Diagnosis, prognosis and status

“Oy, my bursitis!” Listening to people talk about their medical ailments is about as much fun as walking up a broken escalator. So I’ll make this brief (brief for me, that is). I’ve seen two orthopedists (whom I’ll call Ortho 1 and Ortho 2 in the Seussian tradition). Ortho 1 is my primary giver of treatment, Ortho 2 is…well…I’ll get into that.

Diagnosis: Make that diagnoses: stress fracture of the right sacrum; osteistis pubis. The first item is a bone crack. The second one is inflammation of the tendon that attaches one of my adductor muscles to the area of bone that is cracked.

Prognosis: Good to excellent. I will run again, even if I’ll never play the violin again. The fracture is healing up nicely and the tendon problem is getting better, although it’s taking its own sweet time in calming down.

Status: Ortho 1 says I can start running for 30 minutes every other day, but they must be very easy runs. And no hills. Coach Sandra says the plan will be for 1 day running with 2 days no running for two weeks, then every other day running for the following two weeks. She’s being conservative and that’s fine with me. I also need to do strengthening work on hips/glutes/core and stretch the hell out of the adductors going forward. I started that yesterday. I haven’t done lunges or leg presses since July. They were easier — my legs have gotten quite strong from all the other stuff.

I may also be getting a steroid shot to the tendon if its pokey recovery continues. That was a source of major confusion. Ortho 1 said last week, “I’m sending you to Ortho 2 for the injection since it’s in such a specific place and may require special equipment to pinpoint.” For weeks and weeks, “injection” has meant “platelet rich plasma injection.” So I went to Ortho 2 and said, “I’m here for a PRP injection.” He said that wasn’t what I needed (because that’s for the bone, not the tendon). So I felt like an idiot.

It turns out that communication between Ortho 1 and Ortho 2 was garbled (or perhaps non-existent) and I’m just the dumb patient trundling between their Manhattan offices brandishing my MRI images, my checkbook, and lots of misinformation. The upshot is that Monday’s 10 minutes with Ortho 2 were a total waste of time and money. When I told all this to Ortho 1 yesterday, he was a little dismayed and said he’d clear things up.

But, quite honestly, I’m disinclined to go back and get the stupid shot. I have run with adductor pain much worse than this (for 10 weeks about two years ago), and as long as I know it’s not harmful to do so, I can live with it. Also, Ortho 2 (and his facility) does not take our insurance and he is Expensive with a capital e. Monday’s adventure cost me $300 plus parking. This is on top of the $517.23 I pay per month for my Totally Fucking Useless health insurance policy from HIP. Did I mention that Ortho 1 does not take our insurance either? But these are supposed to be two of the best sports orthos in the country. So I pay. And laugh at everyone who gushes about how great a hobby running is, because it’s so inexpensive.

Ortho 1 mentioned that he used me and my MRI in a lecture he gave over the weekend. So if any of you were at a talk about running injuries and a “45-year-old woman with a sacral fracture and osteitis pubis” was mentioned, that was my hoohaa up there on the big screen.

In the meantime, I’m borrowing an Exogen 400 bone stimulator machine from my stepmother. I’m to use that for 20 minutes a day for two months. I’m getting a new training plan this week which will incorporate road miles, but all my hard running workouts will stay in the pool. I ran into Sandra at the gym yesterday and asked if I could possibly run the Joe Kleinerman 10K early next month. She looked doubtful — and wondered again how I can enjoy running in sub-freezing temps so much; but her blood’s Caribbean and mine’s Norwegian — and would only offer that we’d see how things go.

Coaches are there, in part, to keep you from doing stupid things. Racing a road 10K on hills in a month is a stupid idea. Still, it’s an appealing one…

10 Responses

  1. Hi Julie,

    Over the last 20 years as a Post-Physical Therapy Rehab specialist, I have seen lots of recoveries. Your doctors are handling the specifics. I have a few recovery “tricks” that may be helpful: “Traumeel” is an amazing cream you will find at the health food store and some Medical Pharmacies. It is a homeopathic ointment that has 14 ingredients, including Arnica. It helps with inflammation and bruising. The effect is cumulative, so try it for at least a week. you can also take the tablet form, which many athletes swear by. Arnica by itself in pellet form or oil is also effective.

    As a Health Coach, I suggest you ensure you are getting your omega 3′s, which aid in reducing inflammation, (in fatty fish-salmon-sardines, flaxseed, olive oil, nuts),
    Vitamin A which aids in cell growth & repair, and enhances bone development, (sweet potatoes, carrots, spinach),
    Vitamin C which helps in collagen formation aid (broccoli, red peepers, strawberries, cabbage, cantaloupe),
    Zinc which aids in wound healing, (sunflower seeds, almonds, seafood)
    Curcumin (curry) aids in reducing inflammation
    Garlic anti-inflammatory and boosts immunity.

    Also, sometimes, you just need a rest, and can have a huge benefit when you return fully regenerated :) But I know that is hard to do!

    I will be reading with great interest to see how it goes. You are awesome!

    • Thanks, Eve. That’s some good information there. I have Arnica oil, which I was using for massage-induced bruising. I’ll break it out again, along with my bottles of vitamins. Fortunately, I eat all those foods, but I know you can’t always get everything from foods alone.

      • The arnica oil is great! Try the capsules of Traumeel, it is many times more effective, because it works from the inside out. It is a homeopathic remedy that has been used for years and is well studied. google it, if you want to see reviews. Best of luck!

  2. Geez, this is so damn expensive, talk about insult to injury. At least things are on their way out now, thank god. Sounds like your cross training was incredibly beneficial, even if it was hell on earth. You’re almost there, Julie…the finish line beckons.

  3. FWIW, my research indicates that you can use the Exogen once every 12 hours to even better effect than once a day.

    My podiatrist has told me to use it as much as I want, so I’m shooting for every 8-12 hours. There’s diminishing returns the more you use it, but still returns. The only limiting factor is the # of uses you get with the damn thing.

  4. Sounds like you’re getting taken care of really well. It was a pubic ramus sfx for me but the same inflammation (helllloooo percocet!). I feel like it’s by its nature an intense/complicated injury to figure out, so I feel a sort of bond with anyone else that’s had one… took somewhat longer to heal than a typical stress fracture (want to say 12 weeks instead of 8-10, but I didn’t have access to a bone stim either) but you WILL come back strong. The one thing with this type of injury was that I had quite a bit of phantom pain during the first few months of running again.

    • Hearing about your experience is very helpful. It’s been 13 weeks for me. It’s still not totally healed, apparently. I hope the bone stim machine speeds it up. That’s good to know about the phantom pains.

  5. Ohh lots of good info Eve, thanks for sharing.

  6. It’s good that you’re getting somewhere. Yes, running’s not cheap! Maybe do some research on runners who’ve overcome osteistis pubis. You’ll probably get better results than from Orthos 3, 4 and 5.

    Sandra is right, but what did she say about racing a 1500 at Ichan, or one of those 3 mile cross country races that Joe digs up?

    • The track races this time of year are indoors, and I’ve heard that if you’ve never had asthma in your life, you’ll feel like you do after a race at the Armory.

      I’m not going to push on the racing. I know I need to heal completely. Aside from presenting a threat to that process, 5K racing isn’t going to help me do anything other than force recovery in my training and I’m not trained to run that distance well anyway. I will stay focused on running the marathon in March with the hopes of doing some tuneup races once we get closer to that time.

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