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When Left Means Right & Knee Means Hip

Posted Nov 04 2010 3:40am

“Hit the stop button. Get off the treadmill. I can’t let you run anymore, you’re gonna get hurt.”

Those words sound horrible, evil, depressing.

But to me, they were magical, beautiful, fantastic.

Those words meant there was something wrong with the way I was running. Seeing something wrong means there’s something to be fixed.

Yesterday was supposed to be the day the orthopedist was going to insist on surgery if I wasn’t running yet.

(I’m not running yet. I only made it to half a mile.)

5 months is a really, really long time when you’re wishing you were running or biking or something. But in the grand scheme of things, 5 months isn’t that long. No way was I letting some doc that saw me for a few minutes every 4 weeks slice my knee open.

So with a deadline impending (and my insurance deductible conveniently met) I searched out other options.

I finally found a guy that was certified in ART- active release technique - which I’ve heard can be quite successful in resolving chronic injuries. The guy sounded good- he had experience, he had advanced certifications, and he was a runner & triathlete. IS a runner & triathlete.

With nothing to lose, I knocked on his door and begged him to fix me.

Bad news: I’m quite messed up.

Good news: It’s likely fixable.

Hallelujiah!

He didn’t say rest and ice and covered it in some pain numbing cream and come back and expect it to be magically better.

He said it was going to take time, a lot of hard work, and some more pain before I was up and running again. But he didn’t say if I was running again. Smile

My head was flooded with so much information I can hardly remember it all, but the gist of it is this:

My left IT band is hurting because my right side is rotating too much when I run. It sounds backwards, but because of the rotation, extra stress is being put on my left IT band and my left leg is working much harder than it should be. My joints are super mobile, but extremely inflexible…aka a bad combo.

(He was convinced from watching me run that I’d had an injury to my right hip in the past. After insisting I never did, and him asking over & over, “are you sure?” I suddenly flashed back to my high school days were I limped and hobbled around with tendinitis in my right hip from dancing.)

I was amazed- the doc just looked at me standing in front of him and pretty much knew right away what he thought the problem was. He did a few more tests- balancing, squatting, rotating, etc and watched me run on the treadmill.

Not one x-ray. No MRI. No poking and prodding. Problem found. Genius. (Or super quack.)

So now starts more therapy, more exercises, more doctor’s appointments. But this time the exercises make so much more sense to me. They’re functional. I can feel how hard they are on the right instead of the left.

And me explaining all that probably took longer than it did for him to diagnose me.

Have you ever tried alternative therapies? What was your experience like?

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