Saturday, March 7, 2015

My Hip Labrum Tear

K so lo and behold, with all the amazing race times and beautiful travel posts and enviable selfies on this blog (ahem, pause for you to realise am being sarcastic and am not compleeeeetely up myself) the most popular posts by far have been our injury posts. Especially the ones containing excruciating, PTSD-inducing detail about how we got them, what they felt like, how we recovered and how effing long the whole godforsaken process took.

Accordingly, I wouldnt want to deprive our fair readers of learning about my latest amazing feat, of tearing my labrum. Ive decided to intersperse it with some pictures from a recent skydiving trip (my first ever). Because SKYDIVING. So much more fun than hips. To wit: 
(Gah! Wtf am I about to do!)

So having just recovered from a stress fracture in my cuboid bone (foot) I began ramping up with the Pfitzinger return to running program. Despite my experience here, I would highly highly recommend you follow this plan after recovering from a serious injury. Its a frustratingly slow build up, but believe me - you need slow! After injury, you are at the highest risk of reinjuring yourself in the same place, because its not fully healed yet, or suffering another injury because your body has become deconditioned in your time off. And of course, any increase in mileage at all carries with it the risk of injury.

Dangling your legs outside a plane at 10 000 feet also carries with it a grave risk of injury.

I was fine once i finished the plan, but then added a few too many miles (albeit all very slow easy ones) too soon, and began to feel a niggling pain in the front of my hip and groin area. Given the risk of pain in that area being a stress fracture (which = 3-5 months off) I STOPPED RUNNING IMMEDIATELY, went to the doctor after two weeks, went to the physio after 3, and when it hadnt gone away at 4 weeks, I had an MRI. Thankfully, I have an amazing sports doctor here in Sydney, who believes me when I can feel that something is wrong. He immediately ordered me an mri, because of my history with sfxs, and I waited a couple of weeks before getting it.

Self-explanatory. OhEmGeeeeeee!!!!

Turns out I have a very small tear in the cartelege in my hip, called the labrum. It is about 5mm long, and the resulting pain was only ever pretty minor. Just that it was in the front of my hip, which is nooooot a good place to feel pain.

Timeline of Rehab and Recovery:
I got injured in late October. After getting back from Vanuatu, I started physio and recieved a bunch of exercises that I continued doing daily until early December, when I started doing them every second or third day. The exercises were all focused on 1) strengthening the external rotator muscles; the ones controlling the inward/outward rotation of my thigh; 2) strengthening my stablizer muscles - all of them, including strenghtening my core; and 3) getting my gluts to fire. If anyone wants the list of exercises let me know!

All in all I think I was completely off running for about 4-5 weeks.

This is the (relatively) restful bit of skydiving. Especially once you've realized you successfully avoided inadvertantly chucking all over yourself and the tandem guy.

Timeline of Returning to Run
In November I started running again, though feeling some discomfort still, I took a week completely off exercise in Cabo.
December I started back, building up from 3 to 12 miles (all very easy)
January saw an increase to 22 miles.
February hovered around 25-28 miles, and I increased to 30 last week.

Now this is returning to land and "hovering" hehe, lolz for days.

Aaaaand, tada, I feel no pain in that hip at all! If every I feel even a slight twinge, I do a round of my PT exercises, and its fine again.
That being said, my doctor and Physio have advised that the key to ensuring my hip stays healthy is keeping all those supporting muscles strong and flexible. People certainly do run marathons with this condition in no pain, but it could be risky for me to do so. This is because by the time you get to the end of a marathon, eeeeeverything is fatigued. So its likely that my hip could hurt again when those muscles just plain tire out. And hurting again could mean degradation of the cartelege which could ultimately = surgery.

Honestly, that didnt really bother me (for long). I just love running, I love half marathons, and they are probably enough for me at this juncture. I think Id like to try for a marathon again one day, but want to ensure that Im being absolutely fastidious with rehab and recovery throughout training, which I just dont have the time for right now, on top of the lengthy training hours.

Right now, am just stoked to run sans pain at all!