Thursday, January 14, 2010

Diagnosis: Weak In the Hips

Most people have been weak in the knees before... and I believe that is usually associated with a good feeling of overwhelming emotion: Said in best falsetto girly-voice: "He is so dreamy he made me weak in the knees!"  But what about being weak in the hips? Same voice please: "When he gave me roses I got weak in the hips?"  No no. Weak in the hips just means you can't run for 2 weeks.

Some background: Ever since a few weeks after the marathon when I was wooed by the beautiful fall colors making a dumb decision to run at the very hilly and very off-camber Sharon Woods, I've had problems with my right knee. With what I learned from physical therapy when I was training for the marathon, I thought it was simply my IT band and that my body didn't appreciate the challenging terrain so quickly after running 26.2 miles. I tried stretching and even bought an evil foam roller. But soon I found I couldn't run longer than about a mile before the pain would start. And if I kept running I would be reduced to a limping walk. This didn't jive with my hip problems while training...I could reap the benefits of a good hip flexor stretch on my next run. Then around Christmas I noticed that I could pinpoint pain on the side of my knee and actually press on an owchie spot. I didn't think this jived with anything I'd read on IT band issues. After whining about it on facebook, a running friend sent me a word of caution that what I was experiencing could in fact be a meniscus tear. WHAT!? After more internet searching, I began to worry about that. Horray for the internet – unfiltered information at our fingertips. Dangerous.

I gave it more time and made fixing my knee an obvious and urgent resolution for 2010. After all, life without running has been nothing short of quiet misery, one that people with any kind of passion can relate to. This week I did a test run which netted the familiar pain at the same time stamp during my run. Damn. I called Oxford Physical Therapy. Denial was over and it was time to fix this.

So yesterday I had a screening at Oxford by the same guy who treated my hip issues while training for the marathon. After a bunch of questions and a lot of gentle and kind aggressive and painful poking around on my knee, he has come to the conclusion that my IT band is in fact tight beyond tight and my hips are weak. This is causing the band to rub on my knee, hence the pain. He watched me walk away and then back to him and said my hips drop when I walk, meaning the muscles aren't supporting my hips as well as they should. When I run, this becomes worse and causes my leg to not be supported well enough, in turn causing my IT band to extend farther than it should and rub.

He really doesn't believe it is a tear of any meniscus or ligaments because of the position of the pain (towards the back of the knee) and because no pain was caused by twisting my leg in all kinds of directions. So this is good news. It is "simply my IT band". But it is a lot more difficult to fix than I thought it would be.

So basically for the next 2 weeks, I am concentrating on continuing to spin and swim (cardio) and then trying to strengthen the hell out of my hips and legs. After that I'll do a trial run and see where I'm at. Each day that goes by is either going to be a move in the right direction towards being able to run again (i.e. if I do my exercises) or a delay in being able to run again and possibly not being able to do the Pig (if I don't do my exercises). I have to keep that in mind. It shouldn't be hard.

So here I go! I guess this is a 2 week challenge of sorts. Hopefully this blog will help keep me honest. I haven't done any exercises today yet (slap on the wrist!!!)

1 comment:

Christen said...

Ummm... you have to get back to running state because, let's be honest... I don't swim. So I will be on you about this :) Good luck!