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Summer suspense

Friday, July 22, 2016

I am still here, still working toward fitness goals, but those goals have shifted quite a bit due to my hip pain. My Couch-to-5K plan has been totally de-railed, perhaps permanently, due to this pain.

The issue
The pain is in my right hip. Mostly it has been an ache, but the levels do vary. The most intense pain feels like an ice pick being jabbed into the ball of my hip joint, from the front and the back.

Early on, the pain not only occurred during the kick, but also when moving the leg laterally as if to stand up, and bending over at the hip. The most intense pain occurs when I kick while swimming. Even if I try to hold my legs still by using a pool buoy, there is still pain from torso movement of the hip.

Acc'ding to the ortho doc, the x-rays show the hip does not have arthritis, nor does it have bursitis, nor any sort of stress fracture. The ortho says it is some sort of inflammation or possible injury of the tendons and cartilage attaching the quads to the hip itself, the hip flexors.

What caused the inflammation/injury in the first place? Not sure, but the wogging seems to be a likely culprit. Why? This year is the first year I've ever seriously tried to jog, not just walk.

The results
I stopped swimming for weeks - too painful. I stopped wogging, out of concern that this was the root cause. I did not go to either of the mini-triathlons that I was signed up for. I've been struggling against despair, against the desire to throw in the towel and say "What's the use?"

To counteract this negativity and maintain aerobic conditioning, I've been a bike-riding fiend, riding at every opportunity, going for distance, and sometimes speed. I try to bike 2-4 times a week, taking a 20+ mile ride on the weekends. A couple of weekends ago, I hit my year goal of riding a close bike trail round trip, 60 miles total.

I've saw a physical therapist twice a week for several weeks. I've been seeing a chiropractor twice a week.

Current status
After physical therapy and seeing the chiropractor, plus not doing the activities that cause me pain, my hip seems to be getting better. Slowly, but there is improvement.
I've been able to swim twice this week, 11 laps the 1st session, and 12 laps the 2nd session. The breathing and muscles are both fine; duration is dictated by the hip pain.

The ortho said during the follow-up visit to give it til September. If it hasn't significantly improved and/or gone away, then we'd do an MRI.

The future
I don't know. I simply don't know and that's the most frustrating. Will this pain ever go away? If so, what will it take for it to go away? Or will it stay because of age and overuse? Will I ever be able to swim again like I have been all these years?

Nobody has answers for my questions.

I know that I don't want to give up my swimming. Swimming has been my go-to exercise for years and I miss it terribly. If it is a choice between swimming and wogging, swimming wins because I think I can keep swimming for the rest of my life. The wogging I was still getting used to, and don't have the love for it that I do for swimming.

I know that I love bike riding. It doesn't hurt my hip or my knees, it gets me outdoors, I get to go places and see things outside, like a runner but on a bike. It makes me feel like a kid again. Every time I ride I get a big, silly grin on my face. And the day after even the longest, hardest rides, the rides thru Sufferlandia, where last few miles I have to talk myself into not giving up, even after those rides I am ready to ride again the next day.

I know that I need goals to work toward, to strive for, that I feel excited about and maybe a little scared, too. Water aerobics just doesn't make me feel excited, or even interested.

So for now I am suspended, waiting, doing what I can that doesn't cause me pain. The goals will have to wait until I know where this pain will lead me. For now, the bike riding and p.t. exercises have to be enough.

Thanks for listening.
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