Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Injury Update: Femoral Neck Stress Reaction

Hey ho... so as it seems to be customary on this blog, I went underground while healing from my femoral neck stress reaction.

Im now back to running, but wanted to fill in the gaps of what I've done in the last 10 weeks by way of cross-training and rehab.

Bullet points work best when you have tons of thoughts and are a shitty blogger. So here is the run (HAR HAR) down of my injury.
  • SYMPTOMS: very very minor groin pain, prior to racing a half marathon. During race, I experienced no pain, but could not warm down afterwards. Pain was in the front of the hip and was at about an 8-9 on the pain scale (with weight bearing). I could not hop or climb stairs and hip had a "giving out" feeling. No aches at night, like a traditional stress fracture, however.
  • DIAGNOSIS: stress reaction, precursor to a stress fracture in the femoral neck. Via MRI.
  • CAUSE: Diet, mostly. Low to moderate bone density due to too low calorie intake and not enough calcium/Vitamin D, coupled with high mileage (55+ pw).
  • TREATMENT PLAN: 8 weeks no running. 3 weeks completely off, with only 2 short elliptical and 3 swim sessions, when I was still undiagnosed.
  • CROSS-TRAINING: 5 weeks of cross training and LIGHT leg strength. I cross-trained mostly on the ProCore ellipticals; the ones where you can crank up the incline so you're only using your gluts. It took all the impact off my hip and I experienced no pain using them. 
  •  STRENGTH: I managed about one leg strength (pain/discomfort dependent) session per week, with either light weights or body weight. I also did about one core session (plus random planks) and one upper body session per week.
  • REHAB: Stretching, lots of hip flexor, glut and ITB stretches. Foam rolling, especially ITB and quads.
  • DIET CHANGES: in addition to more overall calories, I added, daily, a cup of greek yogurt, a chocolate milk, a cup of plain almond milk and a Vitamin D/Calcium supplement at night.
  • RETURN TO RUNNING:I am using this plan, by Pfizinger, for returning to running after a stress fracture. I am presently on week 3, and am running every second or third day, depending entirely on how my hip feels. If Im feeling any discomfort (which only ever is about a 1 on the pain scale) or weakness in the injured area, Im NOT running. 
That last bullet point identifies the hardest part of recovery for me, and probably most runners. When you're aaaaaalmost 100% but not quite. But as I told a friend recently, recovery is not a race with a finish line. Its a process that takes time; and is frequently two steps forward, one step back. Its important to be in touch with your OWN body, and adapt to ITS healing schedule; rather than the advertised "healing time" for your injury... or even what your doctor has projected. I think we're all guilty of just deciding "Ok, its been 8 weeks! Should be recovered now, so off to run!", regardless of how the injury actually feels. Frequently our bodies just dont adhere to anyone else's schedule but their own.

Anyway, enough of that preachyness. I'll be back in a day or two to give you a much more important life update! 

~ Penny


  1. You're moving in the right direction, so that's great news! Keep on healing strong.

    1. Aww thanks Gracie. Injury SUCKS. Dont have to tell you... xx

  2. So glad you are back to running (and blogging) :) I like your approach! You'll be back stronger and faster in no time! K

    1. Yaaaay! Glad to be (sort of) back. Glad also to have your good example to follow :)

  3. Good luck! I've had a FNSF in one hip and a reaction in the other. NO fun. FNSF=months of no running. Sending you strong hip/femur vibes!