I now see the major wrong that I committed and I’m writing this post so other “idiots” training for marathons won’t make the same mistake as me.

The Background

Back in July after a particularly intense hot yoga class I had some side/hip pain on the left side of my body. It felt kind of like a pulled muscle. I’d had pulled muscles before so I chose to ignore it, assuming it would just go away.

Well it didn’t. And it continued to bother me throughout the last several months. It wasn’t the kind of pain that stopped me from doing anything. It was more like a dull, background pain. And, occasionally, if I twisted wrong or rolled over in my sleep on it wrong I would get an extremely sharp pain.

The intensity varied over the last 5 months, but it was always there.

The Problem

As you guys know, I was diagnosed with a torn tendon in my right foot after the marathon and had to take five weeks off from running. When I saw a physiotherapist in October she recommended I wear running shoes ALL the time to help the tendon heal.

When I started wearing running shoes all the time the pain in my left hip/side seemed to escalate. There was one point when I was napping and the pain was so intense when I moved wrong it woke me up out of my deep sleep. The nagging/background pain seemed to be stronger than ever.

I posted about it on Twitter because I had no idea what might be wrong and Aron (my running idol) suggested I might be out of alignment and that I should go see a chiropractor.

After chatting with one of my girlfriends about it, she told me that her roommate (who is also a runner) sees a really good chiropractor that she recommends. I got the name, and made the appointment.

The Lightbulb

I went to see the chiropractor on Monday morning and after telling her all about my problem, the fact that I was training for a marathon and my torn tendon, she shone some new light on the entire thing. It was like a lightbulb went off in my head and it all suddenly made sense.

She said when I was pushing my body so far in the yoga pose my back probably had a spasm and she showed me these trigger points that are actually in my mid-back but that affect the hip/side area. Since I was running such high mileage it never really had a chance to heal. So that area of the back – both the muscle (dull aching pain) and the joint (sharp pain when I twist weird) stayed seized up all through marathon training.

This in turn made me unconsciously put more weight on my right side (hello torn tendon in my right foot) in my every day life. It all made so much sense and fit together so well it was ridiculous.

The Treatment

She did A.R.T. (Active Release Therapy) on my lower back/hip/side and cracked my ankles (which were apparently locked up). A.R.T. was so freaking painful, I was sweating and it took everything in me to keep from crying out. But it seemed to have helped. My lower back was super, super sore on Monday night but my hip/side does seem to be feeling better.

She recommended if I decide to train for another marathon I should get A.R.T. regularly and a deep tissue massage every six weeks.

I’ve been lying low with yoga and running the last couple of days (i.e. not doing anything) and I’m going to see the chiropractor again this morning. The chiropractor is also a runner and after seeing the doctor, a physiotherapist and her, she has helped me the most so far. Hopefully she keeps helping me!

Moral of the Story

If you’re feeling ANY kind of pain that is not normal side effects of working out go get it checked out. When my “pulled muscle” still wasn’t healed after three days, after three weeks, after THREE MONTHS I should have gotten my butt to the doctor. But I didn’t. That alone likely resulted in my torn tendon and taking five weeks off of running.

Check out this very informative post by Caitlin if you’re wondering whether the pain you’re feeling is normal training pain or not!

And now?

Now I’m hoping to be well on the road to recovery. I’m going to ease back into running super slowly and take it really easy on my body and pay attention to any signs it’s giving me. I’m really hoping that my injury days are behind me and I think if I train smart, they will be!

Have you ever been injured? How did you deal with it?

31 Responses

  1. I had trouble with my knee this spring. I had to take a good 6 weeks off from running (I think?) Which was tough. But luckily I was able to get back to running and it didn’t bother me at all during marathon training or the marathon. Now, though, it’s sort of been bugging me again. It’s like my body knew that I had to get through this marathon and now it’s saying – ok, take better care of me now, please. So I am focusing on cross training, stretching, and I really need to pull out my PT exercises and work on those!

  2. I think one of the reasons I don’t really do sports is because I’m so good at injuring myself in weird ways. Being physically active would just be an open invitation to a whole mess of new issues (or so I tell myself). I’ve had a bruised kneecap from playing with my dog (tripped over the ball I was kicking around), sprained an ankle from slipping on the second to last step, nearly broke a toe (and foot) by dropping a heavy mug on it. That was over a month ago and the toe is still bruised and a tiny bit sore.

