Diagnosis: Broken Hip


Today was the day I would get the results of the MRI. After doing plenty of internet research, I figured that the best case scenario was further inflammation of the same hip flexor strain that my General Practitioner had diagnosed months back. The worst case scenario would be a tear somewhere in my hip labrum. Depending on the severity, that could require surgery. Whatever it was, I was looking forward to getting an answer and starting the path towards recovery.

It turned out to be neither of those.

“How does the hip feel?” the doctor asked. A little sore today, but not as bad as this last week.

He came right out and said it. “You have a Femoral Head Stress Fracture.”

Wow, I thought, not really understanding what he said. It turns out the fracture is in the plate of my hip, the right side, not far from the socket (labrum) that connects to the pelvis. He said that the labrum is also off, which points to another injury. Whatever I did to that poor hip, I did it real good.

He asked questions about my activities, trying to figure out how this happened. I never noticed a snap or any moment where this could have happened. He said that it’s more common with running because of the impact. When we discussed some of my rides in a little more detail, he said that it could have happened when riding out of the saddle on a steep climb. That is when I would be most at risk for this type of injury. That jives with my Grandfather Mountain theory.

The only prescription right now is rest, and lots of it. I will not even think about treatment for the next six weeks. The only activity that is at all acceptable is swimming or upper body exercises.

My first question was whether my plans in France are still possible. Yes, he said, with some work. We’ll revisit this again at the end of January, and I’ll work myself back into shape slowly. The goal is to resume training sometime in March. Since the event is in the late summer, my recovery fits within the training timeline.

Even though this is somewhat of a bummer, I am relieved. Finally I can stop training and aggravating this injury, which to be frank, has not been a lot of fun. The next time I ride, it won’t be on a broken hip, and it’ll feel a lot better.

Whatever happens, this story ends in the Alps.

19 responses to “Diagnosis: Broken Hip

  • bgddyjim

    That’s crazy, brother… Look at the bright side – you can tell people you’re so tough you snapped your own hip flexing a leg muscle to get up a hill…on a bicycle. Now you can’t make something like that up. šŸ˜‰

  • tuckamoredew

    Good Lord! That’s a bit of a shocker. I’m glad to hear that your plans for France haven’t been dashed by it. I watched that doc you posted few days ago and I can see you will want to be in tip top shape for the ride.

  • Thomas Clayton

    Aaron,”fracture is in the plate of my hip”. So you fractured, part of, your hip while riding? Cycling is so non impact, never thought this could happen. Anyway, you have my support through the difficult times and getting back on the bike always.

    • aaronwest

      It is pretty surprising, the last thing I would have expected. What’s odd is my hip was broken when I last rode with you guys in Asheville. Didn’t feel it that day, but it sure hurt the day after. Appreciate the support, as always. We’ll be back there again, soon. You might have to wait for me a little longer at the top of the climbs.

  • suzecycling

    Ouch! That had never crossed my mind, didn’t have any idea it was even possible. Rest rest rest, don’t even imagine pushing those pedals.Though I’m very sorry to hear the news, I have no doubt at all you’ll nonetheless have a fabulous race in the Alps.

    Heal fast!

    • aaronwest

      Thanks, Suze. I’m living proof that it’s possible, but very rare. Either way, I haven’t had a proper rest for awhile. Even though I was geared up to train in the offseason, I’m not terribly disappointed to take some time off, read some books, and catch up on other aspects of life. 6 weeks is not forever.

  • power2weightcycling

    You are still the man, I’m pulling for you, if you are on Recovery Rd. by the Assault on Carolina’s, or AAOM, maybe I can keep up with you,…won’t THAT be super discouraging!!!

  • Jim Brennan

    First of all, Aaron, I am not a doctor, certified physical therapist or exercise psychologist. I’m just a guy who has run his entire life, been through a few knee and other injuries, have arthritis like everyone else my age, and just finished my thirteenth marathon. But my advice to fellow-runners and aspiring marathoners who experience an injury is, “you’re not going to run anything unless you are healthy.” So, you are wise not to even think of rehab until the end of January. Get healthy first, take advice of qualified medical people and then train smartly. Your body will let you know when it’s ready to rip. Good luck. I look forward to reading about your French adventure.

    • aaronwest

      Jim, you always give great advice. In fact, your last comment that I need to listen to my body was what prompted me to pursue the specialist. I knew something was wrong. I have a lot of faith in this doctor. The first 6 weeks will be rest with no thought of rehab. There will be other obstacles from there, but he was confident I will be in training mode in March. I am confident that I’ll be ready when I feel ready, and when he clears me.

  • Bike Noob

    Aaron, I started riding because running wrecked my knees, and I knew a low-impact sport like cycling was just what I needed. Now, you’ve got me worried! Best wishes for a quick recovery.

    • aaronwest

      Thanks, Ray. I wouldn’t worry in the slightest. Even the doctor told me that cycling is the among lowest impact sports out there. What likely happened is I pushed a little too hard on a 2.5 mile, 18-25% grade, while standing up for most of the climb. Maybe even pushed too highof a gear. Even then, the chances of an injury like this are beyond rare.

  • Gerry

    Aaron, here’s to hoping you’re back on the bike before March. At least HR is in August, so you’ll have 5 good solid months of training. Stay light while you’re recovering – you’ll have enough to focus on once you get back on the bike (I’m projecting here…that would be my biggest problem, I’m sure).

    • aaronwest

      That’s some very good advice. Honestly, I’ve fallen off the wagon off the wagon in that department mostly due to the pain and needing some comfort food. I plan to get back on track this week. It’ll be a little bit of a hurdle trying to stay light without cardio, but I think it can be done.

  • James

    Aaron – what a bugger! I don’t believe it. Anyway, focus on Haute Route and the recovery, although frustrating at times I am sure, will pass and you’ll be back in the saddle again (cue Steve Tyler shriek) before you know it.

    A forced break from a lifestyle that you love is never easy and whereas you must listen to the Dr and not push it, the mental aspect of being off the program and off the bike must not be forgotten. I say this only because I know I would struggle with that part of it. Somehow you have to ‘give yourself permission’ to be off for the next 6 weeks, and don’t beat yourself up about it.

    It’s easier said than done when you lead an active lifestyle, but if you don’t accept the recovery, you’ll just be frustrated and that’s not a pleasant feeling.

    I may be preaching to the already converted, but I thought I’d offer my 2 cents anyway! Good luck with everything and looking forward to reading about your return to the bike in 2013!

    • aaronwest

      Appreciate that, James. You’re right that it’ll be tough getting away from that lifestyle, but in a way I’m ready for it. There have been a lot of starts and stops over the last few months as I’ve tried to deal with this injury. Trying to get back on the horse with this pain had taken the fun out of it. Even though I still had some good times, it has been difficult. I’m definitely not thrilled to be away from what I love, but I am relieved that things will get better.

      I’ve never been fond of cold weather riding or the trainer, so there’s that too. šŸ™‚

      Trust me, in 6-8 weeks, even Steven Tyler will be impressed by my “Baaaack” shriek!

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