Thursday, 31 July 2014

Surprise! I'm Injured!

So, I guess most people want to know how my running is going. Well, I guess I will have to tell you a story first, but I'll try and make it quick.

Let's go back to April 2014 when I was training for Run For The Kids.  I was in a lot of pain.  My IT Band in my right knee was sore, as was my right glute/hamstring.  Two weeks before the run I started to get a pain in my hip.  As usual, I decided to keep on running. And race day was interesting as within 250 metres of the run I was in bad pain in my hip.  Once I got out of the Domain Tunnel I had a pain in my right calf, which forced me to walk all of the hills.  And no matter how much I stretched, the pain would not subside in my calf.  At the 13km mark I had a sharp pain along the outside of my right foot.  I had to alternate between walking and running.

All smiles after Run For The Kids, but really I was in so much pain!
Even though I had to walk and run the race, I still managed to beat last years time by 2 minutes as I ran the race in 1.29:13.  Go me!  My running coach says that I must have been flying when I was running!

I then went 6 weeks without any running to try and get myself better, but the moment I took my first step running I was in pain.  I also started religiously foam rolling and stretching my legs every day, along with doing leg weights twice a week, but I wasn't getting any better.  I decided it was time for some serious action, so I went to my doctor and asked to see a specialist about all my running injuries.  My doctor agreed and by that afternoon I was booked in to see a specialist called Karen.  She has a fantastic reputation and specialises in women's health and sports injuries.  She is also a marathon runner herself.  Perfect!

My first consultation with Karen was interesting.  She got me to stand on one foot and was amazed at how unsteady I was on my feet.  She made me stretch this way and that way.  She poked and prodded me everywhere, which really hurt.  And then she started prodding my lower back, which was so painful.  After she finished assessing me she drew this diagram:

Basically, she said that my feet pronate and I don't wear orthotics, which is an issue.  I also have a weak core and weak glutes (I kinda knew that).  She finally gave a name to the pain in my glute - Glute tendinopathy.  But the main issue was the L4/4 and L5/S1 disc in my back.  No one had ever said that maybe all of my issues come from my back.  Karen said that it was obvious that most doctors in the past have been looking at just my injuries individually and had not been looking at what may be causing them, considering they are all on the same side.  She sent me off to have an MRI on my lower back, right hip and right knee.

After my MRI (and $400 later), I returned back to Karen.  The list of everything that was wrong with me was long.  Very long.  Let's quickly go through it all (I'm just copying out my doctors notes):-
  1. Back - degeneration of L4/5 and L5/S1 disc and facet joint.  There is also inflammation of the right S1J nerve root (the nerves from this root go down you leg).
  2. Hip - Hip synovitis in the right hip (inflammation) with early wear and fraying of the cartilage
  3. Glute - Mild gluteal tendinopathy/bursitis (yes, more bursitis, which I had in my shoulders in 2012)
  4. Hamstring - Mild tendinopathy (inflammation but no tear in the hamstring)
  5. Knee - High sitting knee cap with inflammation under the knee cap and in fat pad.  Mild ITB (I already knew that).
Yup, this is an MRI of my back!  See how the disc is dark.  That is because it is damaged.
So, there is a lot wrong with me and a lot of my issues stem from my back.  I know that I hurt my back when I fell off my snowboard back in 2007, but I didn't think it was that bad.  However, when I do think back, I have had a few issues with my back.  I get a sore lower back when I lay down or stand for too long.  I also use to get numb feet when I would run, which was due to an issue with my nerve. 

The first course of action was to go on steroids for nine days and rest for a total of 3 weeks.  I wasn't allowed to do any exercise, apart from walking and swimming with a pool buoy to make sure that I didn't move my legs..  After my rest I went to see Karen and she did more poking and prodding.  It appeared that I hadn't gotten any better, so it was time to go and have a few procedures.

The first procedure was to have Platelet-Rich Plasma (PRP) injections in my right hip.  What happened was blood was taken from me and then the doctors separate the plasma and the good nutrients from the rest of the blood and then inject it into the bursa in my right hip, which will hopefully help it heal (kinda like stem cells).  They also add a bit of cortisone to reduce the inflammation.  This procedure hurt but I was very brave and I didn't cry, although once the anesthetic wore off that evening I was in a world of pain!

The next procedure, which was done the next day, was to inject cortisone into the nerve root in my back.  They use a CT scan to make sure that they can get the needle right next to the root and then they inject cortisone in, which will reduce the inflammation. Thankfully it is no where near as painful as it sounds, although my foot went numb afterwards for about 30 minutes.

The cortisone normally takes 2-3 weeks to take full effect, so I will not know how successful the procedures were for a few weeks.

Then the hard part happened.  I had to have 3 days of bed rest.  3 days of laying in bed.  To some people it may seem like fun, but it was really boring.  There is only so much TV and reading that you can do.  And it is boring being in the same room all the time. On the second day I had a sore upper back from laying down.

The bed I was confined to when I was on bed rest!
The bed rest was on the weekend and now I am up to the next stage of my recovery.  Rest.  And lots of it!  The only exercise I can do is walking twice a day for 30 minutes at a very slow speed - and no incline.  I am not allowed to sit or stand for more than 30 minutes.  Uni is fun!  I do sit for my lectures, which are an hour long as it would be impossible to type my notes whilst standing up.  However, in my tutes and workshops I have to alternate standing and sitting.  I try and sit at the back of the class but sometimes people look at me strangely when I am the only person standing up.

The not being able to exercise part is hard.  I would really love to go running as it helps me with my anxiety, however all I can do is go for short walks.  But I just keep reminding myself that once I am better I will be able to run faster and further than I have ever been able to before.

My next appointment with Karen is on Monday 25 August and I am counting down the days!!

In my next post I will talk more in detail as to why I have decided to start blogging again!

Take care!

Lady Lou

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