    My old roommate swore by her chiropractor and every time I had issues with my back or something (that’s another thing, I’m almost prone to backaches) she would try to convince me to make an appointment with her’s. I never did, I’m paranoid about them, but now I’m wondering if perhaps she was on to something.

  3. Amber, that’s awesome. Sounds like you’re on the right track. I know I’m always relieved when I finally realize what happened and how I can work to fix it. Moving in a positive direction always feels good. The manfriend has been boasting chiropractors like none other bc he goes to one, but I have yet to go.

  4. Leigh says:

    I’ve never had an injury like that, so I’m not sure how I would deal with it. That’s great that you are getting your body looked after and giving it a chance to heal ๐Ÿ™‚

  5. Lisa says:

    Great post. I injured my IT Band in Sept shortly after Hood to Coast. A year of training, an intense endurance race, and then going back to running too soon afterward were a recipe for disaster. I listened to my body though and KNEW the pain I felt was bad pain. Meaning stop running. I really recommend a sports medicine doc. Mine was fantastic. So much better than the other specialists I saw. He gave me some hip strengthening exercises that have really helped!

  6. Kara says:

    I absolutely love my chiropractor! I find that they can offer more long-term results, rather than doctors who may just prescribe pain killers to temporarily subdue pain. Which one did you go see?

    I’ve dislocated my shoulder a few times and I started doing light physio but lost track (and interest). Sometimes it’s “loose” so whenever I go to my chiro she readjusts it for me.

  7. LG says:

    Wow – that’s interesting! Our bodies really are complex, hey?

    I have had a couple of similar things happen to me. A few years ago I had the WORST knee pain, but only in one knee. Once I stopped wearing my worn-out Puma shoes, it went back to normal in a few days! (But I had to go to a physiotherapist before I had a “lightbulb” moment about it!)

    I also sit all day and run 3X week, so I get lower back pain sometimes. But the lower back pain is actually because my HAMSTRINGS are so tight that my back has to work harder or something. Anyway, yoga and strength training have really helped with my back issues.

    I just wanted to say I’m so sorry about that accident too. Oh, that’s awful. Life is really so fragile. “A vapour that appears for a little time, then vanishes.” (James 1:4) I’m from a small town and when something bad like that happens, it affects everybody. Anyway, yeah. I don’t know what else to say. *hug*

    • MissAmber says:

      Thank you! I didn’t want a bunch of sympathy since it really wasn’t about me so that’s why I closed the comments but I really, really appreciate your thoughts. The community is still very shaken up by it.

  8. Wow! It sounds like you had a lot of what I had … well, in turns of the tight ankles (so painful getting them cracked!) I also dealt with alignment issues and hip issues through my training, but I’m on the road to recovery now รขโ‚ฌโ€œร‚ย thankfully. Good luck with yours.

  9. I’ve had MINOR injuries, but mainly things that were caused by wearing the wrong shoes. It is so important to listen to your body though. Glad you’re on the road to recovery though! ๐Ÿ™‚

  10. aron says:

    YAY glad you are finding something that works! its pretty crazy how everything is connected, i think that is the benefit to chiropractors, is they look at the whole body for why injuries are occuring. ART is definitely painful, but feels so good after. hope you continue to heal!

  11. Stephany says:

    I’m really glad you were able to get help and figure out just what the real problem is. I think I’m much more careful about pain/injuries than most because I’m just a big baby and want everything to be working normally. ๐Ÿ™‚

    In July, I twisted/sprained/broke (still have no idea what I did to it, but something happened since it still hurts) my ankle and after it swelled up to twice it’s size and bruised, I knew I had to take some time off, so I waited until walking on my foot felt normal (iced every night) until I started running again. (About 2 weeks.) Having an injury, though, makes you much more thankful for being able to exercise!

  12. Lindsay says:

    Hooray another ART/chiropracte convert! ๐Ÿ™‚ Funny how our body is all tied together sometimes. Not something standard-medicine often considers (just treating a symptom). Plus it’s nice to fix things without having to resort to pills/shots/etc. Slight believer in non-traditional medicine here, lol. Glad you have found some relief!!

