At first I was so happy to have found a doctor who actually listened to me when I said my hip was causing me pain. Others had said, "haha, what do you mean 'hip'? You are pointing to your femur!" to which I would've liked to respond, "yeah I'm familiar with anatomy, thankyouverymuch." Both hips cause intermittent pain, which made me think I was crazy, just having psychosomatic pain, or sympathy pain. Or that I don't really know how hips are supposed to feel. I thought that worst case scenario, my bad hip would have a labral tear that really needed fixing.
It seems my good left hip may have a labral tear. The doctor was showing me the X-ray and I was all turned around and said something about my bad hip and he said, "oh no, that's your left hip. The right hip has a different problem." It's dysplastic. My first response was, "did I cause this?" I didn't. But we decided based on symptoms that while I have had dysplasia all my life, a certain 2008 Little Rock half marathon, followed by a 7 mile cool down, which caused a lot of groin pain later, was probably when my hypertrophied (and stabilizing) labrum was torn, causing my hip to become very unstable and gradually more painful.
I can blame my 16 year old "hamstring tendinitis" to pain coming from my joint capsule, as well as my Achilles tendinitis, back pain, tensor fascia lata pain, knee pain, my crazy knock-kneed form, and even my gimpy pregnancy leg on this unstable hip. Can I attribute poor swimming to it? Yes! Why not?
The real fix for this is a periacetabular osteotomy, where they cut out your acetabulum and reposition it with very large screws. "It sounds worse than it is," the doctor told me. Um, no it doesn't. I mean really. It sounds exactly as terrible as it is.
I said to the doctor, "I can't be non- weight bearing," since the recovery includes like 8 weeks of it. He said that indeed I could be. Actually, I have a 2-year old and I'm not allowed to even sit on the couch for more than 15 seconds at a time, so...not really.
But first things first. I cried only a few times before realizing that I don't have to have a PAO, especially not immediately. The angles of my acetabulum hood (whatsitcalled?) seem to my in house doctor to be better than he is measuring, and the radiologist reported that I have minimal cartilage damage based on the MRI. Doctor Downer thinks it is worse than that, so he is getting another read on it. I went in for a CT scan (extra radiation is always helpful), from which he is going to have a cool computer generated, 3D interactive model of my hip created to see exactly how good my coverage is. I agreed to this mostly because I want him to be wrong about how bad it looks.
So! Now I see why people avoid the doctor! If only I could remain ignorant and go about my running. I had this thought in the back of my mind: I just want to make sure I'm not doing permanent damage to my hip. Well yay because I am. I could always avoid the PAO and just get a total replacement when it gets bad enough in 10 years ("you'd be lucky to make it 10 years," said Dr Downer).
For now I have cut back on the running and just got some new Hokas, which I tried for the first time today. I figure extra cushioning, but with a minimal heel to toe drop, and a nice toe roll off could help preserve some of my cartilage. I'm doing all my physical therapy exercises, but just couldn't justify actually going to the PT a few times a week and paying $30 for him to give me a set of Jane Fonda leg lifts to do, leaving for 10 minutes, then returning to give me a set of transverse abdominus exercises, leaving again, etc. I mean, who has time for that? But I do appreciate his input. The strengthening has possibly reduced some of my pain recently, at least in my dysplastic side. The good side, though, seems to be compensating.
Do me a favor, all of you pain- and injury-free people out there? Run a few miles for me and enjoy it. At least I appreciate my poor hard working legs more than ever.
Oh right, they've been gone for a while.