>> Wednesday, May 25, 2016
On Friday, I finally got an MRI of my leg. The Doc and physical therapist were both SURE it was a stress reaction or stress fracture, but then the pain started "moving" lower down my leg, so I pushed to have it looked at. The doc figured it could be pain from being in the boot - muscles and/or tendons atrophying or just trying to get back to normal once I started walking without the boot again.
Waiting for my turn with this big fella.
I was the last appt on Fri night before the weekend (and they were
running 40-50 mins behind), so the new U of M clinic was DEAD when I left.
"Steve, the MRI showed no stress reaction, no stress fracture, and no sign of there ever being a problem with your leg."
Uhh, is this good news or bad news?
The Doc thinks that this all stems back from my August 2013 injury (diagnosed as a lower back / sacrum issue) where I had pain in my right quad/groin that kept me from running for a good number of months. (That's the year I started the Square Lake Half Iron race as a relay, but we didn't finish because I dropped out in pain after 4 miles.) At the time, I was told this might be something I live with the rest of my life, so I've just dealt with this lower back / sacrum / hip pain. For nearly 3 years. But this could be a disc issue. The doc thinks it may be a herniated disc that's radiating pain down my leg. (That's basically what happened in 2013, but it radiated the pain only down through my groin/quad, and this pain is much lower along my tibia and just above my ankle.) And when I pay attention to my lower back, there's quite a bit of pain on the right side. That's been the pain I've been trying to ignore for the last few years thinking "that's just the way things are going to be."
Hearing this, I was first really annoyed because I DIDN'T NEED TO BE IN THAT BOOT FOR 5 WEEKS! (Not to mention that I wouldn't have needed to PURCHASE that boot in the first place.) And I haven't ran since MARCH and haven't looked more into the pain I was having because everyone was so sure it was a stress fracture. I may have just spent 2 months in pointless pain treating the wrong issues.
Not to mention that being in that boot was probably just making any lower back issue WORSE because I couldn't walk normally. Gosh darn it [says the good Catholic boy who would like to use more severe language but is also aware of the 3rd Commandment].
So here's the plan of attack: for now, we can assume it's a lower back / disc issue. Even if that's not 100% right, it's a less dangerous assumption than the stress fracture assumption. If things don't get better, I can get an MRI of my back, but then the question is "what do we do with those results?" Would it change any treatment? I'm not sure. That'd be another question for the doc if I start thinking we need to look at my back.
I scheduled a P.T. appointment for Monday, June 6th. The doc thinks I just need to work with P.T. for now and see what she thinks of the situation. I emailed her and told her it's (most likely) a disc issue, and she seemed happy to hear that, so I guess that's good news! She can work with that info. I asked her LOTS of questions in my email to her, and she was kind enough to answer them all and tell me what to do / not do for the next 2 weeks until we meet. The short version of her points: (1) watch my posture; (2) don't bend at the lower back (when doing yard work, playing with the boys, etc); (3) non-weight bearing exercises are great, and weight bearing ones are fine if they don't aggravate anything and I make sure to be bending from the hips and not the back; (4) obviously no running, and no biking either because that could aggravate it; and (5) use a rolled up towel for lumbar support to mimic this anytime I'm sitting for a while:
With this new news of "it's not your leg," I took the boys to the park last night as seen on Instagram:
"Chasing this guy through the park."
Anyone have any advice/thoughts on this being a disc issue? I'll keep you all updated. For now, it's back to the gym to work on some boring exercises. And we'll see if Robert at Magna can work with this info and help me out - I go back to see him tomorrow. Wish me luck!