I’ve always loved to run. I’ve been doing it off and on for years. I’ve always wanted to run a marathon one day. So, earlier this year I signed up for my first half-marathon, which is in October. I run for my hero, Harlan, and was trying to set up something to where I could get pledges for the races that I run in. All the donations would then go to Harlan’s Heroes. I even created my own website to keep track of my progress. I’m not fast at all, and even though it may be hard for me to take the first few steps out the door, I always feel better afterwards. That is, until August 22nd. I had just finished my first 10k with a great time (at least for me). The course was full of rolling hills but I got through it. Afterwards, I felt a small pain in my right hip but it didn’t last long and wasn’t anything I worried about. That afternoon we had my daughter’s birthday party and I felt fine.
I didn’t run on Sunday, August 23rd.
Monday night I thought to myself, “I should go for a run”. It was supposed to be an easy run, but I turned it into a hard run and ran my 2nd fastest time ever for a short distance. Throughout the run I could feel my hip starting to hurt more and more. I came home and did a lot of stretches, trying to stretch it out. Then I went to sit in a chair at the table. After that, any time I turned, stood up, walked, or turned over in bed, I would get this awful shooting pain deep in my hip joint. The first few steps were the most painful and when I drove, the lifting of my thigh to move my foot from the gas pedal to the brake would cause the same shooting pain. Uh-oh.
I’m not one to run to the doctor as soon as I or my kids are sick…it usually takes something like a really bad cold not going away after 2 weeks or a broken bone for me to go to the doctor. But I felt like this was more than a sprain. Especially since I’ve never had hip pain before. So, Tuesday I called the orthopedic office that we have used a lot and tried to make an appointment. They said the soonest she had was at the end of September. What??!!! No thanks. So, Tuesday night I went to their Orthopedic Urgent Care office.
I told the doctor what my symptoms were, he examined me and moved my leg all kinds of different ways, and took x-rays. Then he told me that he thought I had hip impingement with a labral tear. Even in all my Googling, I didn’t come across these terms before I went in. He tried explaining it to me but half of what he said went over my head because I’m not that educated with medical terms and names of bones. The fact that moving my hip a certain way reproduced my pain, my symptoms, and he could make my hip make a sound that he said it shouldn’t be making all pointed to this impingement/labral tear.
I told him about me training for a half-marathon and he said that if I wanted to and was able to run through the pain that I could keep training and then have arthroscopic surgery after my race. I was thinking then that there would be no way that I can run through this pain. Still today (9/2/15) I have trouble walking, much less running. He did say that I could get a cortisone shot and maybe that would allow me to run through it for a while. He said that it depends on what the MRI shows as to how we proceed…surgery sooner or surgery later. But, it sounded like surgery was likely.
They scheduled my MRI for Sunday, but then called me two days before and cancelled it because my insurance hadn’t approved it yet. So, I was finally able to go in on 9/1/15. The MRI only took about 20 minutes and hopefully I’ll know something tomorrow at my appointment.
I had my appointment with the sports medicine doctor. He came in and asked me all sorts of questions and did more tests by moving my leg around. He pulled up my x-rays and asked me if the urgent care doctor explained what he thought it was. I said yes and he then said that he would explain his take on them…so I was thinking then that it had to be something different. He showed me my x-rays and said that top of my femur/ball that goes into the hip joint was perfectly round and there was nothing that showed any impingement. He said the space around that bone had enough space around it so it didn’t look like there was any cartilage damage. Then he pulled up my MRI images. He told me that anything in black was muscle or bone and that white was liquid.
The arrow is pointing to the stress fracture. He said I shouldn’t be putting any weight on my right leg and that I will need to use crutches for 6-8 weeks. He also showed me areas on the MRI where there were blobs in the ball (I guess the technical name is the head of the femoral neck).
He said that this was called avascular necrosis, which happens when there is blood loss to the bone. And when bones don’t have a blood supply, they can die. The stress fracture should heal, but he said that if the follow-up MRI still shows this avascular necrosis, they will have to go in and operate. That operation didn’t sound like fun…he said they will go in and drill holes into the femoral neck, drain out what is there and then put my own blood, bone, and cadaver bone back into the center of that ball in hopes of essentially keeping that bone alive. I don’t know where my own bone will come from, I’ve read that they take it from another part of the leg but I don’t exactly know. If I have to have that, it sounds like I will be on crutches throughout the rest of the year.
When I was little I always wanted to have a reason to use crutches. They just seemed so fun. But I never had an injury that caused me to need them. So yesterday when the doctor said they would bring them to me, I was a little excited because I would finally get to swing on crutches! The nurse brought them in, made sure they fit, and showed me how to use them. I hobbled out to the check-out desk and then started on the hike to my car. By this time I was already sweating, my underams were already hurting because I had on a sleeveless shirt, and my already-loose pants were starting to fall down because I had to put things in my pockets, because I obviously couldn’t carry them in my hands. So, the novelty of the crutches wore off in less than 10 minutes. I had to go across the street to get labwork done and when I finally made it to the desk, they asked if I wanted a wheelchair. I gladly took it and let them push me around. By that time, any pride I had of thinking that this would be easy was gone. Haha. You don’t realize how simple some things are until you have to do them with one leg. Like opening doors. Especially heavy ones that close on their own at work. Or walking to my desk – those things are so loud and clanky that everyone around can hear me coming from around the corner. No chance of me sneaking in late now 🙂 And stairs. I still haven’t figured out the best way to do them yet! At least I’ll have some arm muscles by the time all this is over 🙂
I found this article and it gave me a pretty good laugh: