.. can’t say that i am missing those, haha. i rowed a 5k today instead of doing burpapalooza. i won’t be running for awhile, which you know i am not complaining about a single bit! i do have a 5k to run on october 27, so i am hoping things are feeling better by then. if not, i will just have to cheer my friends on from the sidelines. after all, i only have one set of feet… gotta take care of them!

IMG 6942


what was your worst/most painful injury?
mine was for suuure when i broke my arm while snowboarding.

xo. janetha g.

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Katie @ Talk Less, Say More October 17, 2012 at 8:01 pm

My most painful injury was definitely when I dislocated my knee cap. I was on a train from NYC to Boston and couldn’t get off until I reached my destination. I ended up being picked up at the train station by an ambulance but they first had to figure out how to get my OFF the train (ended up sliding me through the emergency exit on a body board). Even once I got to the hospital, they were so busy they kept forgetting (?) to bring me pain meds and it wasn’t until I had been thru X-rays and they were ready to pop it back in, that I got SOME pan meds. This was followed up with PAINFUL surgery recovery later but knee pain is the worst to me!

sb October 17, 2012 at 8:18 pm

ooof! Peroneal tendons HURT!! I tore mine a few years ago, and finally had surgery to repair it this summer. worst. experience. ever. my ankles suck in general, but this was tops. thankfully i have AWESOME pt’s that are getting me back to ‘normal’ but it has been a hard road.
i hope your feet get better FAST!! and isn’t kinesio tape awesome!?

Ali October 17, 2012 at 8:57 pm

I did the tough mudder in June in Beaver Creek , CO. The same thing happened to me! Only my left foot. I wish I would have warned you to wear other shoes. I feel bad now!! I had on new balance minimalists and my friend had vibrams. She ended up with a bad bone bruise and my foot wasn’t better for 4 weeks :(

Brittany @Berries and Barbells October 17, 2012 at 9:09 pm

I’m sorry your hurt!!! What a bummer.

I have been trying to think of my most painful injury and I, knock on wood, can’t think of anything. I guess I haven’t been injured very much!

Neil October 17, 2012 at 9:11 pm

Janetha – I can think of NO THING I dread worse than rowing a 5k. Actually, rowing in general. Except perhaps having peroneal-blahbity-blah-blah. That sounds awful. Hope you heal soon.

I tried that minimalist thing. REALLY tried. Believed in it and even wrote a few posts about how if God had intended us to walk any other way he’d have put 2″ of padding under our heels.

This thinking cost me 9 months of the worst plantar fasciitis ever! I did it right, too. Started with a half hour per day of wearing them around. Progressed to more and more time. Eventually started working out in them, then to running. Took me 3 months before I even tried to run as much as 400m! Paid for it all in flesh and pain. I’m on the other end of the spectrum now – HOKAs for me. It’s kind of a new thing, so we’ll see how that goes.

Lea @ Coffee and Greens October 17, 2012 at 9:17 pm

Oh no! I hope your feet feel better soon! Foot injuries are no bueno.
I’ve been pretty lucky on the injury front, my worst injury was when I tore my hamstring during dance class, which I some how didn’t notice for a week? Luckily it healed pretty quickly!

emma October 17, 2012 at 10:15 pm

i had a c section to deliver my baby a month ago. I’m not allowed to exercise until the doc says – at least 6 weeks of complete rest….it’s not a sports injury but I’ve NEVER felt pain like it (fingers crossed never again!). I’m still struggling on but on the up now. Aside from that, a damaged tendon in my leg….that hurt like crazy!

Heather October 17, 2012 at 10:33 pm

Sorry to hear about your feet! I fell of the monkey bars in TM and smashed my knees and hobbled across the finish line. Rest up!

RainStorm October 18, 2012 at 12:15 am

Oh no! I hope they start to feel better soon – feet are a problem because we can’t help but use them. My only proper injury was two broken toes. Not actually particularly painful, more I got laughed at for shuffling very slowly in flipflops as I couldn’t lean or push off my toes at all. (It was a little bit cool because it was a karate injury – the first and only time I had one!)

