Monday, February 20, 2012

Frustration and Foam Rollers

It's taken me a while to write about this, but I have been feeling pretty frustrated for the past couple of weeks  I have significantly reduced my mileage (i.e. < 5 miles/week) after coming to the realization that I need to figure out what is going on with my right hip that is causing me so much discomfort. Unfortunately it doesn't seem to be working.

Background: I have been struggling with my hip ever since I started significantly increasing my mileage for my first half-marathon last year. I started to feel sore in the hip region after the 3rd or 4th mile of a long run. Sometimes the pain would run down my hamstring, and other times it would stay in the hip/butt region.

Lately, my hip area has started to throb during non-running activities, including walking on the treadmill, using the elliptical, and hiking. More recently, it has been uncomfortable sometimes when I'm just laying in bed.

I've tried a few things to try to identify and fix the issue:
  • Stretches targeting the hip region. I've been doing this before and after working out after a massage therapist recommended some specific ones. These stretches have been incorporated for the past 6 months with limited success. Sometimes when I stop and stretch in the middle of a run, I will feel temporary relief but the soreness will return in a few minutes. 
  • Foam rolling.
    aww yeah!!
    I just started doing this about a month ago after reading about other bloggers' experiences with it, and I really like it. It has not made a huge difference with my hip, but it has definitely helped with overall muscle soreness after workouts. Plus, it might still be too early to tell if it is effective with my hip, and I might not be doing it frequently enough. 
  • Chiropractor visit. I only went once for an initial evaluation and adjustment, but I wasn't impressed. He said that because my femur heads were even (as shown in a standing x-ray), I didn't have a leg length discrepancy. I'm not completely convinced that we can rule that out. He said my sacrum was misaligned, which may or may not have been true, and if it was, may or may not have been causing my hip issue. He did one adjustment on it, and I didn't see any improvement. Results: Inconclusive.
  • Massage therapy.  I haven't been going regularly lately, but I probably went 3-4 times during my half-marathon training. Limited results. Didn't make the discomfort go away, although I maybe was a little less sore. However, I haven't had a massage therapy session concentrated solely on my hip. Maybe that would be a good idea. 
I haven't exhausted my options yet though. There are two other things I will try that I think stand a decent chance of being successful:
  • Shoe-fitting. I had a shoe-fitting a couple of weeks ago but balked out and didn't purchase the recommended shoes. The person who did the fitting said she noticed from my gait that something was odd with my right side, but didn't have any specific recommendations for that. I think I would like a second opinion. There is a store near us call Fleet Feet Sports that does fittings that I think I will try out.
  • Orthopedic sports medicine visit. Given my specific symptoms, maybe it is something they can diagnose and possibly treat. I'm not really sure what that might be that I can't just Google myself, but hey, I'm not a doctor ;-) 
And if neither of those work, that brings me to my final options:
  • Stop running (boooo) and probably still have pain (I've laid off the running for a week and it hasn't gotten any better)
  • Keep running through it and see if it gets worse.
 Soo...don't really care for either of those options so I"ll try the shoe-fitting/orthopedic dr. first.

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