Catch-22

hip

Once, on day four of a five-day event, I was just knackered. Luckily I could pull myself together and still made the cut-off for the day. This pretty much resembles my current state of mind.

Any person doing any form of physical activity is bound to have some form of injury at some point. That’s just the laws of nature. Some people are lucky and hardly ever get injuries or niggles, while others are plagued by problems. It is what it is, and what will be, will be, to quote Allan Karlsson from the Hundred Year Old Man Who Climbed Out The Window And Disappeared, by Jonas Jonasson.

So it came about that I developed a hip niggle. I didn’t give it much thought and it was presumably just another result of my misalignment (curvy spine, fused vertebrae with coccyx, rotating pelvis, leg length discrepancy, etc). It would not be the first time I battle with a niggle and will certainly not be the last.

After significantly cutting back our mileage – not on purpose, it just so happened – I realised one morning that the niggle was still there. Involuntary rest and recovery did not change a thing. So I figured it might be best to make a trip to the physio.

After x-rays, a referral to a specialist, an MRI Arthogram and meeting with said specialist, I now know that apart from all sorts of other skeletal issues, I also have FAI (femoroacetabular impingement), and hip dysplasia. Due to some form of injury or trauma, there’s bone growth on my femur head, hitting the socket wall and presumably causing pain. To grind away the bone growth on the femur head, is an operation costing around $20k. Obviously not the kind of money we have laying around, to spend on a fairly new (experimental?) procedure. Something that might have a preventative effect on an otherwise definite hip replacement later on, but the research is only ten years old and there’s no definitive results yet.

Needless to say, I’m numb. Not sure what to do now. Running might/will probably worsen the problem, but it may well be a problem that’s been there most of my life?

Initially, while going through all the tests and examinations, the pain I was experiencing was for the most part not exactly in line with, or in the right spot for what I’ve been diagnosed with. Which gave me a faint slither of hope that maybe the bone growth and minor damage to the cartilage might not actually be the cause of the pain after all? And that perhaps it is rather chronic inflammation around the ilium crest? The latter diagnosis, of course, courtesy of Dr Google. 🙂 Despite numerous attempts by myself to pinpoint where the pain actually was (around my ilium crest), this was disregarded by at least three medical professionals and my report now state that I have pain in my groin. Which was, at least initially, not the case, but since I haven’t been doing any form of exercise for the past two months, things have gone from bad to worse. So I can emphatically say that I now also have pain in my groin and everywhere else within striking distance of the hip joint. My mobility and pain have gone backwards with leaps and bounds.

The bottom line is that I will just have to live with the fact that this is where I’m at now. Yes, my hip joint is damaged. Is that the sole cause of the pain in various places around my hip area? I’m not sure. What this means in terms of running, I’m also not sure. But I do need to make a decision, one way or the other. And based on what has happened over the last few months, it would seem that I wasn’t worse off running. On the contrary.

So do I run because the cardiologist said it will be good for my heart, or do I not because the orthopaedic surgeon said don’t run for your hip sake. It’s a case of damned if you do and damned if you don’t. Either way, at this very moment I’m in no condition to run anyway.

So, where to, Miss?

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14 thoughts on “Catch-22

  1. That is really tough. I would be tempted to try some gentle exercise to see if it gets any worse – if you have arthritis, the thing is to use it or lose it and research has shown that running generally does not make knees worse. Good luck, whatever you try. I won’t complain about any niggles or tiredness that I have – always good to know people who have real problems!

  2. Hi Wouna.
    I have the same thing – FAI and that is probably the cause of the bone bruise I had. The pain was a very sharp on just on the groin crease. It subsided after a while and I have resumed running, slowly, and lightly (and will probably limit myself to 10k from now on).. Did it show any bruising on the MRI? Was your specialist Ra Durie?
    Virtual hugs to you, I know how much running means to you.. Free to chat any time and compare notes/share commiserations xx

    • Thank you Kate. My pain wasn’t in my groin at all, but more on my ilium crest. Since I stopped running, it moved down to my groin area! Bizarre. And it’s getting worse, not better, from resting… My MRI showed CAM deformity with an anterior femoral head neck cyst, and some cartilage loss. The labrum looks okay. I went to Mat Brick at the Millennium Institute (http://www.orthosports.co.nz). Do you have CAM FAI or pincer FAI? Should meet for coffee to compare notes sometime. 🙂

      • How strange! I also find the pain / niggle comes back if I am sitting down too much.
        Mines a CAM deformity too. Have also been given Mat’s name as the best around. Decided would let it heal and just run for fun and see what happens. Surgery = scary!

      • hi Kate, do you know about The FAI Fix? [https://www.thefaifix.com]
        I’ve signed up and so far have managed to move the pain around. 😀 😀 😀
        Actually I find it very hard to go from zero tissue work, stretching etc, to doing all the exercises they recomment in one go. But I am slowly getting better at it and are increasing the amount and types of exercises in the programme. Initially I could only do one or two of the tissue work stuff and only one stretch. Baby steps. But I’m doing a bit more now (still not nearly the full programme, and no strength training yet) and it seems to have a positive effect!
        How are you? Still running? How’s your hip?

  3. Was in the same boat as you. FAI and labral tears in both hips. Pain was crippling. I had both hips operated on, 7 months apart. The recoveries are very slow and you need to be very patient but it was well worth it. Make yourself as smart about this condition, your anatomy, surgery & recovery as you can. You can contact me any time if you have questions.

    • Wow! You’ve come such a long way! Thanks for getting in touch and for documenting your process. The specialist I saw also stressed the importance of educating myself about my condition, so that’s pretty much what I’m trying to do at the moment. Your blog will certainly be a great source. Thank you. Will keep in touch.

      • I have come long ways. This recovery will test your patience, trust me on that.
        I saw you subscribed to my blog, but you subscibed to one that is not active anymore. If you want to be automatically notified, you will have to sign up on my current one (www.journeyofthetortoise.me).

        I started writting one blog for my R hip, then another one for my L and eventually both recoveries started blending together and I only continued writting my second.

        My first has not been updated and will expire in a few days.

  4. Thanks for the link. I was trying to quickly look through your old blog to find updates on where you had the 2nd op, but couldn’t find it and then just thought I wasn’t looking properly. But will definitely peruse your new blog in more detail. I have to say that ALL the muscles around my hips are also extremely tight! I’ve never been able to touch my toes, but now I can barely get to my knees… 😦 Really need to work on loosening up the fascia and tight muscles around my hips.

    • Sure. I had my second surgery done with the same OS as my first. Local guy, trained by one THE best in the country. FAI and labral tears are not fun, they can take your life away and chronic pain will be your new norm. Do not believe every single horror story about the recovery you read online. Most of the times they are from people with bad outcomes, who are the most outspoken. The recoveries do take very long, yes, but they are doable.

  5. Pingback: Doing a hip hop on a half* – Jog around the Blog

  6. Pingback: Hip rehab – Jog around the Blog

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