Jennyb October 18, 2012 at 12:27 am

probably the partial tear of my adductor in June – i have never seen such a bruise! It covered most of the inside of my thigh. I couldn’t sit comfortably, or drive & for 3 months couldn’t exercise. I had to be careful getting in & out of the car as thats when you use your adducts on a daily basis it turns out. Finally back to full impact & weight work, although its still not as strong as it could be. Seeing the bruise certainly made me stop working out – i find if i can’t see the injury i tend to try & ignore it despite any pain.

Tara @ Sweat like a Pig October 18, 2012 at 1:19 am

I’m beginning to think these adventure type races are a bad idea. Everyone I know who has done one ended up injured. Reading your recap sounded horrible, and I actually know someone who ended up in hospital because of the electrocutions. I just don’t see the appeal in doing something so dangerous.

I did the Warrior Dash and ended up with a heavily sprained ankle. Someone tripped me over, and because of their carelessness I couldn’t run for 8 weeks. The good thing about it is that it got me into weight lifting, and I haven’t run since.

Michelle @ Eat Move Balance October 18, 2012 at 3:20 am

I remember reading about your snowboarding injury–that was terrible. Sorry to hear about how awful your feet feel. :( Hang in there!

My worst injury was in a car accident when I was in college. I was very beat up: head injuries, fractured hip, sliced through my knee . . . . brutal.

lindsay October 18, 2012 at 4:47 am

what in the world? ouchie! are you getting piggy back rides everywhere? Hope so! I’ll come carry you. But looks like you have great friends who are taking care of you. Hope those itty bitty tendons heal fast!

worst injury? broke my elbow twice

April October 18, 2012 at 4:51 am

Probably getting ran over by a car.

Get well soon!


Ellen M. Gregg October 18, 2012 at 5:12 am

Your feet: Ouch! Great information, though, that you wouldn’t have learned and imparted otherwise.

How do you feel about Reiki? I would be happy to offer a free session to help facilitate speedier healing. Just say the word.

(Learn more here:

Crystal October 18, 2012 at 6:36 am

Wow! That really sucks! But I thank you for sharing and giving me plenty of food for thought before I do a Tough Mudder. Haven’t given much thought about running on umeven surfaces, mostly just thinking about the obstacles. Will have to do some prep running now. Thanks for sharing!


Corey @ When We Wander October 18, 2012 at 6:41 am

I think my most painful would probably be when I broke my wrist ice-skating in the 3rd grade. I can’t really remember how it felt, but I know it didn’t feel good. On the plus side I got to rock a hot pink cast for a few weeks!

Sierra October 18, 2012 at 6:52 am

I’ve been pretty fortunate at being injury free, but I hate the feeling of not being able to do my regular physical activity. Clearly, you are VERY fit, but this just shows that there are types of fitness and we must ease into everything slowly. Right now I have been running more and do very little (if any) strength training and I feel so unfit when I try to jack out push ups. Feel better soon!

Corrie Anne October 18, 2012 at 7:14 am

OUCH! I feel for you. I hope you recover quickly. Whenever someone asks me why I live in CO and don’t ski, I always say that I don’t want to get injured. The same kinda goes for extreme-type races. Hope you’re good in time for your race!

Erica October 18, 2012 at 7:21 am

bahhh! hang in there! Knock on wood- I haven’t had a lot of painful injuries. I broke my hand once and had quite a few concussions….but thats about it

Dana @Muscles, Miles, and Meals October 18, 2012 at 7:32 am

agh…I hate injuries! i’ve had my fair share, but the worst has to be breaking both bones in my arm while doing box jumps. I did it 5 years ago and just had my 4th surgery last week! Irritating, but there is always other exercise that i can do while i’m healing. Hang in there!

Tamara October 18, 2012 at 7:33 am

This is very informative, and I love your insights about pain and inflammation, J! I’m so glad you had somewhere to go for a diagnosis and treatment/prescription. Take care of yourself and your tootsies! I think they’re cute. :)

Ashley @ My Food N Fitness Diaries October 18, 2012 at 7:58 am

Ugh girl, sorry to hear about your feet. Good news that it’s not a fracture though! My worst injury was tearing my ACL/MCL/meniscus 7 years ago… I was right in the middle of our volleyball season, doing great, and it was so discouraging!

