A Slight Sigh of Relief

Today was Doctor #3. My expectations could not have been lower. After this major setback, I figured that my labrum was either torn even worse, or I had a stress fracture, or perhaps both This would leave me off for several months, and would kill most of my plans for next year, including Haute Route.

The news was a little better than I had hoped.

Let me backtrack a bit. After my first and last (for now) mountain bike, the pain was back with a vengeance. The hip has been popping and clicking louder than ever. I’ve been walking with a distinct limp, and I even dug out the cane to help me get around. It has not been a fun couple of weeks.

I was able to get back to the doctor quickly. After a year of dealing with this mess, I was ready to look into serious measures. Even if I had to be off for several months, I would be satisfied knowing that eventually I would get resolution. I asked him about surgical avenues.

The response from my doctor was sobering. Perhaps he was just preparing me for the worst, but I was startled and genuinely worried. He said that hips are tricky, and that if I had surgery, there’s a chance I could never ride again. ‘What about professional athletes that come back from this injury all the time?’ I asked. He said that some of them possibly have help (like A-Rod and alleged steroids), and some never come back. The hip is a difficult area, and medical science is still new. A mere 10-15 years ago, they simply couldn’t do anything for hip patients.

He recommended me to the hip surgeon, Dr. Guy, and ordered a new MRI.

The best news is that the MRI didn’t show anything new. There is a torn labrum, but it is small and at the back of the labrum, which wouldn’t impede weight bearing or range of motion. It is not responsible for the problems that I’m still dealing with.

I told him about the pain and soreness, the persistent clicking and popping. He examined me, and it popped while I was on the table. Previously I had been examined and it was quiet, which is almost like tell your mechanic to fix a noise, but it doesn’t make the noise in front of him. The previous doctors seemed to dismiss this symptom, and I wondered whether they thought I was making it up. “It is definitely popping,” Dr. Guy said. As he would move the leg around, the hip would pop again, and again. Pop, pop, pop. It kept going, like my hip was setting off fireworks.

I asked what it could be, and I was pleased by his frank answer. He wasn’t sure. It could be a couple of things, but there’s really no way of knowing without going inside. He said that it is possibly not even the hip, and we definitely don’t want to scope an area that isn’t hurt.

Even though the path to surgery is close, we’re not there yet. We are trying one more thing -– a pain test of some sort. I honestly don’t know what this will be like, but my sense is that we’ll try to isolate the pain. He then wanted me to take a super duper anti-inflammatory. He said that could possibly work and we would be done.

As I was checking out, Eric the Physician’s Assistant brought out my prescription. Of all things, it was prednisone! No way! I had just finished taking that for a lung infection. The side effects are brutal. I had to deal with unsettled stomach, major insomnia, and just a miserable sense of unease. I couldn’t wait to get off the stuff. As it turns out, that summer cold coincided with the increasing symptoms that led to this setback, so I may not need to take it. Since it didn’t work last time, I’m going to disobey this order.

Even though we still don’t know the problem, it will likely not be as major as I had feared. At least that’s my optimistic take.

Last week I thought there was a chance I would never ride again. Today, I’m pretty confident that I will, and maybe soon.


8 responses to “A Slight Sigh of Relief

  • tuckamoredew

    Sounds hopeful. Maybe the popping will lead them to a previously missed diagnoses and a quicker recovery.

  • doug

    Assuming it is an inflamation problem, Planetary Herbals Inflama Care for two weeks with no cycling, then start “spinning” easy indoors for a week while continuing to take two tablets a day until the bottle (i.e. 120 tablets) is all gone. Start back riding outdoors with a minimal amount of climbing. If you can stand it, ice baths after you ride outdoors.

  • Alvin

    Hey Aaron, If it makes you feel any better, there’s a guy in my club that had hip surgery and still rides. I don’t know all the details like how long ago was his surgery or was it a full hip replacement or what? All I know is that this guy ride strong even after a hip surgery. Now, I don’t know what percentage of people that have hip surgery actually come back to ride…maybe pretty low, but you could be one of the lucky ones that can come back, in the event surgery is needed…Hang in there, and good Luck!

    • aaronwest

      I think the percentage is very high of people that can ride after hip surgery, but there’s always the chance of something happening. Fortunately if I end up going under the knife, it’ll be a scope that should be low risk.

  • r4builder

    I know setbacks like this are never easy, but I have two folks I ride with that have had major hip work done, both came back strong. One gal ended up needing a full hip replacement after the accident during the ride for animal care.

    If you need (yet another) opinion, supposedly one of the best hip/knee surgeons in the country is over in Greenville. I can try to get you his information. I’ll continue to keep you in my prayers. Just remember, the mountains will be there when you are ready to attack them again. Focus on getting well.

    • aaronwest

      Thanks for that. I may ask for that information someday. The most infamous hip comeback story is Floyd Landis. He rode on a fake hip pretty well. Even if he had some help, that’s a lot of punishment to put on one’s body. I’m pretty confident that I’ll be able to bounce back fine.

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