Tag Archives: sports medicine

The Good News Continues

Today was my first time seeing the sports med doctor in two months. He had been out of the country for my last visit, so I saw the PA.

The news was encouraging. After talking to me about my symptoms and checking my mobility, he told me he thought I was getting better. This was somewhat of a surprise, as I felt slightly better, yet had not improved as much as I had hoped. A lot of that can be attributed to the cold spell we recently suffered, which hopefully is near the end. The hip always struggles in colder weather.

What’s even better is he gave me the go ahead to increase activity and intensity. He said I can go faster and farther, but cautioned me to be careful. I should listen to my body, and make sure I am aware of my symptoms.

He also cautioned me not to go too far at once. He reminded me of the 10% rule that runners obey — not to increase weekly load by more than 10%. That will be difficult to follow to the letter since the weather has thrown a wrench in my training schedule, but in the next week or two, I should have a baseline idea of what I can handle.

Next week I will be in Spartanburg for a couple days. A few weeks later I will be in Brevard. I am okay to ride on these trips, but again, while being careful not to overdo it. He said that I should be prepared to take a day off in between rides in Brevard.

We ended by him saying to come back in 8 weeks. I did some quick math, and realized that would be towards the end of May. What about the Assault on Mount Mitchell? “Make it 6 weeks,” he said. The next appointment will be about a week and a half before the main event. While I feel it is possible, and even likely that I’ll be able to participate, the ultimate decision will be made then.

What is most encouraging is that the further along I go, the better chance I won’t require surgery. So far the recovery schedule is proving the original diagnose of a stress fracture. Since I have been riding without any setbacks, it also calms any concerns that this could have been an overuse injury.

Hips are notorious for healing slowly. I’ll just have to be patient. However difficult it still is, I’m grateful to be back on the bike for the warmer, spring weather.

The Injury

A smart person once told me that injury is a part of activity. It is going to happen at some point. What matters is how you handle it.

I am officially injured.

It started sometime around Bridge to Bridge. The exact moment when the injury occurred is a mystery, but my guess it was somewhere along the final climb up Grandfather Mountain. Symptoms first showed up a few days afterward.

I knew around Six Gap Century that this was not a simple tweak. I rode through most of those hills in pain, most from my injury, some from the difficulty of the ride.

Since then my training has been off and on. After a lengthy rest period, the hip felt a lot better and I was able to begin Phase I of my off-season training. That was short lived, as the injury roared back after riding around the hills of Asheville.

Yesterday was my first step toward diagnosis and treatment. I saw Evan Ekman, a local sports medicine guru who has treated the best and brightest athletes in the area. He checked me out, took some x-rays, and asked a lot of questions. When did it start? When does it hurt? Do I ever hear a popping sound? He moved my leg in different directions to determine where it hurt.

Dr Ekman's office was adorned with sports jerseys.

Dr Ekman’s office was adorned with sports jerseys.

He had a few ideas of what the injury could be, perhaps an issue with my labrum or hip snapping syndrome. After hearing about the injury that Alex Rodriguez is enduring, my hope is that it is the latter if either. It could also be just inflammation, but since I have been dealing with it for several months, it is best to diagnose the problem and move forward with recovery.

The next step was to get an MRI for a proper diagnosis.

I showed up not quite sure what to expect. Being slightly claustrophobic, I was worried about being inside the tube. Fortunately my head extruded out the other side, so that was not an issue. Everything was going fine until she added that one final touch. She put a band around my feet to keep them in the same position.


Remember that I have a hip injury. That band essentially pulled on my injury, like pulling on a gaping wound. It caused excruciating pain. I told the tech right away that this might not work. She said to do my best, but there was literally no wiggle room. I had to suffer through it.

This was my prison for 40 minutes.

This was my prison.

Holy mother of God, this was painful. I stayed as still as I could, but with every minute it hurt more. I felt like I was doing a plank with a knife stuck in my legs. Loud noises came from the machine. Some sounded like loud rumbling or humming. Others sounded like electric guitars. Even though they were unsettling, they somewhat distracted from the pain.

About 40 minutes passed. The Tech told me that there was one more test, just four minutes remaining. I gritted through, just thinking about the relief I’d feel shortly afterward. My lower body was shaking, quaking uncontrollably from the pain. The noise stopped, then she said there was yet another she had forgotten. Another round of suffering and it was finally over.

As I scooted out, I could not feel my legs. It has been a couple hours and they are still numb.

Oddly enough, after I limped away and sat down in my car, the hip didn’t hurt as much. It was as if the pain was squeezed out by the machine.

The results will be ready Monday. In the meantime I’ll be at the bar.