Peroneal Tendonitis is stretching my vocabulary by a foot

I’m always game to learn fancy new words, as a writer. However, as a runner, I’m not so keen on picking up medical vocabulary first-hand – or foot, or ankle, or whatever.

Not my feet. But you get the idea.

Enter Peroneal Tendonitis.

This involves swelling of the peroneal tendon. That’s the tendon that runs along the outside of the lower leg and around the bony part of the outer ankle (known as the lateral malleolus). The peroneal tendon helps to stabilize the ankle during weight-bearing activities, such as running.

This painful condition can be caused by overuse, running on uneven surfaces, running on banked roads, exercising in worn-out shoes, lower limb imbalances, improper physical rehabilitation from an ankle injury, or a few other issues.

Apparently, runners with high-arched feet are particularly prone to peroneal tendonitis. It seems to have something to do with extra eversion of the foot while running.

Color me guilty on three counts.

I have extremely high arches in my feet. I’ve been running on trails, sharply banked roads, and a recently graded (but still bumpy) closed construction zone portion of a county highway. And I’m logging more miles than usual (for me), aiming my sights at completing the 2,017-mile challenge in 2017.

Again, not my feet. This would be PAINFUL right now.

Boom. And ouch.

Yes, my ankle is sore, along with the outside of that foot. It hurts extra when I turn that foot in or out, or if I try to point it down (like a ballerina, which I am most certainly not). And the injury reminds me of its existence several times overnight.

Not even close.

So now I am elevating and icing my wrapped ankle. I’m looking for creative ways to keep on completing running miles (without pounding the pavement or traipsing through trails).  I’m hobbling around like a pathetic fairy tale creature.

Pretty sure the elliptical is gonna be my new best friend for a while.

Oh, and my horse. Riding is supposed to be OK, once I can flex that ankle enough for the stirrup. Still, I have to be able to navigate rutty farm paths to fetch her from turnout without dipping that ankle or plunging into deep, soggy spring mud. But I’m hopeful. The ground is drying up, so I may have a chance, once the ankle swelling subsides a bit.

Adapted from public domain artwork.

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Sorry, neighbor. But your dog's gotta stay away from runners.

Call me the mean dog-hater (even though I’m not.) Call me the crazy runner lady (OK, guilty). But please, just call off your dog!

I love running through the quiet neighborhood streets near my home. One little loop, measuring about 2.5 miles, winds homeward from a pleasant trail system that I enjoy.

But there’s one spot on this route that gives me pause.

It’s always the same spot – a house situated a few blocks from mine. I know the family, because we have shared some common interests and mutual friends.

That family's dog frequently charges at me and my rescue pup (who is harnessed and leashed to a cani-cross belt I wear). The assailant is not a nasty, mean, ferocious dog. But he has taken me and my dog to the ground on occasion.

This loose pet repeatedly bolts from this neighbor’s driveway and crashes right into me or my dog. Instantly, he tangles himself in my dog’s leash. I have to stop and unwind the two excited canines before we all end up rolling across the gravelly pavement (which we have done).

The problematic dog is not exactly like this.

I understand that dogs can get out unexpectedly on occasion. Leashes and tie-outs can break. Doors can slip open. My own dog has met a couple of neighbors (and especially their pets), when she has suddenly seized an opportunity to dash off for a visit.

This is different. This dog can often be found several blocks from his home. He appears to be wholly unsupervised.

This situation has persisted for several months.

Although I always pass this home on the opposite side of the street (just in case), I cannot tell you how many times this dog has sprung upon us without warning. Sure, I have kind of come to expect it. But he always surprises my young dog.

This weekend, as my LEASHED dog and I jogged up the hill in front of this particular house, their untethered dog did his thing again. I hollered, “No!” as I attempted to free my dog from the melee.

I glanced up this neighbor’s driveway and spotted a large group of folks seated there in lawn chairs.

Oh, good, I thought. Maybe someone will call off the dog.

But no. They didn't even seem to notice what was happening to us across the street.

Great, I thought. The dog is loose again, and no one is paying attention to him.

Finally, I extracted my dog and me, and we made our way up the hill towards home.

Along the way, I wrestled with the situation. Should I say something to the neighbor about the dog? I don’t enjoy those kinds of conversations or confrontations. On the other hand, this has become a dangerous dilemma. The dog has tripped us and toppled us before. He seems to have an affinity for tangling himself in my dog's own leash. I’ve even come home from there with skinned knees and ripped running pants (like my favorite Nike Pro Hyperwarm Compression Tights, which cost about as much as a big-city half marathon race entry).

The problem has persisted. It’s not a one-time thing.

Did I mention there is a strict leash law in our town?

I have friends who have paid pricey tickets, when their pooches have been caught running loose. (I have nearly panicked when my own dog has slipped away from me for a moment, worried that I might incur such a fee.)

I run almost daily, and I have logged several hundred miles already this year. Along the way, I pass countless dogs, who never approach. Sure, they may bark. But none of these pets are free to enter the public roadway. They are all contained or restrained on their own properties by fences, leashes, tethers, ties, or radio collars.

He's big and unruly, but he may just want to play like this.

Still, I pondered whether to mention the errant dog to his owner.

We’re sort of friends. I thought, What would I rather have someone do, if things were the other way around?

I keep my pup on a leash or her own run in my yard. Again, she has escaped a few times, but I’ve always caught her immediately and put her back. I don’t let her out and then go back into my house. I don't let her remain loose in the yard or driveway.

I wrestled with ways to address this whole deal.

The honest and cooperative course of action seemed to be to convey the situation clearly and directly and privately to the dog-owning neighbor. I didn’t discuss it first with other friends or neighbors, potentially besmirching the owners’ (or their dog’s) reputation. I didn’t even consider reporting the dog.

But safety smarts, common courtesy, and local laws say he should be like this.

I’m still not telling you who it was (even my local readers).

I contacted the neighbor privately, one-on-one, with carefully chosen wording. I explained that their dog seemed friendly, but that his frequent and sudden on-road rumbles with me and my leashed pet were becoming rather perilous to us. I mentioned that we had even hit the ground on multiple occasions.

And it isn't that this dog slips from his owner's grasp on occasion. This neighbor simply leaves the garage door open and lets the dog roam the neighborhood for hours on end, altogether unmonitored.

What was the neighbor's response?

She defended the dog, saying he is non-aggressive and that they’ve never had an issue with him. But she said she would tell her family. Curiously, she did not say they would find a means of containing or restraining the dog.

I hope they do, though.

If the unattended dog darts to ambush another runner and possibly another dog, I’m not sure the pet owner will receive a quiet, private heads-up on it.

Although the weather is warming up around here, things seem a little chilly along that stretch of my regular running route. But if that dog will be prevented from plunging down their driveway and barging into us (or others) in the public street, then at least we can celebrate safety.

Adapted from public domain artwork.

Feel free to follow on GooglePlus and Twitter. Please visit my Amazon author page as well.
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