A blog about Trace and her races.

ROLF – Not a Laughing Matter

I know when you read the title of this blog, you are probably thinking of the internet acronym that we sometimes use while texting or commenting electronically but this is ROLF, a physical therapy technique invented by Ida Rolf which is basically soft tissue manipulation, or a way to reorganize connective tissue (this is totally new to me but there is a lot of online info available).

I had the pleasure of experiencing Rolfing this past Tuesday during track practice and let me tell you, it was no laughing matter. My coach had arranged this session for me because you may or may not know that I have not attempted to run one time since the ET Midnight Half Marathon August 13th (that story/update to come).  I dropped out of the race around mile 6, leaving my victory for someone else and have been limping every since.

Immediately that following Monday after the race, I jetted over to my orthopedic doc who treated me last year for my fracture. I had an x-ray taken which didn’t show anything (but of course it probably wouldn’t show a small fracture anyway) and it appeared that I might just be suffering from cuboid subluxation or tendenitis. Doc told me not to run for a week and see how it felt. Unfortunately the pain did not go away after the first week and I was still limping and I was also experiencing ankle pain. I visited my other doctor whom I make an effort to see monthly, the one that was treating me for the Sacroiliac issue earlier this year.  He also thought I didn’t have anything serious going on but did notice that all my muscles and tendons around my feet and ankle were very tight, my mobility was very limited compared to my right foot. The treatment I am getting from him is weekly and includes foot adjustments, Active Release Technique (ART) and Class-4 laser treatment – none of which seemed to be working, at least not fast enough.

Look ma, no cracks!!!


Anyway, I thought it would be a good idea to try this new treatment (new to me) and I agreed to meet John at the track while everyone would be running. I seriously had no idea what he would be doing and I really didn’t care as long as it helped.  I was totally surprised to see that he had brought his treatment table complete with blankets; it seriously felt like I was getting VIP treatment or something. Soon enough I felt like I was being tortured because this treatment is very, very painful.

John noticed a lot of interesting things about my foot, for one, my foot is extremely tight, so much that my toes are being pulled upwards and two, my foot doesn’t allow me to go through the normal range of motion when landing, in other words, I am underpronating and insufficiently rolling my foot inward after landing. Of course I don’t really believe 100% in what any doctor tells me because it is very hard to diagnose these things, I just listen and go back home and try to do more research based off what I have been told. Regardless of what it is, or what is causing it, he started to rub my legs (woohoo)…kidding, and the pain flooded in.

The technique was very slow, hard pressure movements along my muscles with included my gastrocnemis, soleus, peroneus longus and the ever-so-hard to reach tibialis anterious — all calf region muscles. All these tight calf muscles, which by the way don’t really feel tight to me, are pulling and putting strain on my feet including my poor little ankle and heel (calcaneus).

When the session was over I was relieved, I mean I can take a lot of pain, believe me I can, but this pain was almost unbearable and I was near tears. I immediately felt a lot of relief and I wasn’t really limping. The next day (today), I have been able to walk around without any thought of how my foot feels. Yay! I am still practical and know this is the beginning process of getting better and I have to continue working those muscles by foam rolling and other exercises he suggested. I hope I don’t scare you away with all this pain I mentioned – consider it a good pain.

If you are wondering what is next for me, I really don’t know. At first I texted my coach and basically wanted to quit, I get frustrated when I get injured and when I am frustrated, I start to think I am the only runner that ever gets injured which is ridiculous. After that frustration period, I really didn’t care about the injury, I mean, I want to get better but I know there will always be another race for me. I am just trying to get better without losing a lot of my fitness by aquajogging and jumping back in the pool to work on my lame swimming skills and definitely doing everything to keep from going crazy.

Check out these pictures of the treatment — my poor skin.





2 responses

  1. Y

    Your injuries are similar to those outlined in the national best seller “Born to Run”. Such injuries have become as common as they are among runners only in the last 40 years, since the advent of the modern running shoe (i.e. Nike). The thick heel so prevalent in today’s shoes completely distort the natural running motion of the foot that human beings evolved over millions of years. Have you ever tried running in a minimalist shoe?

    September 2, 2011 at 2:58 pm

  2. Oh Trace…. Hope you are feeling better. How frustrating it must be. I’ve been speaking with the Brooks people about my injury last March (from switching shoes)- they’ve given me a lot of insight. For me at least, i know I have to run in a support shoe. If I decide to go the lightweight trainer route- they said start of slowly and alternate them with everyday running shoe, i.e. adrenaline’s. Hope you’re back at the track soon!! Hugs!

    September 9, 2011 at 9:17 am

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