My presentation of symptoms were not “normal”.
Since the start of the year I HAD been dealing with crazy tight hamstrings which were causing back pain. I stretched and did yoga – a lot.
On the running side I had seen some problems too, my runs since Feb had been worse than normal. Initially I blamed it on other things. But I had to keep backing down my protocols from 5min run/1min walk all the walk down to 30s run/90s walk. At that rate I usually made it 24-28 minutes, longest was 32. pretty sad considering last year i did 2 full distance triathlons (140.6miles with so 26.2 mile runs).
In the most recent past, lets say July, I was at scout camp with the boys. Although I am in good physical condition I didn’t normally walk 7-13 miles per day which is what we do at camp. By day 3 I was unable to make it down to the swimming area without taking a break. At first the front of my leg would tighten. Then sides, back, then opposite side. Somewhere in there I would no longer be able to lift my right leg. If I took a tennis ball and massaged the outside of my right hip, eventually it would come back and I could walk. Or wait. Sometimes I was stuck in the middle of a trail just waiting. Not cool when you are trying to lead some of the younger boys from place to place.
There was never a moment where I had a pop, a burning, a tearing, nothing. Just a slow descent of performance (except the hamstring tightness which caused back pain – but that could have been anything). I’ve known “forever” that the right leg splayed out right. My right knee tracks funny on the bike. My left leg felt symptoms while running (which means right side weakness) – but I could not put it all together until this year.
Never a residual impact. I wasn’t sort the next day. I didn’t HURT. I just couldn’t function.
Many people with a torn labrum/FAI impingement have much more dramatic symptoms. Was I able to mask the pain? Possibly. Endurance athletes manage pain in ways “non athletes” cannot imagine. We are ok with pain as long as it is not the “BAD” kind of pain – and we know the difference (well, most of us). I, for one, am good about stopping whenever there is even a single of “bad” pain. But normal pain? Yeah I don’t give it a thought it is just part of what we do and feel every day – a side effect of constantly moving and using your body in ways many people would consider “extreme”.
As my run kept getting worse I went to my run coach Janet Leet who looked at my form, my movement, my symptoms and declared that it wasn’t form. Something was wrong, she wasn’t sure what, but she wanted my hip checked out.
So that began the journey to see the doctors… The Diagnosis