Shaunna@mamas13minutemile October 18, 2012 at 8:29 am

Pain does suck but I look at my injuries as me being a total bad ass and working so hard I hurt myself. Like when I did 100 knee pushups and I got rug burn….totally not the same thing as you but hey, I take what I can get :)

Becky@MunchingVeggies October 18, 2012 at 8:41 am

Right now I’m suffering plantar fasciitis in both heels! I’m pretty sure it happened when I started trail running (which I was loving!) But I gradually noticed the pain after my workouts, until one day it was just unbearable.

I thought after a couple weeks that it was better and went back to high impact workouts. NOPE not a good idea – I seriously re-injured them both and had to start weekly therapy on them. Walking is still painfull, and its been 2 months since the re-injury.

So discouraging! And a true test of patience!!

the delicate place October 18, 2012 at 8:46 am

ouch! my most painful injury was post half marathon in 2008. i didn’t take any time off after the race and continued to run 30mpw like a nutter. welp, i got piriformis syndrome and had to stop running and all exercise for 3 months. however, this was when i found yoga! so it’s kinda a silver lining. i hope your feet feel better!

Simone October 18, 2012 at 9:21 am

my most painful injury was when my high school boyfriend tried to do that “omg I saved you life” thing when we were hanging out on-top of a water tower, un lucky for me he didn’t properly catch me when he shoved me and I fell off the tower getting my foot stuck in a rock on the way down, I ended up tearing all the tendons in my foot and ankle and was on those arm crutches for about 3 months… this all happened about 1 week before I was starting at a new boarding school and for the first little while people were pretty weary about hanging out with me, not fun!

kaitlyn October 18, 2012 at 9:39 am

Ugh-sorry about your feet. After reading your review of the tough mudder and talking to a student who did the same Salt Lake one this weekend, I think I solidified my decision not to do one. The electrocution thing scares me. Worst injury-my broken foot times two.

Brittany @ Delights and Delectables October 18, 2012 at 9:43 am

Oh girl!! That sounds painful!! That kinesio tape works I tell ya! I worst injury was a bad IT band problem. I couldn’t even walk or go up and down stairs due to the pain. My PT foam rolled me, but the kinesio tape worked wonders!

Kait @ yogabeautylife October 18, 2012 at 9:44 am

My feet hurt too! I put them through the ringer with hours of dancing upon consecutive days…it paid off since the first Zumba class I taught went really well…but my feet, well they are none too happy It did give me an excuse to get a massage yesterday though so there’s that! Feel better. xo

Nicole C October 18, 2012 at 9:50 am

One year we decided to sign up for softball and Ben got injured. So I had to take his place hitting, hadn’t warmed up and it was cold. Next thing I know, I swing and POP goes something in my thigh. I just stood there, started crying and walked off the field. Ben had to carry me to the car, while he was hurt too. My thigh swelled, even bigger than it already is. My Mom thought I broke my femur, she is quite the character. It healed on it’s own after a few days but what a weird feeling.

betty October 18, 2012 at 9:57 am

yikes! go you for still getting into GPP and not taking a full break!! the worst i had, was chipping the cartilage from the back of my knee. i was conditioning for softball playing basketball (? ) i know it doesnt make sense.. i couldn’t kneal, couldn’t squat.. it was unbearable. i still have problems with that knee, today.

Janetha October 18, 2012 at 11:59 am

yuck, that description of chipping cartilage made me queasy! you are one tough lady. and yes, i think i’d die if i didn’t go to GPP. even just to chat.. i love those people so darn much, it’s the highlight of my day!

Annette@FitnessPerks October 18, 2012 at 10:48 am

Yikes! Tendonitis in the feet is sooo painful. Coming from someone who went through it. I didn’t run for 2 weeks. And then took things a bit slower & less impact. Then it ended up slowly healing. I used a Deep Blue Rub (doterra) and I credit the quick healing to that & a bit of rest. Oh and ice. Yes, ice.

Hope you heal quickly!!

Janetha October 18, 2012 at 11:58 am

ooo where do i get this magical rub you speak of??

Annette@FitnessPerks October 18, 2012 at 2:04 pm

It seriously saves me from being so sore all the time. It’s sort of expensive, but SO worth it. And it lasts a long time b/c its so potent. If you want to buy it cheaper, you can sign up to be on the business side of it all (an MLM essential oils co <–only one that is 100% pure though). But I just share all the stuff with people b/c it all works soooo well (and I buy it myself), don't really do much on the business end! Haven't had to go to a doc in years.

