YANMD.... but do I really need to go to one?
September 18, 2016 4:52 PM   Subscribe

A couple of months ago I took up running. I've been pacing myself, working on proper form and using the couch 2 5k app. I haven't been having much trouble at all after the initial shin splints and leg cramps. That is until Wednesday, when my first race was Friday.

I went on my normal run Wednesday, and afterward thought I was just having some cramping. Turns out it was more like a pulled muscle, and I had some pain that night and the next day. Friday (race day) it was still a little tight, but I figured it would loosen up as I got going. The first 2 miles were going fine, but then it kicked in when I slowed down. I walked for the next mile, and ran the last half, including a sprint to the finish line. After that I realized I may have screwed up big time. I limped back to my car, and by the time the adrenaline wore off and I got home, I could not walk at all without extreme pain. I've been on crutches since. A friend of mine called in a steroid dose pack, and I started that this morning. I can already notice a difference with ease of moving around, but still can't manage without support of the crutches. My question is: if I'm feeling better, do I still need to go to the ortho? Would they do anything differently or help at all other than to just say... yep, keep taking those steroids! I'm a medical assistant, and I just recently started with a new doctor and I'm really trying to avoid taking off to get in if possible. However, I don't want this to be my first and last run, and I want to make sure I take care to not cause a lasting injury. Thoughts? Advice for recovery otherwise?

Description of pain location etc : pain seems to originate from the front of my upper thigh, right near the joint, but goes down my thigh as well. I have 6-7 quarter size bruises in that area, starting where my thigh meets my hip. Hurts to put full weight on it, but also hurts to lift leg, with knee bent especially. Hurts to move anything around too quickly. When it was the worst it was a stabbing pain that doubled me over (still is if I try to walk without support or too quickly). I've been thinking it may be my hip flexor?
posted by Quincy to Health & Fitness (17 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I'd go. This doesn't sound normal at all.

You might also start thinking of events as "runs" rather than "races" until your body really gets used to running.
posted by TryTheTilapia at 5:19 PM on September 18, 2016 [6 favorites]

I mean, it sounds like you've mostly made up your mind not to go the doctor. But what you're describing sounds severe and unusual to me. Having bruises in the location of your injury sounds especially strange, and I'd want to get that looked at. That might be an indication you actually tore part of your hip flexor, making it a more severe strain.

The benefit of going even if you start to feel better is getting someone to diagnose specifically what happened to you and prescribing preventative or rehabilitative exercises. You might have some movement patterns that make you susceptible to this kind of injury. Plus, being injured once might make your hip flexor weaker and additionally susceptible.

You also didn't mention icing it, but I think that's pretty standard advice.
posted by hyperion at 5:21 PM on September 18, 2016 [5 favorites]

Stabbing pain that doubled you over might go away but be prepared for the likely possibility of not being able to run well for a long time if you don't get it looked at.
posted by mattamatic at 5:33 PM on September 18, 2016 [2 favorites]

Yes of course you should go to a doctor, this is not even a question. You could RUN on Friday and now 2 days later you can BARELY WALK. Something is wrong with you. Quit self-diagnosing, quit being a hero.

If it helps to motivate you, think of it this way: as a medical professional who refuses to seek treatment, refuses to follow through on therapy in favor of "working through the pain," you are modeling exactly the wrong type of behavior for your patients. If even one patient is inspired by your example to skip a course of antibiotics or continue going in to work with an especially virulent strain of the flu this season, how would that make you feel? Because that's the example you're setting by continuing to go to work instead of the doctor at this point.
posted by Joey Buttafoucault at 5:42 PM on September 18, 2016 [6 favorites]

Yep, yep, go to a doctor ASAP. It could be something as simple as ITBS, although that doesn't really explain the bruising, but you need to get it check out if you can't walk.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 5:44 PM on September 18, 2016 [3 favorites]

Muscle soreness is normal. I walked like a zombie after my marathon for 36 hours.

