The Waiting is the Hardest Part

I’m certain Tom Petty would agree…

I met with my new Orthopedist last week – he came very highly recommended by some of my teammates and specializes in sports medicine and arthroscopic hip surgery.  One of my concerns was the old adage – “If all you have is a hammer, every problem looks like a nail”, but after our conversation I’m convinced he would only recommend a hip scope if he was absolutely convinced it was the best option.  Among his first questions was “So tell me about your race goals for 2014.”  This tells me that he’s pretty outcomes-focused.

He believes that we’re looking at a small hip abnormality, possibly caused by a small spur, and that my elevated training caused a tear in my labrum.  The fact that my hip hurt A LOT in the first 15 minutes of a run session and then subsided is most likely due to compensation – I simply adjusted my gait and stride to make it hurt less.  This caused all of the strain/pain in my abs, adductor, flexor, rectus, etc.

This is what an arthrogram MRI looks like - they shoot dye into the hip.

This is what an arthrogram MRI looks like – they shoot dye into the hip.

So mainly we need to identify if there is labrum damage, and then deal with it.  After 8 weeks of rest and guided PT there was negligible improvement, and that typically indicates that things won’t improve long term without surgical intervention.  The good news – my doc is one of the ONLY guys in the mid-Atlantic that performs arthroscopic hip procedures.  It’s done all the time on shoulders and knees, but less so on hips.  I’ll be on crutches for a week, but I’ll be walking unassisted by the end of week one, on a bike in week two, and then in the pool as soon as my stitches heal.  Running is out for 3 months, but PT will begin the day after the procedure.

My MRI is Wednesday, and of course there is always the possibility that this is all wrong and we pursue another path, but something is telling me we’re finally on the right track!  If I need surgery, I’ll try to schedule after Ironman AZ so I can still attend and volunteer.  According to my doc, I could definitely do a June 70.3 and a November 140.6 in 2014, as long as I do my part – so that’s about the best news I can hope for…