  13. Kelly says:

    I think this is one of the reasons that people have the opinion that running long distances is “bad” for you. In some ways, it can be- if you are so focused on the race that you don’t listen to your body. However, it’s a really hard line to walk because if you listen to every small ache and pain- you could never RUN a marathon! Hopefully all your rest right now will help all the injuries and help you get back to it slowly and injury free ๐Ÿ™‚

  14. Caroline says:

    This is what blows my mind about the human body. Like okay so something in your BACK cause something (in the end) to be wrong with your FOOT. REALLY BODY? When you think of your foot hurting, you’re never like “oh it must be because my back is out of alignment”
    My knee pain has been relatively consistent throughout the past year. It hurts right now as I type this.. I should probably ice it.. Anyways, I always thought it was interesting that the tightness in my inner & outer quads and my calfs all have a direct relation to my knee pain. Icing my knee is a nice fix for the knee pain but what really helps is foam rolling /stretching the quads. It’s just so weird.. how everything is connected! Now I’m wondering if there is something else causing my knee pain.. like my shoulder or elbow or something..
    Anddd that’s my rant for the day : ) Great post!

    • MissAmber says:

      Go see the chiropractor if you can! They might be able to do A.R.T on your quads (which is SO intense but great for your muscles) and it might really help!

  15. I have never had a long lasting injury, a week at most.

  16. Naomi says:

    i’ve been seeing a chiro since july when i started having all kinds of problems. its the first time i’d ever tried art and i did cry during my first session. but i was so amazed at how much it relieved the pain. now i see my chiro every 6 weeks for maintenance. i only wished i knew about it sooner. i’m glad you learned about it!

  17. Sage says:

    I dislocated my collarbone in gymnastics and I was off for 2 months. And then after that I was only allowed to do specific things in the gym. I dealt with it not very well, but the pain was enough to ensure that I would never get injured like that again.

    I had physio for about 12 months after the injury and even now I still get pain when it is really cold or I am stressed.

  18. Becky says:

    Wow – I’m glad this was really finally diagnosed for you! I don’t know what it is, but I’m more willing to go to the doctor when I feel sick than when I’m hurt physically. It took me awhile to go about my knee and I’m sure I did more damage to it because I was still running/exercising without really getting to the root of the problem.

  19. Abby says:

    You posted this at a perfect time, Amber! I am in an injury dilemma right now! And very similary to your description of hip pain! I went through sports therapy a few weeks ago, did tons of icing, took tons of NSAIDs, and it was better!

    Ran 17 miles. Good. Ran 20 miles. Wonderful! Ran a 6 miler on Sunday, and my hip pain is BACK!!!!!!! :'(

    My marathon is in less 4 weeks, so I’m FREAKING OUT. The pain isn’t debilitating – but it just doesn’t feel “right”.

    • MissAmber says:

      Have you tried getting a deep tissue massage? I bet there is some muscle tightness going on in your hip that foam rolling and stretching can’t fix. A deep tissue massage or some A.R.T. (muscle stripping) on your hip might really help!! I would do it at least 1.5 – 2 weeks out from the marathon though!

  20. Nora says:

    I’m glad it’s better for you! I hurt my hips a few years ago moving a couch… I had to do ART. IT HURT. But it helped.

    And then you know my knee saga from earlier this year, but that’s thankfully all gone. And the stress fracture I was *supposed* to have had? Yeah, not a stress fracture. Just me not stretching enough. It’s maybe a precursor to a fracture but they said if I take it easier than I usually do I should be totally ok. I’m not thrilled that I can’t be all intense with my exercise but I need this body for life!

  21. nicole says:

    so glad you got things figured out! i need to see who specializes in ART in my area and get on the ball!

  22. yuck. while i’m glad you figured out how you did it, im sorry that it has been bothering you for so long!

  23. […] of that left side/back/hip issue? Ya, there was that. That hurt almost constantly for 6 months and finally (after several […]

  24. […] can learn more about that in this post – it’s fascinating to think about how connected our bodies […]

  25. […] I have been going to the chiropractor fairly regularly for almost a year now and have had a great experience. I attribute my regular visits to the fact that I’m yet to have a serious running injury in 2011 when I had several in 2010. […]

  26. […] I know a few different people who are dealing with injuries right now and I’ve certainly dealt with recovering from injuries myself in the past. I’ve also dealt with the bad side effects of not treating injuries properly which as led me to stop exercising for several months. […]