I realized I left out a HUGE part of my story shaped me as a runner. I don’t want to mislead anyone 🙂
I’ll start from the beginning. I was a gymnast growing up, then a competitive cheerleader. I cheered in college for 2 years as well. During my freshman year of college, I began to get hip pain, mainly soreness, deep inside the hip joint. It progressed to clicking, popping uncontrollably and very limited motion in general. I had to sit out during runs and most exercises in cheerleading. Walking was painful and even sitting for too long was tough. I went to a doctor who was recommended to me. He is a Sports Medicine specialist and treats orthopedic conditions of the shoulder, hip and knee at the Hospital for Special Surgeries on UES in NYC.
I was diagnosed with labral tears of my right and left hip joints. My doc wanted to avoid surgery so we tried some alternative routes. I did some pretty aggressive physical therapy in NYC as well as cortisone injections (hello 7 inch needle). Unfortunately, I was still in a lot of pain and when I was 18 and 19, I had to undergo two hip surgeries (one on each side) for the labral tears in my hip joints. I started out with my past history because my doctor was pretty sure this was the cause. He had told me that constant jumping and pounding on the ground can cause this type of injury. Add to it that I was told I had hip dysplasia, a misalignment of the femur into the hip joint), and my cardio activity was basically put to rest. My doctor told me that I needed to be proactive with my hips to prevent future injury (because of the hip dysplasia, there was no guarantee it would not happen again). The physical therapy was A LOT of strength and core work. For cardio, I was told to strictly bike (and spin), and swim. I was told to only to the elliptical sparingly. He ended that appointment by telling me I would probably never run again if I didn’t want to hurt myself in the future. It would be too much pressure on my hips.
For 2 solid years, I became a spinning extraordinaire and I walked on the treadmill at incline 15. I was extremely unsatisfied and did not feel like I was getting enough of a workout. I was upset a lot and I was scared to do anything else. Insert Fall 2009. I decided to run. SLOWLY and one mile at a time. I struggled so much, but I kept at it. I would add 5 minutes and a little more speed to each run and then (after I was comfortable enough at each time period). I still remember how overly excited and happy I was when I finally ran 4 miles on the treadmill (it was at the NYSC on 14th street). I signed up for a 5k with two of my friends (it was sponsored by the local Fire Department and had free beer and subs at the end, perfect).
Results to my first 5k:
I was hooked. I felt strong and I was happy. I have not stopped signing up for races since. I have run 2 marathons on these fixed hips and plan to run MANY more.
Do I still feel hip pain? Not really, only when the weather is bad.
Was I/Am I nervous to be running with this type of injury? 2 years ago, only a little bit. Now, not at all. I feel that I had a great doctor and he did a wonderful job and that the surgery was successful.
What did I learn from this injury? I am not a doctor, but I learned in 2008 how important core training is. A lot of injuries can stem from having a weak core. I am still proactive with this type of training and will continue to do so in the future.
I decided to write about this because it is part of who I am, as a person and as a runner. When I started this blog, I was able to read about other runners and their experiences with the same injury. When you are injured, it is an emotional, mental and physical struggle to get back to being healthy. If I can provide any insight about this to anyone, I am happy.
Has anyone else had this injury/surgery?
Regarding injuries in general, how did you overcome them (emotionally and physically)?
If anyone wants the name of my doctor, let me know. He was A-Rod’s doc too when he did the same thing to his hip 🙂