Sunday, June 21, 2015

What Could It Be?

     So after last Sunday's run I contacted my physical therapist and gave her the bad news of how the run went.  She pretty much said what I new she would say and what I was thinking as I walked/limped back home, "you should have rested today and not pushed yourself".  She wanted me to rest on Monday and Tuesday, then attempt an easy 2 mile run on Wednesday.  

     I woke up on Wednesday and my hip joint area was aching a little bit.  I thought about not attempting the two miles, but I stretched out and went anyway.  I kept slow, around a 10 min pace and did fairly well, but I would get an occasional twinge of aching type pain.  Nothing to make me stop or want to stop, just reminding me that its there.  She wanted me to stop at the end of the first mile and do a few light stretches, so when I hit mile one I stopped and did the stretches and turned tail and headed for home.  At mile 1.66, that same twinge of aching type pain with an occasional sharper pain (nothing intense) would come and go much more frequently till I finished the full two miles.  When I was done, the aching pain hung around and lingered for awhile afterwards.  

     I contacted my PT and she decided it would be best if I came in for another session that afternoon.  She seemed concerned that the pain was coming on sooner and sooner with each run.  So after a lot of questions and the usual pushing, pulling and twisting the theory changed from a muscle issue to possibly being a tear to the hip joint cartilage know as the acetabular labrum or labral tear.  Basically from what I gathered on the Internet, that this is the cartilage that separates the ball from the socket in the hip join.  

     Obviously my PT wasn't making a diagnosis because the only true why to know if it is a labral tear is to have an expensive MRI, but based on the symptoms I have described to her she thought this to have a good probability.  According to her and what I read online, there are two main ways of treating this.  First is a non surgical option, which means a lot of physical therapy and strength training to strengthen the muscles around the hip to better support it and minimize the onset of pain.  The other is surgery which then would be followed by lots of physical therapy and no guarantee that the pain will end and running can continue.

     So where do I go from here?  Well because she is on the fence about it being a labral tear we decided for me to take one week off from all activities and completely rest it.  It was recommended, but not prescribed to take whatever anti inflammatory I am comfortable with taking and icing the area several times a day.  Next Wednesday we will talk and reevaluate our options.

     Part of me really wants to pay the money to have the MRI done just so I know for sure what I am dealing with, but the other part of me knows I don't really have the cash to pay for a test that could, even with my insurance, cost me 1-2 thousand dollars.  Mostly though, this is turning into a real test for my patience.  This could be a very small blip on my running life, but damn it, when you are going through it, it feels like an eternity.       


  1. Hey! I've followed you via Katie's blog. I had a labral tear in my right hip. It took me a long time to get diagnosed. I had surgery in Dec 2012. Best thing I ever did! The thing about my tear was that the pain was unpredictable and there wasn't a lot I could do to stop it or relieve it once it started. Static standing was the worse for me. Recovery wasn't all that bad. I don't want to write a book of unwanted info on your blog. . . but you could totally contact me with questions if you want. I ran 2 half marathons in 2014. My best advice is find out how much the MRI will cost - there are locations that are cheaper. How much your insurance will cover and if you can do it, do it. I tried various things and even got a diagnosis of bursitis before. . . 4 years after injury I finally got an MRI. Whew! Am I 100%? Nope. But I wasn't promised to be either. Many things factored into my % of recovery - age, any presence of arthritis and also how long the injury has been there. Good luck! I'm so sorry you are dealing with this.

  2. Damn dude, this sucks. Hope you have an answer soon.

  3. I wanted to piggy back on what Jen said, again without too much unsolicited advice:

    I tore my glenoid labrum (shoulder) two summers ago (2013). It's different from a acetabular tear because the ball and socket of the shoulder is much shallower (and therefore unstable) than that of the hip, so recovery without surgery is definitely much, much harder for a shoulder.

    That are correct that the only way to truly diagnose a labral tear is an MRI, and I strongly encourage you to get one if your pain isn't getting better. For me, I had textbook symptoms, which I'd never had for anything, right down to, "The pain wakes you up at night." Every little symptom I found online was one I had. In addition, an MRI will show the severity of your tear - mine was greater than 50%, and at that point there is no hope for it to get better without surgery (and the ensuing months of PT).

    Like Jen, having the labral repair was one of the best decisions I made, regardless of the fact that I was pigeonholed into it. It's still sore from time to time (I feel like I'm 80 when I say this, but the weather is a huge factor) and my muscles in that shoulder fatigue faster, but I started weightlifting this year and I can do it - which is what matters.

    All of that said...labral tears suck. They really do, and whatever the outcome just know you can get through it and be stronger on the other side.