A photo on the website fasterskier.com showing Alaska Olympic skier Kikkan Randall in a walking boot was cause to pause. She incurred a foot injury in early August during a training camp in Sweden.
Then Randall flew to Vail, Colo., to visit Dr. Tom Clanton, a foot and ankle specialist who has treated former Houston Rockets center Yao Ming among other athletes, according to Fasterskier.com. An MRI indicated there was fluid around the bone in Randall's right foot.
Randall is also coping with an Achilles injury in her left foot, a problem that started in March during the World Cup skiathlon in Lahti, Finland.
Now the doctor is banning Randall from such impact sports as running and skiing, but she is allowed to swim to maintain fitness. She can also bike and work on double-poling to strengthen her upper body.
A three-time Olympian, Randall is the best female cross-country skier ever in America. She won a silver medal in a sprint race at the 2009 world champioships and won the prestigious World Cup sprint title this past season.
"The frustrating thing with both these injuries is they're so subtle I can train through them, but it's a matter of should I train through them," Randall told Fasterskier.com. "Eventually the Achilles could get worse and you can get into some serious problems with that. And, of course, with bone fractures, that could be a serious problem, too. It's the one time in your life when you have to not be tough and take signs and rest a little bit."