I went for the ultrasound of my leg today. And believe me, that leg was “good and aggravated” by the time I had my appointment. I hiked up my right pant leg and the technician did her thing. I heard the computer give a little “ding” every time she selected an area to highlight.
Afterwards, she went and got the doctor. He came in and had a look… The he felt my leg and said, “What IS that? Is that muscle?” prodding my shin. He gave me a wink and said, “Are you just showing off your big muscles?”
“Hardly!” I said, looking at my puffy leg.
He said that the fascia was intact, and seemed puzzled. Said he’d had another patient who presented with similar symptoms not long ago. His suspicion is that the muscle has grown faster and bigger than the fascia can handle and so, the fascia has stretched (in the same way that you could stretch Saran Wrap, without tearing it). The muscle bulges out of this stretched area, causing swelling and pain.
He examined my other leg, to do a comparison… No swelling there… Why it would happen in one leg and not the other is beyond me, unless it is related to the knee somehow…
He said, “My guess is that the muscle has grown too big too quickly for the fascia to handle it.”
I looked at him like he was nuts. It’s not like I take steroids… or even supplements. I stay away from all that crap. I stick to the Canada Food Guide pretty religiously… Though if I have too much of anything, it is probably red meat. I cannot imagine how my leg muscle could have grown so fast that it stretched out my fascia… and only on one side??? That’s nuts! But then again… I am no medical professional.
“What can I do about it?” I asked.
“Stop.” He said. “Stop exercising. Stop living. Stop breathing. Otherwise, I don’t think there’s much you can do. Probably if you stopped exercising completely, it would go away. If I hadn’t seen that other case, I wouldn’t have known what to think. It’s totally weird… The stretched fascia is all I can think of.”
I said, “Would weight training make it worse, do you think?”
He replied, “Oh very likely. I’m not a big fan of weights myself…But wait and see what the sports medicine specialist says… He’s the expert, not me.”
I left happy, knowing that the fascia is not torn.
I left unhappy, having been told to “stop exercising” and that there was no clear (preliminary) diagnosis. I was also unhappy to hear that weight training is probably making it worse.
Not only has weight training become one activity I like, given that I am barred from running and all other “land cardio”, it is also one activity I can do... have learned to do... And have developed a modest amount of confidence in doing. Not to mention that certain exercises are part of my physiotherapist-prescribed rehab for the knee.
I will wait and see what the sports med specialist says next Friday. In the meantime, I have eliminated calf-raises from my weight training program and lowered the weights on exercises that impact my calves.
I have Googled “stretched fascia” and came up with nothing… Sites on plantar fasciitis and tummy tucks… that’s it.
So, if anyone out there has ever heard of this, please leave a comment. So far, this has stumped my physiotherapist, the ultra sound doctor and the sports medicine specialist.
What gets me is I’m not a top level athlete. I’m not even a middle-level athlete. Hell, I’d be lucky to be allowed at the back of the pack! Argh!!
Oh yeah… on a good note, my first swimming class went well yesterday. I won’t post details, as this post is already long, so I’ll just say that it was good. More details in a future post.