Monday I went to a podiatrist at Virginia Mason in Seattle. Well! I just can't say enough about VM: Pilar Almy was just the coolest thing ever. I reeled off the list of variables I thought might have caused the injury: increased mileage, new shoes ... and finally, changing my gait to land on the midsection / ball of the foot. Because of Chi Running, I explained. "Ouch-chi running," she said.
I love puns.
She sent me off for a bone scan, and I'm just back.
First thing this morning I went in and received an injection of a radioactive tracer fluid. It was a little disturbing to see the syringe arrive in a thick metal safety container, but the technician explained that it was to protect her: it isn't highly radioactive, but she's exposed to it all day, every day. Then I lay on the bed and she taped my feet together, not an experience I've had without at least a bottle of wine beforehand. I had to lie still for five minutes at a time while she photographed the soft tissue. I didn't see any of those pictures.
Then I was sent home to work and wait while the tracer fluid settled in my bones. The scan works because the fluid settles in the part of the bone that is growing most: the injury site. I had to drink 8 ounces of water every 30 minutes, and pee every 15. Apparently. Then I came back for the interesting part.
I love Yuri and Luke, the guys who do the scanning in VM. "Hm," said Yuri, looking at the images on the computer, "that foot is going to have to come off." "He's my Obi-Wan," said Luke, taping my feet together. Turns out Yuri is a serious runner himself. "You've been putting in the miles," he said, pointing out the areas on my shin bones where the bones were getting stronger. "Plus, you've had shin splints." I said no, I'd had no trouble. "Uh-uh," he said, pointing at the screen, "I can see them there."
The stress fracture showed up as a very distinct pink dot, indicating a high concentration of the tracer fluid. Interestingly, there were some other pink areas around the front of each ankle. I haven't been experiencing pain there, so it's kind of sobering to see evidence of even minor injury. "Stay off concrete," Yuri warned.
On Monday I go back to the podiatrist. I'm gonna take Jeff's advice and hit the gym hard. I'm wondering whether to knit while on the stationary bike.