Sunday, March 8, 2015

Injury Update

When I left you last time I had just scheduled an appointment with a bone/joint specialist. That week I put up 23 miles, which included 12 miles at the gym (11 miles on the treadmill and 1 on the track) on Sunday.  I guess I wanted the hip nice and visible for the doc the next day.

Before I continue, I just want to remind you that I never really have a pain in my left hip.  I have discomfort like a dull ache if I sit or lay down for a long period of time.  I do not have an issue, standing, walking, or running; however, I do have a slight limp.  It causes my form to change slightly give me shin splint concerns on my right leg when I run.

On Monday I arrived at the medical center and they sent me directly to x-rays.  I had three photos of my man hips and off to wait for the hip doc.  He came in and did some odd tests (hold your arms over head, look left/right, do the Macarena).  I figured these were mostly to confirm that I'm willing to follow directions in the event he tells me to do something really stupid... like stop running.

He said I had a femoral acetabular impingement (FAI).  Basically the head of my femur has a bit of a bump on it and it can cause irritation to the tissue around it.  It's something that I grew up with.  Based off of the always-truthful-internet-medical websites, having an active lifestyle can cause it to cause pain much earlier in life or it might not be a problem at all.

According to the doc, the only permanent solution is surgery to remove the 'bump' but he didn't recommend it.  He asked me to convert to water running for the next 4 to 6 weeks, pick up more strength training, go to Physical Therapy, take prescribed steroids, daily Ibuprofen, and then check back in with him.

Uh....  Boston Marathon is "4 to 6 weeks".  I told him that and so he modified the 'script.  Go to PT, iburprofen, and water running for 2 to 3 weeks.  Then convert to track running.. blah.

So I left feeling lost.  Seriously lost.  How in the hell is water running going to truly prepare me for -Boston?  It's not.  How am I going to run 26.2 with very little pre-pounding on my legs?  Sure.  Track running will help but doing 80 laps on a track?  Probably not what he had in mind anyway.  I was pretty bummed.  I decided not to go into the office that afternoon and work from home.  My mind was having trouble focusing though.

I called the PT to setup an appointment and then talked to my coach.  I told him I still want to run Boston. I didn't quite gauge his response to that but we already know it's not going to be a PR.  In fact, it's going to be a PW (personal worst).  Frankly, I'm mostly fine with that; although, I'm sure I will fly home knowing I have unfinished business.

That night I went to Masters Swim class.  A fellow swimmer was a family physician and when I told him what I had, he said he had one too and dealt with it.  He said "FAI" is a popular diagnosis.  That didn't exactly make me feel any better but gave me the confidence I can manage it when I'm through with this bout.  In fact, my friend Jill had one but had it dealt with surgically while she had hip surgery for a torn labrum.

Luckily, my PT appointment was the next day (Tuesday) at 4:30pm.  I had high hopes. I also had a full slate of meetings that afternoon.  My last one for the day was a few blocks away, so I left a bit early so I could move my truck right next to the building in order to leave right after it was over.  When I got to the truck, the battery was dead.  Just my freaking luck.  I was not parked in a place conducive for jumping with all the other vehicles parked around.  I was stuck.  I didn't have any time to get a jump and make my appointment.  CRAP!  I didn't want to miss it and delay anything!

My knight-ess in shining armor saved me.  TKB was able to cut out of the office early and pick me up in plenty of time.  That actually worked out quite well to have her at the appointment too.

Once I got to meet the PT, Ross, he immediately did an assessment. My left leg was shorter than my right leg.  Finally, something made sense!!  Up to this point, it seemed like every medical professional I talked to was just following some script and pushed me off to the next person.

So my left leg was shorter, which was causing a slight limp. That translates to a shin splint on my right leg. Along with having something that made sense, he had me do this particular PT exercise.  It took 1 minute.  He did the assessment again and, viola, leg length normal.  So I had a muscle imbalance, not shorter bones, that needed to be corrected.

He asked me to continue doing this exercise every couple hours and come back on Thursday.  He also told me what I didn't want to hear: No running.  To put icing on the cake, no cycling either.  He didn't want anything that could jeopardize pinpointing the exact cause of the muscle imbalance. Fine.  Swimming was approved though. After two days of bad news and my truck giving me a slight heart attack early that day, I needed a win.  I needed something.  So TKB took me to Freddy's Frozen Custard and Steakburgers for dinner.  It was delicious and, yes, so worth it.

My next appointment was two days later, on Thursday.  I had to be honest with him.  My hip wasn't doing any better.  It was still sore when sitting and laying down.  To say it didn't feel as bad was difficult because it never hurts that bad.  In fact, he did the hip length assessment and my left leg had gotten even shorter!  WTF!  He had me do the weird exercise and, viola, normal.  Argh!

So he gave me some more exercises to do.  He has me foam roll for 20 minutes on my left quad and hamstring to loosen up the muscles and then a quad strengthening exercise.  All in all, it takes about 30 minutes.  Knowing that I have a $40 out of pocket expense for every session, he asked me to call him on Monday or Tuesday to see how things are progressing.  If things are doing better, he would green light some running.  I'm not sure if he told me that to motivate me through 20 minutes of foam rolling hell or what.  This also gives me a mental struggle to figure out how to objectively determine if I'm truly getting better.  That's so difficult when sometimes it's hard to tell if it is sore because I'm sitting down all freaking day or it truly isn't healed.

So it is Sunday night and I'm about to do my 30 minutes of fun.  Here's to hoping it helps kick this issue!

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