Hip Update and MRI Results

November 14, 2016

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This was not how things were supposed to go.

I had everything planned out. I was going to train hard through this winter, have an amazing racing season new year, break 3 hours in the marathon next fall, and then hunker down and have babies. All I needed was one more summer of competitive running, and then I was going to be satisfied. (Never mind the fact I don’t know if I will ever be satisfied with my PRs. It’s the overachiever in me.) But I am finally sleeping 7 or 8 hours straight each night (after sleeping 5 or 6 hours each night with 2 or 3 wake-ups each night), Cullen is more independent, we are in a good routine, and I was on the upswing with my training. I didn’t clinch my sub-3 hours marathon this past summer, but I would have had it not been for the crazy hot weather at Grandma’s.

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But as with everything in my life, things never go as planned. My type-A does not like this. I like it when I have a plan, and all I have to do is stick to the plan and everyone is happy.

If you have been following along, you know I have been dealing with hip flexor pain since mid-June. It didn’t bother me during the marathon, but after taking a full week off, it started up after my return to running. I went and saw two different physical therapists, a massage therapist, and two chiropractors these last four months. All of them pretty much said I had the same thing: tendonitis of my hip flexor–and each one had a different approach to heal it, which I appreciated. However, I still wasn’t seeing results, so I took a full month off: no exercising at all.

I tried running after this break, but the pain was still there. My next approach was ART (active release technique), and I finally started to see results and thought I was on the mend. I started with a run/walk program and slowly increased from one mile of pain-free running to three miles and then four. But after several weeks of only being able to increase by 0.5 mile each week and still having pain/discomfort on every run, I finally decided to bite the bullet and go in for an MRI.

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I went in for my appointment on Tuesday and basically told the doctor I was just there to get a referral for an MRI. They did an x-ray, and the only thing he comment about it was the “socket” (of my “ball and socket” joint) did not completely cover the greater trochanter (“ball”). He didn’t say anything about this leading to injury or that I should do anything about it. He did a couple tests on my hips, but nothing bothered me, so he wasn’t really sure what was going on.

On Thursday morning I went in for my MRI. They injected a dye into my hip in order to see more on the MRI, and they also gave me a steroid to help with the pain. The doctor said the steroid would only help if it was a labral tear. During the MRI, I laid in a giant tube contraption for about 20 – 25 minutes while the machine sounded like it was breaking and there was a machine gun going off. They told me it would take a couple of days to get the results back, so I tried not to think about it too much and was pretty much expecting not to hear anything until Monday. Friday afternoon I posted on Instagram that I had finally gotten an MRI, but I didn’t know the results yet. Literally five minutes after posting that, I got the call from the doctor.

I was anxious to finally get an answer, but I also was scared and hoping for the worst: 2-3 months of physical therapy before I could get back to running. Then he revealed the news that was even worse than I had even thought possible. He said I tore the labrum in my hip.

 

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Say what?! A torn labrum. Every professional I saw had ruled this out because I didn’t have any of the classic symptoms. There’s no way. How can this be? I had been training for 1.5 years since having Cullen with no problems whatsoever. How did this develop out of nowhere, all of a sudden?

Apparently I have a cam lesion (bony protrusion) on the neck of my femur that caused the tear to the labrum. From my understanding, this tear would have happened eventually, so it wasn’t induced by over training or anything I did in my training. This makes me feel good that it wasn’t something I did; it would have happened eventually. However, since I have run so much already, the extra wear and tear caused the tear to happen earlier in my life.

So what does this mean? Surgery. Yes, arthroscopic surgery on my hip to shave the cam lesion down and repair the labrum. I had only heard of this injury a couple years ago when my friend had the same thing happen to her.

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This is how Cullen and I feel about this situation.

I am beyond devastated. I wanted nothing more than to keep training and capitalize on the fitness I had worked so hard to gain the last 2 years since Cullen was born. But life has to go on. There’s no sense is living in the past, kicking myself for not going in sooner or wondering what I could have done differently. Hindsight is always 20/20, and at the time I was making the best decision for me and my situation with the information I was given. Now it is time to figure out when I’ll have the surgery and who I should see to have it done. (I briefly thought about not having the surgery, but let’s be realistic, giving up running for the rest of my life is not an option.) The sooner I can have the surgery the better, so I can get back to running as soon as possible.

While I find myself wallowing in my situation, I then remind myself: this is not a career-ending injury! I will run again one day! So while this is a detour to my big, dream goal of a sub-3 hour marathon. I am still going to work my butt off to try and clinch that dream of mine. Maybe it will, maybe it won’t work out, but I am sure going to try!

16 Comments
    1. Wow, after reading about this, I bet this is what happened to me! I came out of a squat and my hip popped and caused severe pain. I took almost a year out of the gym, other that doing really minimal stuff, because the pain was so bad. I couldn’t even sleep the night that I hurt it because the pain was so severe. I was at the beginning of a travel assignment for work though, so I never had an MRI. Now it’s been 3 years and I still have issues with my hip. And the pain is exactly where it says it would be for labral tears. Interesting. Good luck with the surgery! At least you finally know what the problem is so you can fix it!

    1. Oof. I am so so sorry to hear it. I know it’s devastating. But at least the mystery is solved? A runner friend of mine had the same surgery, and she was running again ~5/6 months after her diagnosis & procedure, so I am certain you are right — the detour is finite & you will definitely definitely be back to running in not too-too terribly long.

      1. I’ve heard the same thing. . . about 5 – 6 months to return to running, which really isn’t that long.

    1. Michelle I’m so sorry to hear about this, what seems like a huge boulder in the road to your fitness goals. It’s frustrating when things don’t work out like you wanted them to. How great that you found out what was going on and can get that taken care of. How long is the recovery for the surgery? Wishing and praying for a successful surgery and a speedy recovery.

      1. About one month with crutches, 3 months until I could run, and 5-6 months to return to regular training, which isn’t that long in the grand scheme of things. . .it is just figuring out how to balance that with wanting to have more kids.

        1. Right, not too bad but how to time that recovery, your training, and when to have kids. Can’t we still be young, be in shape and have kids all at the same time? Ugh! haha

      1. Very timely as your most recent newsletter just talked about this.

    1. So sorry to hear this Michelle!! It’s so frustrating when timing and plans don’t work out the way you think they will… and I’m a planner too so I totally relate. At least you have a diagnosis and a plan for treatment — even if things don’t happen the way you want them to, that’s something, right? I hope that you’re back at it in no time!

    1. Hi Michelle,

      I was just diagnosed with the same exact thing: a partially torn anterosuperior labrem and mild spurring of the acetabelum. Next Wednesday, I am receiving an injection directly into the hip under anesthesia and x-ray. Hopefully, this releives the pain and restores strength and movement. I feel your pain and will you know this works for me.

      Matthew

      1. They did give me a steroid right before the MRI, and I think that has helped me so far, but it is not a permanent fix.

    1. Bummer. So, so sorry about the torn labrum. But glad that you’ve finally zeroed in on the problem, and have a firm solution. And while I know that you’re devastated, you also seem to be holding tight to a pretty good attitude, which is admirable. And the cool thing is that you’ll be back running again by summer. Big hugs, and take care.

    1. I’m really sorry to hear this. But you have a diagnosis and a plan, and you will run again!!! If you have to take time off from running, winter is the time to do it, right? Something good will come of all this in the end.

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