Hip-Checked

no_grumpy_cat_wallpaper-medium-290x200Reality has hit with a thud. But it was a soft landing, and I am already getting back up. Slowly… But I am. I even have a cane!

Last week I was grumpy, so I stayed away from my blog. I did not want to fill my little tiny corner of the Interwebs with my grumpiness.  We have Grumpy Cat for that (look at that adorableness!)

Also? I didn’t know what to write. I was down in the dumps and pity-partying.

I finally gave in to the pain and hobbled to the Emergency room last week to have someone look at my right leg and foot. I was beginning to worry it was a blood clot or something more sinister than a pulled muscle/tendon. The pain was getting worse, and travelling up my leg. Not a good sign, people.

The doctor looked me over, said it was indeed likely a muscle pull, that I needed a few days of complete rest, physiotherapy, and perhaps not run for a few weeks. OK. *cue sadface*. But, I had, in my hot little hand, a prescription for physio, so I could claim  the visit fees. Yes!

The leg, after a weekend of some activity and some rest is much better, the toes still sore, but manageable. So last night, at my physio intake assessment, we decided to focus on my hip for now, and look at gait and locomotion later on. My goal, as we decided, was to identify why the hip has gotten this way, and how we can best work towards prevention in the future as I get back to doing what I really want to do, which is run, do obstacle races, weight train, and kick some serious butt being active.

Some things became apparently clear as he made me do a bunch of fun exercises akin to getting stopped by the RIDE program on a Saturday night (Not that I have ever done that, I’ve seen it plenty).

  1. I have very weak quads. When I had to use them to press back on the therapist’s hold on my leg, I collapsed like a jumble of carrots.
  2. MY hamstrings are compensating for my weak quads, and could hold up a Mack truck, if asked.
  3. My calf muscles are very tight, and the left one is bigger than the right. Why? See #4.
  4. My left leg is shorter than my right (no surprise there). Not by much, but enough that a) I over-pronate more on that side which b) makes my hip, IT Band, and calf work harder, which c) causes #alltheproblems.
  5. My right toe pain is likely because they take more impact than my left toes, due to the leg length issue + compensation for the issues on my left side.
  6. I have a click in my left hip when I raise the leg up to 90 degrees and bring it back down that the therapist did not like.

it-band-and-trochanteric-bursa2So the diagnosis of bursitis is correct (the previous doctor’s fat shaming wasn’t). Basically, the IT Band gets hella tight, it rubs on the bursae sac that cushions it from the Trocanter, and voila, irritation. With the irritation comes gait compensation, which leads to the muscle imbalance. Erg. The diagram on the left kinda explains it better. The red thing is the IT Band (as labelled), the yellow thing is the bursae.

From what I can gather, this is not an uncommon problem for runners. I can kick myself a little for ignoring the soreness, which caused further damage.  I can also kick myself for not focusing more on my quads. However, not all of it is my fault, since some of it comes from my body and how it is made.

The therapist was surprised my knees weren’t sore because of my tight IT Bands. He was also really surprised I was not in a lot of pain, given the mobility differences left to right, and what stretches caused my hip to hurt. He said I should have been in agony when he bent my leg back. I wasn’t. it was uncomfortable, but not screamy-type pain.

This indicated I have gotten used to it, and that my pain threshold is high. Goody?

So the plan is this:

  • Two visits a week to yon physiotherapist for a month or so to get working on the various stiff, sore and needy spots on my body.
  • RMT twice a month
  • Orthotic assessment once the hip is working better (i.e. I can move freely)
  • MRI done to rule out any other issues in the hip
  • Return to strength exercises once the irritation is gone, focusing on rebuilding some of the imbalances
  • Return to running once my hip is pain free, and my right leg is completely healed, starting with low, slow mileage, no speed work for some time, no hills for some time.
  • Ongoing physio for the imbalances until the therapist deems me “solved”

I’m happy to be starting a more regimented plan to get better. I am tired of being in pain. As usual, I had no idea how much pain I was in until I stopped running and really listened to my body, instead of pushing through. I’ll admit, I was doing the “what if” thing, worried I would have to stop running, worried I was going to have to drastically alter my fitness goals. Worried I was going to have to simply deal with pain for the rest of my life.

Numpty. I will get better and I will get back out there. Just might take awhile.

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