Stabbing pain which keeps you from walking without crutches is not. I'm not a doctor, but from the area you describe it sounds very much like the time I ended up with severe bursitis from overexertion and IT band issues. Doctor. Or a physiotherapist at the very least.
posted by frumiousb at 5:46 PM on September 18, 2016 [2 favorites]

Doctor NOW! Wouldn't it SUCK if one of things you could no longer do one of the things that gave you joy, especially if you just discovered it?
posted by infinitewindow at 5:52 PM on September 18, 2016 [1 favorite]

Thanks guys! I have a lot of people around me down playing it and making me feel like it's a normal part of running, and it will be better with rest, and making me feel like I'm over reacting. So it definitely helps! I'll go tomorrow!
posted by Quincy at 6:02 PM on September 18, 2016 [1 favorite]

There is a difference between "Oh man, I can barely even walk after that run!" (soreness) and "I cannot walk after that run." (injury). Go see your doctor.
posted by Etrigan at 6:06 PM on September 18, 2016 [1 favorite]

Those bruises don't sound normal to me. I'm not a doctor, but I would go to one.
posted by J. Wilson at 6:15 PM on September 18, 2016 [1 favorite]

I think seeing a doctor would be a lot better idea than taking a steroid dose pack prescribed by someone who apparently is not your doctor and (it sounds like?) didn't examine you. Steroids have a lot of potential side effects and your friend who prescribed them for you took a risk I wouldn't recommend taking again with something that isn't documented in any medical chart to protect them from liability, for someone with whom they do not have any apparent therapeutic relationship. What they did was potentially illegal at worst and at best, very frowned upon.
posted by treehorn+bunny at 6:58 PM on September 18, 2016 [7 favorites]

Definitely not a normal part of running!
posted by fshgrl at 7:28 PM on September 18, 2016 [1 favorite]


Doctor, stat. That is absolutely not normal for general post-race soreness.
posted by Brittanie at 12:30 AM on September 19, 2016

I've learned that exercise induced injuries are more common as you get older. Injuries also take longer to recover from. As you age you have to change your mindset from "My body can handle this, I will be fine" to "If I don't see a doctor, I may be broken for six months".
posted by LoveHam at 4:33 AM on September 19, 2016 [1 favorite]

For point of comparison, I ran an 18 mile race yesterday and today I'm kind of sore. One of my calf muscles is tight and I had to walk it out for a few minutes after I got up.

There is no stabbing pain, no bruises, and my gait is normal. I'm just... stiff and a little achy.

*that* is normal post-race pain.

Last year I massively strained my hip flexor after trying to run on what I thought was just a minor, "normal" running pain. I had 3 months of physio and one month of rehab with a trainer before I could walk normally again. Don't go down that route. It's expensive.

(this is a great time to look into a strengthening routine for runners. You probably have weak glutes. You can find plenty of info online)
posted by gaspode at 5:23 AM on September 19, 2016

Running definitely seems like the sport that causes the most "mystery injuries". Nagging feelings, shin splints and all kinds of overuse injuries. If you continue to run I'm sure you will encounter them and my advice is to almost never push through pain (different than the discomfort of being out of breath). Even in college where you could say the stakes are higher my teammates and I consistently pushed through minor pain only for it to later turn into a more serious injury and backfire. That's all irrelevant to your current situation but I thought it worth mentioning.

The athletic trainers weren't able to diagnose it but I did something to my left hip flexor my senior year. I couldn't jog without pretty severe pain but even at it's worse I could always walk with only moderate amounts of pain. If you're ever experiencing pain so severe that you can't walk around you should definitely be seeing the doctor. The only common running injury, which I can think of, that could sneak up on you like that is a stress fracture. I'm no doctor but in my experience with 5 years on my track team no one has ever had an injury that's as serious as yours sounds and not gone to the doctor.
posted by aaabbbccc at 9:49 AM on September 19, 2016 [1 favorite]

Thanks for all the advice guys. I did end up going to see my ortho and while the X-rays were inconclusive, he thinks I most likely have a stress fracture in my femoral neck at my hip. MRI is later this week to confirm. Most definitely something I should have gone in for. He said right away, he was worried about it. Thanks again.
posted by Quincy at 7:02 PM on September 20, 2016 [2 favorites]

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