PT: Day one

Today was my first day of physical therapy.

I’m in rather more pain than I was yesterday. Big surprise. Physical therapy isn’t easy and it is painful. I have a long list of exercises to do twice a day. I think I’m going to refer to it as the List de Sade.

I didn’t think my hip was awful. I mean, yes, it hurts all the time (which should have been a clue) and I’m down to about 90 degrees of range of motion. Outside of that range it hurts a lot more. Adding in physical therapy, though, is a whole new level. Generally I try to avoid pain. That’s why I’m wandering around on one crutch and not trying to run. Now I’m supposed to push it, see how far I can go. Well, except that I’m not supposed to push it too hard, but I don’t have much of a read on how much is too much, so I just do my exercises and deal with the fact that it hurts and it’s going to keep hurting for a while.

Constant pain is exhausting. I want this to be over. I want it to get better. I want someone to fix it. That just isn’t going to happen. Even if I end up getting surgery, the rehab is going to be worse than the physical therapy. I know that and it does not make me happy. On the other hand, at least there would be an end. I don’t know if this month of physical therapy is going to fix anything, make anything better, or just result in more people asking me to push to the point of pain and a little bit past it to see how far I can go and if it’s getting any better.

I’ll be good and do my exercises twice a day. My next appointment isn’t until next week, so at least no one else will be causing me pain for a little while. That’s all on me.

Physical therapy

If I have to go through this, I suppose I might as well document it.

I saw another doctor today, Dr. Z. He’s a surgeon who has a lot of experience dealing with hips. I am assigned to do physical therapy twice a week for the next month and then I have another appointment. Sometimes physical therapy can strengthen the muscles around the hip enough that surgery isn’t needed. I’m not laying bets. I will do my best, I will work hard, but I have a very hard time believing that I will be able to run again with a malformed bone in my hip, even if the malformation isn’t big.

I have what’s called a cam impingement. The femoral head, the ball of the ball and socket joint, isn’t round. I also have a labral tear, which is probably where most of the pain is coming from. The doctor said that a lot of people who have hip impingement don’t ever know about it; it only becomes an issue once people exercise hard. I guess that’s a good thing since it means that I was actually working hard enough to make a difference, but that’s not the best thing when working really hard causes damage instead of making my life better. I also am having some issues with pinched nerves, which is not terribly pleasant. None of it at this point is awful, but I’m not where I want to be.

I can’t just get up and run. I got used to that. Now I get up, get changed, get in the car, and drive to the pool. I’m very happy that there’s a 24 hour pool here, but there is something limiting about a pool, about swimming back and forth for as long as my hip puts up with it. I want to be able to run in the cool air before the summer day heats up. I have run in the winter and the spring, but not the summer, and it would be nice to have the memory of the cool mornings to hold me through the heat of the day. I haven’t been running long, but it has hooked me. I think that may be even more true because I know now how much it matters to me. If I’d just been able to keep running, it wouldn’t have been a big deal and I might have tapered off some. Now, though, even if I never run another half marathon, even if I can only run short distances, I want to run again. It matters to me.

Physical therapy is a beginning. At least they know what’s wrong, which is good, and I can swim and work out, and at some point I’ll be able to consistently walk without a crutch.