My lackluster season finally makes sense. I’ve been running with a torn labrum in my left hip since early November. Now that I know the diagnosis, I remember how it happened: sprinting hills at practice for the first time. I don’t know if it happened because it had been so long since my body had done an all-out sprint, or because my hip bones are shaped such that they are more likely to cause a tear (I tore my right labrum when I fell during cross country ski practice my junior year of high school). But I remember thinking, “I tore something in my hip.” However, it didn’t hurt too badly, and I chalked it up to adjusting pains of a new training system. As I continued to train, my body adjusted my stride to minimize the pain in my hip. As a result, I felt a lot more acute pain in the muscles in my hip, hamstrings, and lower back, rather than the deep aching pain in my hip.
As runners, and especially at a high-level, we need to be good at handling pain. High pain tolerance and management is a great benefit for pushing your body in workouts and dealing with sore muscles and minor aches and pains, but becomes a detriment when you push through a more severe injury. Now I’m kicking myself for not recognizing this as the kind of injury that I needed to figure out before I continued to fight through an entire year of racing.
I finally recognized my problem as most likely a labrum tear after a couple weeks into my running break. My agitated muscles had enough time to settle down and stop hurting, but I continued to have pain deep inside my hip. Now I’m facing another type of problem: trying to get my hip taken care of with high quality care and efficiency. With the limited amount of money I make, I get insurance through Medicaid, and it had been a long, drawn out process to get the medical attention I need. It has taken five weeks to meet with a doctor for permission of an MRI, take the MRI and then see a sports medicine doctor for permission to see a surgeon. Now I am waiting two more weeks to meet with a surgeon, and who knows how long it will be until a surgery date.