Chronicles of Cross Training: May 14-20

It’s Monday morning, and I woke up injured. Last week was another week of not running and a bunch of cross training.

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You’d think my injury would be gone by now, the way people preach about how wonderful cross training is. Unfortunately, it’s not that simple.

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Monday 60 min. Elliptical + 45 min. BodyPump
Tuesday 60 min. Arc Trainer + 60 min. BodyPump
Wednesday 60 min. Elliptical
Thursday 60 min. BodyPump
Friday 30 min. Arc Trainer + 30 min. Stair Climber
Saturday 60 min. BodyPump
Sunday 60 min. Elliptical

On Wednesday, I went to the orthopedist for my MRI follow up. I honestly wasn’t too worried about the follow up because I thought if something was wrong with the MRI, the doctor’s office would call to let me know. Spoiler: I gave them too much credit.

My doctor and I went over the MRI images and he showed me the report, which said:

“Low-grade partial tear at the origin of the right hamstring, measuring 8mm. Underlying edema is present within the adjacent bone.”

Everything else was “unremarkable”. Does anyone else HATE when radiology reports use that word? Medical reports are the only time I’ve ever seen the word “unremarkable”, and I think I’m pretty remarkable!

(Also on a nerdy writer/editor note, “measuring 8mm” is a misplaced modifier that makes it look like my hamstring is 8mm, rather than the tear. I digress; this is why I’m a writer and not a radiologist.)

The current plan of action is to continue therapy with Dr. Bein at The Rehab Docs, since we’re doing feet/ankle/glute/core strengthening and to keep cross training. If things aren’t looking good in two weeks, we’ll plan a PRP (Platelet Rich Plasma) injection. If a PRP injection does not work- it takes about 6 weeks to see full benefits- surgery would be on the table.

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I’ve been dealing with this injury for months. My strengthening exercises are going great and will serve me well when I get back to running, but I’m not so sure this is going to heal without the PRP injection.

I didn’t schedule a follow up before leaving the office, and when I called the next day, I was told my doctor’s next available appointment would be mid-July. I asked if they could work me in, in two weeks, and the receptionist told me she would ask about working me in and get back to me on Monday if they could work me in.

Ten minutes later and after talking to a friend whose a family medicine doctor, I called another orthopedist’s office. This orthopedist’s office happened to have appointments available as early as Monday (today). This doctor could SEE ME before I would even find out my current ortho could work me in in 2-3 weeks.

While we have great medical care in Charleston, I’m extremely frustrated in the system. Yes, this injury has dragged on due to the lack of blood supply to my proximal hamstring, but also having to wait for weeks to get an initial appointment with the ortho, over a week for the MRI, then two weeks to get the results of that MRI.

Who knows how long I ran on a partially torn hamstring? Sure I ran easy, I ran reduced mileage, and I didn’t run when the discomfort level was over a 3- but if I’d known there was a tear weeks or months ago, I would’ve stopped running sooner.

Getting a second opinion isn’t from lack of trust in my current doctor. He’s an orthopedist and I’m a technical writer, so he knows what he’s doing- I just don’t like waiting weeks and possibly months for an appointment. Plus, since PRP is an experimental treatment, not covered by insurance, and surgery would be the next step if it doesn’t work, it’s worth the copay and peace of mind for me to get a second opinion.

I see the new orthopedist on Wednesday. His office already has the digital MRI images for the doctor to look at, and I have the new patient paperwork filled out. Here we go.

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

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29 Responses to Chronicles of Cross Training: May 14-20

  1. Wendy says:

    Wow! At least now you have an answer. It will be interesting to see what the new ortho says. Do you read Shut Up and Run? She also tore her hamstring and is considering PRP. I’ll be curious to see what you end up doing. Hang in there, friend!

    • Amy Lauren says:

      I haven’t read that blog, but now I’ll look it up.

