Minor Injury: Anterior Tibialis Strain

I might have been a little overzealous in my mileage over the past few weeks. I was starting to taper ahead of the Philadelphia Marathon after running some pretty intense mileage and races recently. Let’s break it down:

But on Tuesday I was in Central Park, and it was a beautiful day, and it was my 30th birthday, so I thought running 14 miles couldn’t hurt anything. Around mile 12 of my birthday run, I started to feel a dull and then a bit of a sharper pain in my left shin. It didn’t feel like shin splints exactly, and it wasn’t exactly like a stress fracture. I stopped for water at mile 12 and took the last two miles back to my hotel at an easy pace.

The day before this (Monday), I bought some new boots. I also spent the day walking around New York. I found the perfect pair at Macy’s after trying on several pairs. Sometime in the middle of my boot-buying, I tried on a pair that was particularly tight around the forefoot, and I remember yanking off a boot pretty hard. I thought it kind of hurt.

Tuesday’s run was going well, but I knew the feeling wasn’t just fatigue. As the day wore on and as I tried to walk the High Line, the slight pain I felt during my run turned in to an ache. When I got back to the hotel in the afternoon, I took off my boot and noticed some swelling in my left shin about an inch and a half above my ankle. My ankle started to stiffen as the day wore on. By dinnertime, I was hobbling down the street, even with Advil.

When I woke up Wednesday morning, my shin and the front of my foot had swollen so much that I couldn’t see the main tendon in the front of my foot. The area also was bright red. I couldn’t flex or point my toes past a certain point. I tried to hop on the treadmill for a few easy miles to see if I could make it through the pain. No luck. I stuck with the elliptical and bike.

Back in D.C., I was able to see the physical therapist Wednesday afternoon. She diagnosed it as an anterior tibialis strain, which means I did some damage to the tendon in the front of my left shin. The good news is it will heal a lot faster than a stress fracture. The bad news is I’m supposed to stay off it for five days and take it easy on cross training. The best news is I might be able to run the Philadelphia Marathon. But I probably shouldn’t run that 10K I was planning to do this weekend.

I’m incredibly grumpy if I don’t exercise, so I ran a few very slow (10- to 11-minute) miles for the past few days. The pain is pretty minimal right now, and the swelling is nearly gone.

I have two tiny exercises I am doing as well.

Stretch ankle PF sitting

  • Sit in chair.
  • Place top of involved foot down as shown.
  • Slowly sit forward in chair, pushing down on foot until stretch is felt.
  • Relax and repeat.
  • Perform one set of two repetitions, twice a day.
  • Hold exercise for 10 seconds.


Stretch Gastroc sit w/towel

  • Sit as shown, looping towel around ball of foot.
  • Gently and steadily pull on towel, keeping knee straight.
  • Perform one set of two repetitions, twice a day.
  • Hold exercise for 10 seconds.

Also on top of all this craziness with a running injury and turning 30 and a fun trip, I start a new job on Nov. 11 at The Washington Post. I’m adding getting past the ankle strain to my list of things to be excited about.

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Amanda runs nearly every day. She likes data and avoids deer at all costs.