Photo from the 2014 Ice Age Trail 50 Miler by Ali Engin. Permission to use header photo must be obtained through Ali Elgin.

"It's better to feel pain than nothing at all. The opposite of love's indifference." - The Lumineers

Saturday, 19 September 2009

Prednisone for a running injury?

After the Transalpine, I took 6 days off from running. I swam and biked and actually felt great. I watched, amazed, as I lost 5 lbs of fluid.

Yesterday, I went for a beautiful 45 minute run and felt almost completely recovered.

This morning, I went for an hour and 2 minute run and suddenly my left tibialis anterior started to hurt so badly that I could barely walk. I hobbled all the way home.

It may be too late, but I decided to take prednisone (50 mg, once a day for 3 days). I'm hoping that by stopping the swelling that my recovery will go faster. This is, of course, the same principle behind a cortisone joint injection. But as it is a tendon injury, I have to take it systemically.

Karl Meltzer also took Vitamin P, as he affectionately calls it, for his tibialis anterior and it allowed him to complete the running of the entire Appalacian trail. Although, he took it almost immediately when he started having problems.

I will give a report of the recovery (and hopefully not worsening) and let you know if I experience any side effects.

Running Song of the Day: Black River Killer by Blitzen Trapper

5 comments:

SteveQ said...

You're using a bazooka to kill a mosquito. A couple of NSAIDs and an ice pack is usually enough for ankle tendinitis. It does, of course, depend upon severity; when I tore mine at age 11, the ankle swelled until it looked like a grapefruit was in there, but last year, I did a 50 miler two weeks after the same injury.

Marathon Princess said...

What about the believe that inflamation helps healing? Especially with tendons and the little blood flow they have.
I've had way too many issues with posterior tibial tendinitis and have done both the steroid and non-steroid route. My latest injury was a year ago and at that time my sports doc and PT were of the thought that inflamation is good for healing and steroids were bad. The PT actually caused inflamation and I have had no problems since.

sea legs girl said...

Thanks for the comments. I love discussing this subject.

Here were my thoughts:

1.Last week my ankle swelled up like a balloon and I don't think so much swelling is beneficial.

2. Yesterday I had even more pain than during the race. If I waited a day or two, prednisone wouldn't be able to prevent all of the swelling. I could take ibuprofen, but it's not as strong, and in my case has more side effects (painful gastritis).

3. I am still going to rest the ankle, but am just hoping for a less prolonged recovery without the annoyance of ibuprofen.

Runningdoctor said...

I think the question of "useful inflammation" is a valid one. I know I have often struggled with it. First of all, I think, semantically, when we speak of inflammation, we speak of the negative results of the body's reponse to injury. So, by that definition, quelling inflammation is always good.

But obvisouly, some of the swelling and pain is there for a reason and taking it all away would be counterproductive. It's my opinion, though, that it's exceedingly unlikely that you can make an injury worse by taking an anti-inflmammatory. More often than not, the inflammation is 99% of the problem and the structural injury is 1%. A reader of this blog recently got a steroid-injection for plantar fasciitis and was instantly cured (last time I heard). Of course, this injection didn't repair anything; it simply took away the body's inappropriate inflammatory response.

However, there is a rule that you can only inject steroids into a spot 4 times a year for fear of tissue break-down. So, admittedly, you can take too much, but remember the tissue concentration is probably 100s of times more than after systemic ingestion.

Anyway, I don't think anyone has to worry about taking away too much inflammation (for good and for bad). I give monster-doses of steroids to my cancer patients and have never seen anyone with odd non-healing injuries.

Anonymous said...

How did the prednisone work out? I am thinking of taking some for a joint back injury with a marathon in a week. I am interested to know if you experienced any side effects.