Tuesday, March 2, 2010

that's what the internet is for...to scare myself!


So a couple of weeks ago I've been starting to have pains in my lower left calf during my regular Body Attack classes. It usually starts at the part of the seriously intense high-leg jumping and shuffles. What happens is after the high-impact part my calf starts to hurt at the lower back part, and gets progressively worse as the class goes on. It hurts the most when I land on the ground after I jump. When I'm not exercising I feel fine. Even when I'm at the gym either on running on the treadmill or on the elliptical it's quite okay.

And today after my class it was acting up just a little bit more than usual, and that got me a little worried.

It doesn't feel like muscle pain to me since I've had lots of that in the past and I know how it feels like! Normally if I get muscle pain post-exercise it definitely happens in both legs. And 'normal' muscle pain goes away after a few sessions - the muscles are trained to get stronger and the pain gets lesser. But this? It's there with me at every body attack class. It doesn't seem to be getting worse, just that it always acts up after every class and it's SO bothersome!

I didn't feel it was serious enough to warrant a visit to the local GP; I would feel foolish sitting in the GP's room describing my symptoms. Silly it may be, but I felt the GP would be laughing at me and send me home with some NSAIDs. Or would he?

So I did what every self-respecting future medical professional would: go on the internet and search for possible diagnosis.

And scared the shit out of myself.

I typed 'calf hurts after high impact exercise' and guess what turned up the most?

Something called 'shin splints'!

Apparently it's very common in runners and people who take part in high-impact exercises. The condition is due to microfractures of the shin bone (tibia) and it happens when people don't warm up properly before exercising (that's me!). It happens especially when runners run on incline surfaces or hard ones (again, that's me - for the incline part). It will heal on its own, but it's quite difficult and needs lots of rest (definitely not for me!).

So now that I'm properly scared, the next step would be to google 'how to diagnose shin splints'.

Well, this website gave this answer, which I'm going to quote directly:

Press your fingertips along your shin, and if you can find a definite spot of sharp pain, it's a sign of a stress fracture; the pain of shin splints is more generalized. "Usually stress fractures feel better in the morning because you've rested the bone all night," says Letha Griffin, M.D., an Atlanta orthopedic surgeon who specializes in sports medicine. "Shin splints are worse in the morning because the soft tissue tightens overnight--you get out of bed, and you can hardly walk."

"Shin splints will be most painful if you forcibly try to lift your foot up at the ankle," says Sheldon Laps, D.P.M., a podiatrist in the Washington, D.C., area. "If you flex your foot and it hurts, it's probably shin splints." Also, a horizontal rather than vertical line of tenderness across the bone is typical of a stress fracture, says Pribut.

Well, well!
So far so good.
My left foot doesn't hurt when I flex it, and I've never had problems walking after I wake up in the morning.
And all other website stated that inflammation will occur when people get shin splints, and my left calf doesn't seem to be swelling.
(Or even if it is, I wouldn't be able to see it properly since my calves are so huge...hahaha)

So final diagnosis?
Not a shin splint.

There's another condition called the compartment syndrome, but my symptoms don't fit the diagnosis.

So what is it?.....

I really don't know.

I'm hoping that it isn't something more sinister.
It's during times like this that I hope I'd taken up medicine instead of pharmacy, so I can simply diagnose myself. So convenient!

Friends, any answers?


Jun Xian said...

Just go to the damn doctor if you're worried. It's part of their job to laugh at you worrywarts for no reason. I imagine your friends in medic proper will soon be facing legions of people like you anyway, in this age when anyone with an internet connection is a personal diagnostician.

I mean, I'm certain they already see tons of people coming in whining for no reason anyway, they won't even notice one more. I'm more afraid they would just give you Vicodin and send you home when it was actually something serious.

It should be free anyway, right, if you have medical insurance?

No reason to worry yourself unecessarily or suffer from lack of peace of mind when the solution is both simple and accesible--SEE A DOCTOR.

cynthia said...

looking back at my post, I can't believe I actually managed to write a 700-word essay on something so menial and small. Sometimes I really tabik myself!

Anyway, trust someone like you to state the obvious. Not Your Style. You should be saying something sarcastic about what a puny little chicken I am, who freaks out at every little pain in her body.

Or perhaps not. =P