Chronicles of Cross Training: April 30 – May 6

It’s Monday and the start of a fresh new week.

On the injury front, I had a pelvic MRI on Monday. The MRI will rule out a tear or damage to my adductor or proximal hamstring tendon. I’ve always speculated that I’d KNOW if I tore a tendon, but my tolerance for pain and discomfort is pretty high, and endorphins mess with my brain during runs. Better to know than not know, I guess- granted I won’t “know” until my follow-up in mid-May.

Aside from the MRI, I saw a sports chiropractor who did a complete evaluation and had some interesting thoughts about my injury. Unlike every PT and doctor I’ve seen who thought my hamstring was injured, he believes my hamstring/glute pain is caused from compensation due to a limited range of motion in my right big toe. This is a condition called Hallux Limitus.

The next time you run (or walk), think about the work your big toe does. Think about how odd it would be to run with your second and third toes taking the brunt of that impact because your big toe isn’t doing it’s job. Think about how the rest of your kinetic chain would compensate for a wonky big toe, especially when training for a race.

The Cliff’s Notes version: Perhaps my hip/glute “injury” isn’t the injury. Perhaps it’s a symptom.

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Monday: 6 miles + 45 min. BodyPump
Tuesday 4 miles
Wednesday 60 min. elliptical + 2 miles
Thursday 30 min stair climber + 30 min. CXWORX
Friday 60 min. arc trainer
Saturday 30 min. BodyPump + 30 min. elliptical + 30 min. yoga
Sunday 60 min. elliptical

The big news is that I decided to stop running for the next few weeks while I work on strengthening my toes, feet, and ankles. We’re hoping that the rehab exercises, the increased range of motion, and retraining my body to push off on my big toes will basically “hit reset” on my running. I can also cross train to keep up my aerobic/cardio base.

I’m not crushed about the time off. After a failed two miles at Wednesday’s Fleet Feet Summerville pub run, I have nothing left to lose on the running front anyway.

On a positive note, the pub run had a great turnout. Fleet Feet always does a nice job, and it was fun to catch up with friends. Brooks Running and Garmin came out with products for us to try, and we had post-race brews and prize giveaways at Homegrown Brewhouse in Downtown Summerville.

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Besides the pub run, I went to the Les Mills launch party at my gym, Zoo Health Club of Charleston, on Saturday. We did BodyPump 105 and I attended a 30 min. beginner’s yoga class.

In the last two weeks, I haven’t had glute pain when I forward fold, so I decided to test the waters with yoga- and a beginner’s class seemed safe enough. When I was legitimately training for races (last year!), yoga was a big part of my cross training, and I went weekly. It’s nice to have that activity back, not only because of the summer heat kicking in but also because yoga is a great way to unwind mentally.

On Saturday afternoon, I went to the Charleston Dragonboat Festival in Brittlebank Park. It was warm outside but a nice day to be on the water, hanging out with friends, drinking margaritas, and raising money and awareness for cancer charities. I hung out with some close friends, reconnected with some friends I hadn’t seen in awhile, and made some new friends. It was a wonderful way to spend Cinco De Mayo.

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I hope everyone had a safe weekend and has a great week!

I’m linking up with Holly, Wendy, and Courtney for their weekly wraps. Come join the fun!

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16 Responses to Chronicles of Cross Training: April 30 – May 6

  1. sarahdudek80 says:

    Fingers crossed that you get some answers soon. I know how frustrating it can be to feel constantly injured and just wanting some answers. It is amazing how an injury can actually be a symptom of something else. The kinetic chain is both incredible and incredibly frustrating. Take care of yourself!

    • Amy Lauren says:

      I try. It is frustrating- the stress of injury (doctor’s appointments, paying bills, keeping track of all the PT exercises you have to do) is almost worse than the actual injury.

      Not running and not training is hard, but injuries mentally consume the energy I’d use for that anyway. I made three trips to MTP this week- one for the MRI, and two for the sports chiropractor. It’s a 30 min. drive each way.

      I’m getting impatient and wanting my MRI results. The appointment was April 30 and my follow up is May 16. I’m sure that if something’s torn, broken, or growing, they’ll let me know sooner. This isn’t House, MD and I don’t expect instant results, but waiting is tough.

  2. runeatralph says:

    Looks like you had a pretty good week! Also, 60 minutes on the arc trainer isn’t messing around. I’m impressed. 🙂

    I hope you’re getting somewhere with a new opinion. You deserve to run like you want to run.

    • Amy Lauren says:

      I love the Arc Trainer and feel like I get a great workout on it. I do adjust the settings on that and the elliptical to make it harder/easier. Mainly, I just need good TV- wish Planet Fitness offered more channels.

      • runeatralph says:

        I like the variety of settings on the arc trainer too. Going from a low (cross country skiing) to a high (stair climber) setting really helps loosen my legs up, but I can up the resistance if I want to get my butt kicked.

