Sunday, February 2, 2014

Labrum Tears and Fraying

Finally, I've remembered the progression of my hip injury.  I was about to say that I can't believe I forgot, but the truth is that it never registered in my mind what happened, and nobody asked the right questions to jog my memory.  It's just one of those things.  

When I was recovering from major surgery, *  I realized my right thigh had gone numb.  Half of my waking life was spent with no sensation in the skin.   In the 14 years since, that problem progressed to pain.  First it was a pins and needles pain, then it rapidly became stinging, and finally, it has turned into an electrical fire inside my leg that often makes standing and walking excruciatingly painful.  That's why, in Heathrow airport, I just dropped to the floor where we were waiting in line and sat.  I was hurting too much to stand, and my left leg had joined in the chorus of neuropathy.  

About four years ago, I started having pain in both of my hips whenever I stood up from sitting, so strong that I staggered for several minutes upon walking.   I thought it was arthritis, just getting old, or just my fault because I needed to lose weight.  So I started exercising and being careful about what I ate.  The pounds didn't come off, and I was still hurting.  Oddly enough, with an adequate warmup, this adult-onset runner didn't have any pain or problems from running.  

2000 - leg numbness began

Early 2009 - thigh starts pins and needles and aching

Fall 2009 - add intense, tear and panic-inducing burning pain with no provocation, to my thigh (can't just breathe for pain control when the pain is so bad you're crying, hiding in the bathroom during cafeteria duty.  It was only five minutes of hiding each day when it happened.  Turns out two hours of standing in the cafeteria daily is not good for my health.

Summer 2010 - doctors said nothing was wrong with my back (because, when your legs are hurting intensely, only the BACK could possibly be the cause!) Diagnosis : lose weight. Exercise. "Run five miles a day every day!" says my doctor... Track coach tries to tell me I will never be able to run, as if it's a secret club overweight people can't be part of.  This, when I asked for advice on how to start.  

Fall 2010 - discovered XBox Kinect will wear my butt OUT with their fitness programs.  Bought it for exercise and sweated a lot.

Winter 2010 - Your Shape Fitness Evolved apparently can't see this short woman well enough while I'm squatting low with my legs way apart and has me drop down until I feel pain in both hips. Never used that program again. I had trouble walking for weeks after that. 

May 2011 - bought gym membership and started spending three serious hours a day there, thinking The Biggest Loser was a useful model to follow. (I wasn't as overweight as they were, however.)  I didn't lose weight, even with three full rounds of cardio daily. Hmm... Also developed quite a fear of food at this time, which I haven't lost yet.
 
June 2011 - return of my... Shin Splints.  Blamed it on the treadmill. Thought "F*** it, if it's going to hurt just from walking, I might as well run."

November 2011 - ran first 5k with no real pain until afterward when I was in bed sick for three days, and could barely walk.  Lol. Newbie problems.... Didn't run again for six months because it was such an unpleasant experience.

Summer 2012 - running in the humidity outside.  Did everything possible to avoid shin splints. Ice baths, compression sleeves, ice packs, Tylenol... But my shins displayed constant edema, and I stopped running completely for a couple months out of desperation because just walking hurt. Squatting was a whole new realm of pain for my shins, which felt like the flesh was being pulled away from the bones.  Getting a little jealous of people who looked in worse shape than me running marathons and halfs, and actually enjoying it.

July 2012 - trip to Italy, walking for hours every day, nasty edema which gave me even nastier cankles. Lol. Stood in line for 4 hours at Heathrow and my legs hurt so badly I just sat in the floor right where I was. Realized just how badly getting old is going to suck.

September 2012 - back to running slowly on a rubberized track and feeling pain high up on my right hamstring.  Stretched and stretched, and it got a tiny bit better pain wise, but it still felt really tight.

October 2012 - ran the Mission March 5k. In the first 1/4 mile, I felt a burning, tearing pain in my right hip. I panicked and couldn't catch my breath.  I walked and ran the whole race, coming in dead last and completely discouraged, not to mention embarrassed. Still, it was to date, my fastest 5k, mile, and kilometer times.  Lots of aching and pain in my hip ever since made me wonder if I had a stress fracture, but I was afraid of the same ineptitude-disguised-as-hypochondriac-patient from the doctors.  "I'll give you pain pills, is that what you want?" NO, keep your drugs, you pusher.  That's likely when my frayed labrum developed a tear.  It felt like something tore inside.

February 2013 - ran Kiss It Goodbye 5k and by the end of the first mile, I was in panic breathing mode because my right leg and hip were screaming at me. I limped the second half of the race and at the end, I was told if I had wanted to get an official time or a bottle of water, I should have run faster.  Jerks. I still finished under 46 minutes, limping.  I was nowhere near last.  After that, I felt like I was dragging my right leg no matter what I did. 

March 2013 - first "ghost" race - Wounded Warrior 7k. I was having a lot of pain and leg dragging just when I walked, so I didn't participate.  I'm still kind of ashamed that I had to skip it.

April 2013 - tripped over my dragging leg stepping up onto a sidewalk and jammed my right leg HARD into my hip. It's still hurting, but my orthopedist wants to ignore it until my other hip problem is resolved.  See what I mean about the doctors? As many office visits as they can squeeze out of you. 

Early July 2013 - ran a 5k in awful heat and came in second in my age group.  :) No pain... I wonder if the heat actually helped me.

July 2013 - started series of six monthly cortisone injections. No real resolution there.  (I guess it's not a simple case of ITBS.)

January 2014 - discovered labral fraying with MRI.  Sent for physical therapy to hopefully smooth the fraying non-surgically.  Physical therapist tells me that the clicking I feel in each hip when I lift my knee denotes a tear and not just fraying.  

And you know what? That kind of cartilage doesn't have the ability to heal. It will have to be trimmed, removed, or tacked back onto the bone.  *sigh*

It seems to me that all of these problems are related - they caused and worsened each other, but the longer the problem goes unfixed, the more comorbid conditions will complicate things.

So his do I feel after my first week of physical therapy? Sore and aching.  But I expected that.  It's part of it. Maybe it will help.  Maybe it won't. I just have to wait and see.


* I had a breast reduction.  I'm not ashamed. It was necessary because I looked and felt freakish, was having skin infections and disintegration, and problems breathing, not to mention the massive ridiculous things prevented me from having a normal life. Somewhere over 100 stitches -- YES, it was major and I don't regret it one bit. I don't miss those ten pounds gone.  I still have to wear a minimizer, though, because they grew back somewhat.  Like in a nightmare.

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