      I’ve talked to a few people about PRP, but most of them have had it on different parts of their bodies like knees. I’ve found a few people, mostly online, who have had it on hamstring tendons. The results are mixed but from what I understand, not all PRP is created equal either.

  2. Sorry to hear you are still dealing with this injury. Hopefully the cross training will continue to help.

  3. runeatralph says:

    The injury isn’t great news, but it’s news. It can be fixed. That disc cover made me laugh! Some poor guy is going to find it someday and be SO disappointed haha.

    • Amy Lauren says:

      Sometimes all we can do is laugh. Clay and I have so many inside jokes about this injury and how many doctors are checkin’ out my ass right now ;).

  4. Virjinia says:

    Oh man, that’s rough. I hope that this new place can give you a quick answer so you know what your next step will be. That’s rough but at least now you know what you’re dealing with. Fingers crossed for the next steps to be quick.

  5. AJ says:

    I hope this appointment goes better! At least now you know for sure what’s wrong.

    • Amy Lauren says:

      I hope it does too- I’m glad I only had to wait a few days for it.

      • AJ says:

        Yes that’s much better than weeks!

      • Amy Lauren says:

        Oh, my ortho’s office finally got back with me for my “two week follow up”. Turns out it’s almost FOUR weeks after last week’s appointment. I guess that beats mid-July, but still.

        Why must I get such difficult injuries?

      • AJ says:

        Well I guess four weeks is better than 8, but still good you’re seeing this other doctor!
        I know! I’ve definitely asked myself that in the past!

      • Amy Lauren says:

        Yeah- I still took this appointment, because I want to at least be on his schedule if something doesn’t work out with the other doctor or if he doesn’t have any other ideas.

        I’ll have to say, I’m already impressed with new doctor’s office because they emailed me all the new patient forms, got my MRI images without me having to drop off a disk, and were able to see me in days, not weeks.

      • AJ says:

        That is impressive! I love when offices make it easier on you, but it’s so rare these days! Usually it’s like they’re doing you a favor seeing you.

  6. Christine says:

    So frustrating! I know it’s hard and depressing, and it really sucks. And crosstraining is definitely not the answer to solve all problems, that’s for sure. I hope it gets better for you soon.

    • Amy Lauren says:

      Thanks girly. It was so great hanging out yesterday and getting away from the stress of this injury (and work) for a few hours, too.

      My other chronically injured friend and I always joke about how people tell us to cross train or foam roll because we both did those things already (if you’ve been in this sport for years, you likely already xtrain and foam roll, lol) and have still been hurt for months.

  7. Frustrating! My PT went through PRP and it did end up working for her. I know everyone is different but just thought I’d share a success story. Hope for the same outcome for you!

    • Amy Lauren says:

      Thanks- me too. Insurance doesn’t cover PRP, so it’s a tough call to shell out money for it. It’s experimental and not guaranteed to work, which is why they don’t cover it, but really, there are very few guarantees in medicine.

  8. sarahdudek80 says:

    So sorry to hear about the injury. I know it is a bit helpful to at least know what is going on, but don’t we always hold out hope that it will be something quick and easy? Waiting for weeks to get this taken care of isn’t very helpful either. Fingers crossed that Wednesday’s appointment gives you a more forward moving answers.

    • Amy Lauren says:

      It’s been a long saga. Back in February and March, I really thought it was healing. I was able to run consistently again and got in a workout or two and some races. The pain is really more of an occasional dull ache, but the last time I tried to run (May 1 maybe?), the compensation was so bad that it just wasn’t worth it.

      Waiting for an appointment has been the worst. I went to a CRC social tonight and one of my friends is a nurse at MUSC. She works for another ortho there and told me the secret to getting an appointment sooner is to have my primary care doc’s nurse contact him. There are time slots that the scheduling department, where I call to make appointments, can’t see. I called scheduling last week to make an appointment- that’s who told me the next opening was mid-July. She said the nurses will work people in within a day or so.

