Thursday, January 7, 2010

The Case of the Mystery Pain: Part II

Sorry for the cliffhanger.  I wrote the last posting with every intention of coming back a day or two later and filling you all in on what happened to my leg.  But every time I sat down to compose something the explanation came out sounding so convoluted and confusing I just kept putting it off. 

I'm going to try to make this as simple as possible, and I'm probably going to leave some things out.  There's also a good chance that I've misunderstood or misinterpreted all or some of the diagnoses I've been given over the last couple of months.  Having said that, I will do my best.

First Chiro Appointment
When I showed up for my first chiro appointment last November, one of the first comments she had after looking me over was that my right hip was low compared to the left.  She also found out, by poking around my muscles, that my left glute and hip area were EXTREMELY sensitive compared to the left side.

Treating the Pain
Over the ensuing weeks my massage therapist and chirpractor used a combination of  adjustments, massage, pressure points, and exercises I was to do at home to treat the leg pain.  They also started applying Electrical Stimulation Therapy to the shin area, which is supposed to encourage the body's natural healing systems by sending safe, low frequency electrical pulses to the affected area, causing the muscle to contract and increasing temperature and blood flow.

An Explanation!
After a few weeks I started to feel so good I decided to start to run with a dog I was walking. I only ran slowly for about 90 seconds, but the next day my shin hurt BAD.  It ached for days afterwards.  When I reported this to the chiro, she decided to send me for an x-ray to see if there was a stress fracture.

(This is not MY x-ray, but merely an example)

A few days later, her suspicion was confirmed.  About a month after the initial pain started on that fateful October run, I finally got confirmation of a tibial stress fracture.

I'm a Gimp?!
Around the same time, both practitioners came to the conclusion that my left leg is a little bit longer than the right. The chiropractor felt that this would explain why the left leg suffered the fracture, since the left leg was bearing more of the stress from running than the right.  For this she recommended an orthotic which would be slightly higher on the right side to try and make up for the leg length difference.  To be honest I was a bit skeptical of this conclusion, since nobody had ever suggested this to me before.  I decided to trust their advice, however, and went with the orthos.

What I've Been Doing
I've been wearing the orthotics for about a week without any major complaints and I've continued with the massage and chiropractic therapies, although the frequency of visits has gone way down.  I've also been trying to keep up my leg strength with weight training, my cardio strength with swimming and spinning, and have been stretching lots to work on my overall flexibility. 

I also got the green light to ski over the holidays and took to the slopes 4 times at Whistler.  Nothing crazy.

What's Next?
Today I had my follow up x-ray and at tonight's chiro appointment I should find out if the bone has healed.  Hopefully it has and I can get back to running (and blogging more often)!


Susan said...

I do hope that your bone is healed! You have shown incredible resilience and I am VERY proud of you for that. It's not easy to keep moving forward with a good attitude when things go south. Good job!

Stuart said...

Well now you know. I guess you'll be on Team 3.0?