I was pretty sure how that appointment would go: he'd take a good look at my leg, ask me some questions, determine he could not tell what the problem was, and refer me to an orthopedist. It's a little dance the two of us have done before, and sure enough, that's exactly what happened this time. The only things that were different were that he gave me a prescription for some pain meds... and that his nurse misunderstood me when I said I ran a half marathon. Apparently she took that to mean that I ran half of a marathon; that is, that I tried to run a marathon, hurt my leg, and only ran half of it.
If that's not a strong argument for re-naming that race, I don't know what is.
So, I spent Monday through today hobbling along. The leg has gotten a bit better every day, but I still look pretty pitiful. I was really eager to see the orthopedist today and find out what was what.
They started out by doing an x-ray of my leg. Then, I met with the doctor and she asked me some good questions about my injury, how long it had been bothering me, how severe the pain was, and how many miles I run at any given time.
She showed me my x-ray and said that she is 95% sure that it is not a stress fracture. Without a bone scan, she can't tell for sure, but evidence is that it is instead a stress reaction.
I know: stress reaction sounds totally made up. But I got a second opinion from Dr. Google. He explains that it is a trauma to the bone that doesn't actually fracture it. Silly name, bona-fide injury common in the tibia in distance runners.
So, here's the plan: no running for a while, though biking and swimming and the like are fine. Gradual return to running. I invest in a pair of orthotics. And I am also investigating the possibility of some physical therapy to build strength.
It's sad to be injured, but I know it could be a lot worse. And come next spring, I'll be back and ready to race more half marathons.