      Now the trick is to figure out how to get in touch with my primary care doc’s nurse…

  9. As frustrating as this injury must be, I’m glad you’re getting some answers and options. I almost had a PRP injection for me knee when I was running cross country (for like 2 weeks, haha) for Seton Hill. I’ve heard really great things about it.

    I’m glad, too, that you’re still able to cross train through this injury! Also, YES to being a writer/editor and noticing that misplaced modifier. You’re the grammar queen!

    • Amy Lauren says:

      I remember when you went to Seton Hall to run XC. That was a long time ago…

      I’ve talked to a few locals who’ve had PRP injections in their knees. Actually, every person I know locally who had had one had it in a knee. It’s become a very popular therapy for resistant injuries because it’s still a rather conservative treatment. Unfortunately, it’s not guaranteed to work (is anything in medicine really guaranteed?) so insurance doesn’t always pay for it.

  10. Dorothea says:

    Agree with the note about the modifier. I’m glad you have an answer! And hot pics of your ass! But it’s rough to have this kind of injury… rest may be the only real solution…it’s difficult though

    • Amy Lauren says:

      I talked to my doctor about that on Wednesday. I’ve talked to my family doctor and the first ortho I saw about that too, because I don’t want to do anything to potentially make this worse, especially at this point, since it’s been so long and we finally have a diagnosis (it’s tough when your ortho and his physician assistant examine you on the same day and have two different ideas of what’s wrong). With bone injuries like stress fractures, there’s a rest period- so I’ve always heard my friend who has had stress fracture tell about guidelines to take X weeks off.

      Both my family doctor and the first ortho I saw said that since it’s a soft tissue/tendon injury, to let pain be my guide, and my PT said the same thing. The caveat with that is that I don’t know how many high hamstring injuries my family doctor sees, and all he did was the exam and looking at the x-ray (no MRI).

      The ortho I saw on Wednesday gave the best guidelines. He said to avoid any explosive movements like jumping and putting a lot of resistance on the hamstring (heavy deadlifts, or a high resistance on a cardio machine). SOME resistance and tension on the tendon is needed, like with the eccentric exercises my rehab prescribed. Ortho said ellipticalling or arc-trainering in front of The Goldbergs is okay as long as there’s no pain involved.

      I wish rest was the solution, because it’s free and easy- minus having to find another way to cope with post-workday stress besides ellipticalling to trash TV shows. Thankfully, the ortho I saw for a second opinion basically had the same opinion on treatment options as the first ortho- so at least I didn’t leave the appointment any more lost than I went in.

      • Dorothea says:

        Ah. I see what you mean now. Well. It’s good you can still do some form of exercise to keep fitness, and I got the same advice for my injuries. I have to say, the hamstring/butt issue seems to be one of the hardest to heal from what I’ve heard from others and am now learning for myself! I’ve invested a lot these past months though with doctor’s visits, MRIs, a new mattress, new shoe inserts, PT… my PT basically said all I need now is time, and if that doesn’t work, only then revert to rest, so I’m pretty much in the same boat as you are. Hope things seem to get better for you!

      • Amy Lauren says:

        It is really hard and it takes a LONG time. I asked a question on a Facebook board about it, and some people have been dealing with this for years. I feel like I’m going to pursue the PRP injection because if nothing else, that might shorten the time I deal with it (that may ultimately save me money in PT costs).

        High hamstring tendinopathy is not one size fits all, either, as I’ve learned from having some readers who have it. Some people can run through it, and I figured out that I couldn’t. Some people have trouble with squats but I don’t have trouble with squats.

        You can’t just put an injury in a box- root causes are different, symptoms can be different, treatments can be different. That’s why it’s important to have doctors, PTs, etc, along with the stories and anecdotes from the internet. Social media is great for connecting and reaching out, though.

      • Dorothea says:

        All good points. Thanks Amy, and good luck in your continued healing process!

      • Amy Lauren says:

        Same to you. If you ever need support, I’m here. People help us along the way to be successful runners but they also help us when we recover from injuries and setbacks, too.

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