Janetha October 18, 2012 at 2:49 pm

Thank you so much! xoxo

mary @ what's cookin with mary October 18, 2012 at 10:50 am

Tendinitis suuuuucks. I get it in my left wrist from over use. When it gets inflamed, it doesn’t get better without lots rest & also stretching… you use your wrist for so much!? …which makes it hard, but now I’m very aware of what irritates it and try not to do those things. Getting older is fun! ;0)

Maren October 18, 2012 at 10:51 am

soooo glad to hear it’s tendonitis…could definitely be worse! Take it easy! My worse injury is definitely my stress fracture…It is still not 100%, but I am just accepting that fact and doing the things I can do instead of stressing about the things I can’t. Hope you get to feeling better soon!!

Meg October 18, 2012 at 11:03 am

Glad to hear it’s not a fracture! Hope those feet heal at lightning speed :)

I’ve broken 11 bones in my life but i’d say both broken elbows were the worst just because of the physical therapy pain after the surgeries.

Janetha October 18, 2012 at 11:58 am

eleven! that is intense!

cookie October 18, 2012 at 12:18 pm

Ouch, that sounds painful. Tendon injuries in general are pretty bad (and in my case it always takes ages to heal, if they do at all…), so taking it easy is a good decision. Get well soon!

Rachel October 18, 2012 at 1:46 pm

I self-diagnosed with the same peroneal tendonitis injury over the summer (actually read the same articles you pulled your info from!). I use NB minimus shoes as well, and ran on some uneven, harder then usual terrain one weekend. The good news is, I iced, used a lacrosse ball to roll it out, took lots of advil, and it was pretty much gone within two weeks. I took that time off running/jumping, but still lifted the best I could. Haven’t had any issues since. :fingers crossed!:

Janetha October 18, 2012 at 2:48 pm

This is great to hear! Thank you for commenting.

cassy October 18, 2012 at 1:47 pm

i am going to the dr manana to see if I have a stress fracture in my fibular? (lower leg bone above the ankle.) it’s been hurting like a B for almost 2 weeks. Xrays came back negative but pain has not gone away. My chiropractor did the pitch fork on me and it def hurt! I had never seen or heard of anyone else using such a tool. What a coinsidence that you used it too! :)

good look with your footies!

Janetha October 18, 2012 at 2:49 pm

Oh, crazy! I am sorry, lady.

Amy B October 18, 2012 at 2:57 pm

OW AH! You poor soul :( well done on tough mudder though! I hate hate the cold so hats off to you for managing to endure it all :D hopes those tootsies feel better soon angel!

Tendinitis is very painful! I have chronic tendonitis in both knees so and when I first experienced it I could barely walk. My worst injury has to be pulling my hamstring at the top of my leg – literally a pain in the butt! try explaining that to people! Any injury is horrible though and I hope you are okay xxx

Emily @ October 18, 2012 at 3:39 pm

YIKES! You poor girl-I sure hope you feel better soon!

Esther October 18, 2012 at 7:01 pm

That sucks! I just got back on the road this week after taking about 3 weeks off from running due to peroneal tendonitis. It was pretty sad to not be able to run, especially since I missed a 10 miler I was excited to have signed up for. But.. the silver lining was that I forced myself to start doing laps, and I realized that swimming isn’t so scary (and, in fact, it’s actually kind of fun!) I hope you heal soon!

Zara October 18, 2012 at 7:05 pm

Sorry to hear about your feet. That´s such a bummer! I was just wondering what type of anti inflamitory they recommended you take? I have to take them for my knees pretty often and I usually just stick to Ibuprophine which I dont love so just wanted to see if you had any better ideas! thanks!

Janetha October 18, 2012 at 7:11 pm

That’s what I’m taking, too. Sorry!

Katie October 19, 2012 at 7:10 am

Ignore that last email I just sent you asking about your feet….

So sorry it’s taking so long to feel better. How frustrating. Hang in there, though! I’ve had some painful running injuries in my day, and they always just take time! Hugs to you and your feet (not weird).

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