  3. I think it is so fascinating (and frustrating of course) how our bodies react. Your toe being the actual injury and the glute pain being a symptom is a reason I’m always an advocate of visiting professionals (which you are great about doing). I have OFTEN self diagnosed myself and been wrong almost every time. Hopefully this latest diagnosis is correct and you will be back in business soon!

    • Amy Lauren says:

      I’ve only seen the sports chiro twice, but so far I’ve been impressed. The evaluation involved functional movements like walking, running, lunging, squatting, balancing, etc- it reminded me a lot of the tests from Jay Dicharry’s book, Anatomy for Runners. He was also the first professional I’ve seen to actually look at my feet and ankles. No matter what happens, I have to give him credit for thinking outside the box (granted, so did the second PT I saw).

      As far as whether or not I’m doing the right thing, and the big toe actually caused the hip issues, who knows? Often, injuries are mysteries we never figure out. However, I’ve spent the past five months treating a messed up hammie/glute and conservative measures aren’t helping. Even the PA and the Ortho couldn’t agree on a diagnosis after both examining it on the same day, in the room together.

      My medical chart just lists “hip pain” as a diagnosis. Because you know, insurance…

  4. So you have to go back in for an appointment to discuss the MRI? That’s a bummer – but I guess they can’t just tell you over the phone what to do. My only MRI was for a stress fracture and they just told me over the phone to wear a boot! A totally different situation. I know everything is all connected, but sometimes I feel like I could see 5 different people and get 5 different diagnosis. You know what I mean 🙂 Frustrating! Those pub runs look like so much fun. Big group involved!!

    • Amy Lauren says:

      I’d be happy if they told me over the phone. I could save a drive to the doctor’s office and a $35 copay. I mean, I wouldn’t be happy to have a stress fracture, although I’ve often wished I had that instead because those seem to be diagnosed quickly and without three disagreeing doctors.

      I figure if anything’s torn, broken, or growing up in there, they will call me and have me come in before May 16. At least I’d hope they would. And if they tell me in the exam room rather than the doctor’s actual OFFICE, that’s a good sign. It’s always bad when they call you into an actual office.

  5. Honestly I can’t imagine how frustrating this has been, but I hope you have some answers soon. My PT once told me that my big toe is not flexible enough and it may have played a role in my calf tear. Since I’ve been having some minor hamstring annoyance (and keeping training light and easy to avoid pain) I should probably follow up on that too.

    • Amy Lauren says:

      It’s definitely been frustrating. I’m grateful for all those who have hugged me and handed me booze.

      If you have any sort of niggle, definitely get it checked out. I honestly regret not going to the ortho first. I tried PT first, which was a bad decision on my part. Doctors will always try conservative measures first- and they should- so they’ll probably just send you to PT, but at least you’re on the radar and it’s easier to get an appointment if the PT doesn’t work.

  6. Wendy says:

    I feel like most hamstring/glute issues are really due to a mechanical problem. I had a lot of trouble in the past and we blamed it on my big toe. But when I saw a trainer and was evaluated, it was due to an imbalance in my posterior chain (hips and glutes) on that side. Lots of rehab and strength training. I was told I have hallux ridigus but really, I don’t. I wouldn’t be able to do toes pose.

    • Amy Lauren says:

      Oh, my right side is definitely unbalanced, and even if something else like my toe caused it, it still has to be addressed. Sure, maybe my right glute wasn’t firing because of my foot’s pronation to avoid the big toe, but that didn’t happen overnight. Even if the imbalance resulted from the toe, it still developed.

      Also, could the RA have affected your big toe and made the doc think that you had hallux rigidus? I don’t have HR, although from what I read that can develop later. Meanwhile, I’m trying to exercise my toes as much as I can- going barefooted more, doing certain yoga poses, obviously doing the rehab exercises, etc. I may also go see a podiatrist to get their opinion and if nothing else, establish care with one.

  7. Girl! I’ve got the some similar lingering hamstring/glute issues (although I don’t think mine are as severe as yours have been) that really just feel like they won’t go away. The comment about the big toe is crazy interesting. My range of motion in my right big toe is TERRIBLE! I’ve stumped it many a time and it barely bends at all at this point. I never thought that the two could possibly be connected. I hope that you get some relief and answers soon!

    • Amy Lauren says:

      My issues got really bad. To be honest, it’s not really “painful”, but it’s made me compensate so badly that trying to run is just super inefficient and wonky looking.

      Some of the exercises I’ve been doing are so simple, and things you probably do (I did), but you’d be so shocked at how much we can compensate. Like lunges- I do a ton of lunges with shoes on… but try doing them barefooted when you have to use your big toes to push, and it’s completely different.

      When I started seeing this guy (I’ve been four times, which includes the evaluation), my big toe would hardly bend either. I’m already seeing a difference in the range of motion in it.

  8. HoHo Runs says:

    It’s interesting you mention that your issue may be a symptom. My PT explained to me that most people will try all sorts of things to correct the symptom…because that is where the pain manifests…but it is rarely the cause. I’ve always remember that. I hope you get all the answers very soon! My son was involved with the Dragon Boat races a few years ago. I thought it was so much fun to watch. Thanks for linking.

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