Friday, April 29, 2011

The mysteries of life...explained!

Well, the mysteries of MY life anyway. So I haven't really talked about it much on the blog, but I've been having some rather frustrating hip issues for pretty much the entire winter.  The problem was in my right hip early on, after I was starting to get back into maintenance (fact of the day: I can NEVER spell that word right) mode after Baystate, and then sort of sneakily moved into the left hip after a month or so of painfree running.  For the most part it was more of an annoyance than a major issue, and obviously my stubborn self kept running like nothing was the matter even when I was limping during the recovery periods during hard workouts. Anyway, a couple of weeks ago I did a (way too) hard 9 miler, and the next day when I walked out my door to run I couldn't.  I was limping too badly to go with the illusion any I didn't run.  And I didn't run for a week and a half.  After that, I ran really slow for a few days, and have since been training pretty much normally, but the problem still exists, it's just much more under control.

Now right around the time when it flared up, my lab instructor had put out a call for people who actually had lower extremity issues to be 'patients' in our final lab so we could kind of put all the skills we've learned over the semester together into an actual exam.  Yes...being a PT student has its perks.  So I gladly signed up because while I was starting to get a decent idea of what was going on, I figured what essentially would be a free PT eval with the help of 10 of my friends couldn't possibly be a bad thing.  In the process I found out a LOT of interesting things about my effed up body, which explain pretty much every injury I've ever had in my life.  (Also...if you don't want to be super bored by a bunch of PT talk that I nerdily find really interesting...feel free to skip this part)

1) I have a forefoot varus. I'm not sure how to explain this but I will try because hey, that's kind of like studying, right? So basically, the bones of my forefoot (metatarsals & toes) sit at an angle compared to my heel.  So when my ankle is in neutral, my big toe and 1st met actually sit up off the ground.  So what does this mean for my life? Pretty much it means when I walk/run, I land really far in supination, on the way outside of my foot...but then, gravity wants to pull my foot down, so I fall into bueno.  And because I'm even more awesome, I also take off from the inside of my foot (mostly my big toe) instead of rolling back outside before I take off....this was MIND BLOWING to me.  I always assumed you were supposed to take off from your big toe! Nope. Apparently not. Those awesome calluses I have on the inside of my big toe? Normal people don't have those.  So anyway, this super awesome foot type puts stress on all kinds of structures, and can lead to things like....IT band issues (yup, had those), shin splints (check plus), and a lot of other common injuries.

The good news is I'm wearing the right type of shoes for this.  Mostly because I win at picking out running shoes...duhhh.

2) I have a really weak ass.  Pretty self explanatory really, but both my glute max and glute med are extremely weak, and this moreso that my weird feet are pretty much the cause of my current hip issue.  Interestingly, I NEVER had a running related injury until I stopped dancing....lo and behold, you use both sets of glutes a LOT in dance, and apparently they've gotten lazy in the past couple of years.  I almost guarantee this is why I had such bad hamstring issues at Boston last year, because I was only using my hamstrings to extend my hip instead of my hamstrings and glutes, which is pretty much a recipe for hamstring cramps and tendinopathies.
Thanks a bunch, glute med.
So it turns out that my "strength 3 times a week, no excuses" plan couldn't have come at a better time - because not only is it going to make me awesome, it's going to FIX me! What more could you want?

Also my IT band is tight. HUUUUUGE surprise there *sarcasm*

So in the end, my 'diagnosis' was iliopsoas tendinopathy with some kind of irritation in my hip joint too, probably caused by impingement of some sort. It was REALLY (in the most nerdy way possible) cool to think through the different tests that you would do and see how it actually played out.  Clearly I managed to pick the right profession!  Although, we'll see if I'm still saying that next week when I'm in the middle of finals studying hell...

I also ran 7.3 delightful miles today in the glorious 72 degree weather with no watch and no ipod.  Bliss, pretty sure I found you.


Anonymous said...

well i would say i love this post but i'm afraid that might come across as i love that you're body is "effed up" not that case. i swear.

but i enjoyed the nerd pt talk :)

Running 365 said...

Yeah, I hate to admit that I skipped the PT brain wouldn't have comprehended it anyway. But I'm glad you've found a solution!

I can NEVER spell maintenance either. One time I couldn't even spell it correctly enough for MS Word or even Google to figure it out. I kept typing in things like "maitinence" and "matetinance" until I thought I was going to go crazy. Hmm...OCD much?

Anonymous said...

Awesome that you got such a thorough evaluation about some of the biomechanical nuttiness that's going on with your running! And oh my gosh, just reading the word iliopsoas makes me shudder -- that was my worst running injury ever... even though it happened... eight years ago. TAKE CARE OF YO HIPS!!