Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Hip pain

Since I started running in high school, my right hip has occasionally felt like it goes out of alignment when I stand up from a squatting position. I notice it when I first try to walk normally upon standing up. I just have to move the hip around a bit and then I can walk on it normally again. It never “pops” like it’s going in or out of the socket. It just doesn’t feel right – like that joint is suddenly weaker.

Then last spring as I started training for a triathlon, I began running again more frequently. The year before, I ran very little but did a lot of cycling. So when I started having some minor pain in my hip during or after a run, I figured it had something to do with weak hip flexors or some other weakness that developed from not running for an extended period.

It could also have been a result of working with a personal trainer during the tri training. One of my goals was to correct a minor outward swing in my right foot during my running stride. Maybe my body was adjusting to the new, straighter form after being adapted to the bad stride for so many years.

I’ve continued running throughout the year since then, and the hip pain still occurs sometimes during, but mostly after, running. It’s not bad – just a little bit of an ache once in a while. If I use or otherwise stretch that joint in unusual ways (like in yoga or skiing), it will hurt a little, too.

I’ve tried some exercises and stretches to correct the problem on my own, but it isn’t going away. I’m not super concerned, but at the age of 31, I’m not ready to give up one of the most important activities in my life due to an injury that can be corrected. Or to continue doing the same things if they are just going to make it worse. If this pain is due to long term use or something more permanent like arthritis or tendonitis, I will live with it. But either way I want to know.

I especially want to know as I approach the beginning of a marathon training plan. That’s going to be a lot of running miles.

So, I decided to see my doctor and find out what she thought. I saw her yesterday, and she didn’t think that the problem was anything that some ibuprofen and ice couldn’t address. But we took some x-rays just to be sure, and she wrote a prescription for some physical therapy. I’m eager to hear the results of the x-rays and to see the body mechanics experts.

I’m actually really excited to see a physical therapist! If I ever go back to school for a career change, it will be for PT. I’ve considered shadowing a PT just to get a better feel for the field, but now I get to experience it first-hand as a client!

I’ll update with more information when I find out about the x-rays and see the PT for the first time. Until then, I’ll be enjoying the unusually warm weather for more snowshoeing and yes – running!

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