Injury, shminjury–I’m pretty damn happy right now. Why?
Physical therapy is going really, really well.
Joe, my physical therapist, treated me last year for an IT Band issue that put me out of commission for a couple of months. He did a good job rehabbing me last year, so I decided to return to him last week for my hip flexor problem. He has a sports-centered practice and even helps train college athletes at a nearby university. A runner himself, he understands my motivation and need to return to running as soon as possible.
I started PT last week and have been to 3 sessions so far. He’s having me do multiple exercises in the clinic to strengthen my glutes to stabilize my hips, which were abnormally rotated. I’m also doing a few different strengthening exercises at home, like clamshells. So far, so good. Best of all, at out first visit he estimated I would be able to run in a week or 2. Squeee!
Last Friday he let me run on the AlterG treadmill to see how my hip felt running with less gravity and therefore less pressure on my legs and hips. The theory behind the AlterG is that it places less weight on the lower body, and therefore your lower body experiences less impact and, hopefully, less pain.
Here’s a better explanation from the AlterG site about how its treadmill assists withs sports injury rehab:
Running with 70% of my regular body weight felt incredible–I felt like I was skipping across the surface of the moon.
I was thrilled enough just to run after about five days of no running, let alone run like I was half-flying. Unfortunately, that bliss was short-lived: I ended up feeling a few twinges in the hip during the run on the ‘mill, and was sore and stiff over the weekend. Womp womp.
At my next PT visit, I didn’t get to run on the treadmill because of the pain I’d experienced after doing it last week. That was somewhat discouraging.
When I returned to PT yesterday, though, Joe examined me and noted my hips weren’t abnormally rotated anymore. [Fist bump!] He also let me run on the AlterG because I hadn’t experienced any hip twinges in a few days. [Double fist bump!]
I ran for 12 minutes at a cautious 10:00 minute/mile pace at 75% of my body weight, with 2 minutes of running on an incline (which had aggravated my hip in the past few weeks)… and I didn’t have any problems. Hooray! Running that scant amount of time put me in a supremely chipper mood for the entire morning yesterday. No joke.
Joe told me that if I’m pain-free today, I can run short, easy tomorrow and over the weekend. I am incredibly excited about trying running again on Friday, and really hope I’m able to resume feeling normal on a run. Despite this happiness, there’s a part of me that still fears my left hip pain will crop up again after few miles. I need to continue to stay positive and not worry myself so much that I convince my body that it’s still injured.
When training for a marathon, you reach a point right before the race where you need to let go of your stress and just trust your training. To not do so could be detrimental.
I need to incorporate that same philosophy to my rehab. I need to let go of the worry and doubts that I’m not getting better, that this injury will hold me down for an unbearable period, and just trust the rest I’ve had and the exercises I’ve faithfully performed over the last week. If my physical therapist believes I’m capable of doing this, I should believe it, too.
I’ve got this.