Thursday, March 19, 2009

Unable to Run - Hip Pain Revisited

After the marathon I took 4 days completely off and then slogged through 2 miles. I took it extremely slow and it still hurt but wasn't unbearable. I felt better afterward, though. Took a couple more days off and slowly ran four miles. Didn't hurt near as much and I was starting to feel better. Keep alternating days off and short, slow runs for the next week and then started building back up.

This seemed to work well, but since the latter stages of my training and certainly after the marathon I began having more and more trouble bending my right leg at the hip after runs. After the marathon I could barely reach down to untie my shoes. I just assumed my hip trauma (see previous post) was just not happy with all this running. I have lived every day of my life since the accident with pain in my hip, so I really just blew it off. For the most part, once I started running I really didn't have much pain - many times I had no pain while running. The pain was always after I finished. It would go away, sometimes with the help of ibuprofen, sometimes that wasn't required.

I generally ran 40-48 miles per week from December through mid-February. The after-run pain had increased enough to start being a concern, but I thought it was likely muscular in nature so I decided to take a week off from running. I did continue my fitness by doing elliptical work.

After the week off my hip felt a lot better but soon went back to feeling how it did in the prior couple of months. I decided to just deal with the pain and tried to ice my hip as much as possible and do more stretching. Last week after a speed-work run I felt worse than I had in years. It was painful to put much pressure on my right side and my hip was really hurting.

The next morning the pain was still evident, so then and there I decided I had to stop running and go see a doctor. I do not enjoy going to the doctor which is part of the reason I procrastinated so long.

I saw my GP last Thursday and explained the situation and he took x-rays. I knew there wasn't a whole lot he was going to tell me, but I had to see him before I could go to an orthopedic surgeon. The x-ray did show that part of my hip appeared that it is likely grinding against my pelvis. Just great. The area that appears to be grinding is at the head of the femoral neck where the new bone grew over the previous break.

The grinding does make sense as the problem. It could cause bone spurs and cartilage damage, which appears to be technically caused by
Femoroacetabular Impingement (FAI), which I have never heard of but the description and symptoms sound like what I'm experiencing. I fear there is a stress fracture on the hip, pelvis or both.

My appointment with the ortho doc is not until next week, so I've been stressing worrying about what this is going to be and what it's going to take to fix it. I want to get back to running. That's my main concern. Maybe it's just rest, but I don't figure that's going to be the answer. I'm thinking best case will be an arthroscopy where the extra bone is broken off and damaged cartilage removed. Worse cases would be either a hip resurfacing or a total hip replacement. I hope whatever the decision is allows me to run again and be able to tie my shoes without pain.

The doctor told me elliptical work is okay for the time being as long as it's not hurting to do so. I've been doing elliptical every day and I'm not any worse. I'm also prepared to do water jogging but I hope I don't have to resort to that. I have to do something to keep my cardio up or I'll go crazy and probably gain weight.

Only 5 more days until I get some answers.

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