Realizing the Cause of my 6-Year-Old Injury

>> Saturday, June 29, 2019

I had a MAJOR revelation a few days ago. I figured out where my sacrum issue came from in 2013!

(If you remember, that was some pain that seemed to come out of nowhere and stopped me dead at mile 4 of a half marathon [as part of a half ironman relay] after an otherwise solid year of running. It was initially diagnosed as a sacrum issue that was referring pain down my leg, but I didn't buy that at first. After 4 weeks of not running, it was NO better, and I still would collapse in pain trying to get in the passenger side of a car or take too big of a step up a curb. I had an MRI of my hip in case it wasn't referred pain, but it came up clean. I started doing all kinds of PT exercises. I had a running evaluation 3 months after the pain which showed a lot of weakness from side-to-side (so more exercises). At that point, I was up to running 8 minutes, walking 2, and running 8 more. I used a "back to running" program to ease myself back after nearly 3 months of non-running and lots of pain. I ran a total of about 30 miles over 4 months at the end of 2013, all with a walk/run strategy.)

So this past week, I started doing some patch work on the foundation of our house. I did the same thing a number of years back, but it's not NEARLY in as bad of shape this time. I pressure washed and scraped and peeled and chipped on Monday, and that made it look like this:

Spots that need *some* work. It didn't look NEARLY this bad before scraping and peeling.

The light gray concrete peeking through at the bottom
and middle is my handiwork from years ago. It's holding well!

On Tuesday and Wednesday, I started patching with vinyl concrete mix, which worked well for me years ago. And at the end of Wednesday, it looked like this:

Note that the VAST majority of this problem is due to freeze/thaw under
our unheated porch. Once the house starts back there (where the
foundation doesn't freeze on the inside), it looks SOO much better.

I'm letting it sit for a few days, and then I need to go over some deeper areas a bit more before I let it sit for another week before priming and painting.

Anyway, on Tuesday night, I could hardly sleep. My sacrum was just pounding. It truly wasn't THAT bad, but I lost sleep more because of the thoughts of "Oh man... this is what it felt like back in 2013 when it was starting... I don't want to go through THAT again!..." Finally, at about 1:30 a.m., it hit me...

This was the pain that started to kick off this initial injury back in August/September of 2013. Hmm... what else was happening in August/September of 2013? Oh, that's right. I was doing the same foundation repair (only about 10x worse because I had to do a lot on the south side of the house as well). When I "naturally" sit down to work on something like this, I sit on the side of my left foot as it's under me and my lower left leg is on the ground, and my right foot is flat on the ground with my knee in the air. Googling all kinds of versions of "sitting on one foot" got me to this image, which is close:

(source) Not me, but equally awkward.

I also came across THIS image... which is... well, really not helpful.

It is NOT a coincidence that this pain started 6 years ago while doing this and flared up a little while doing the same thing. The logical conclusion is that the act of "torquing" my hips/sacrum by sitting on my foot that way for so long while working on my foundation really upset my body. I mean, you try sitting like that - it's not uncomfortable, but does seem to really make your hips go cattywampus. And then I sit like that for 1, 2, or 3 hours at a time as I work on my house.

Holy crap. Mind blown.

After 6 years, I figured it out. That still doesn't help me fix anything, but it might be able to help me stay healthy (meaning "pain-free") and not do those things that aggravate this 6-year-old issue (which I still feel on a daily basis).

That was Tuesday night. When I worked on the foundation on Wednesday night, I sat flat on my butt and leaned forward, or I kneeled on both knees. I stayed symmetrical. None of this cocked-to-one-side crap that felt so natural but f-ed up my body.

Entertaining side-note: that big paragraph at the top has all kinds of links for injury notes back in 2013, and here's a post from right in the middle of all those posts that shows the same foundation work that I'm doing now. (Only that big crack along the sidewalk has stayed nicely sealed. And the steps look WAY better right now than they did back then.) It's just so funny that that post is literally sandwiched between all the "why can't I run?!?" posts, and it took me this long to figure it all out.


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