Me and my pelvis

Howdy, friends.

I wish I were here writing about a 60-mile training week, and how excited I am to head to Boston in about 12 weeks.

But I’m not.

I’m here to write about how I took a full week off running last week because of some pain in my pubic ramus.

It’s annoying to even type that. I had two stress fractures in it in 2009 — pain that started gradually, and then one day was so severe I could barely stand up from my desk at work. An MRI that fall showed two stress fractures, and I was in so much pain that a trip to Target had me limping by the time I hit the checkout. It was awful. And it took months to heal.

In 2011, I felt some residual pain, but another MRI showed nothing. And then later that year, a 3D scan also showed nothing. My sports doctor said at that point, the only option was to refer me to a pain clinic. The pain wasn’t that bad — I just was scared. The stress fractures originally began so quietly.

I remember running south on Cliff Avenue, thinking, huh, my pelvis feels really weird. Then I would lay in bed at night, and I could just feel something … off. But it wouldn’t hurt all the time. Until it did.

Even in 2011, I had to take a week off because it felt funny. And then a year ago, I took almost a month off because it felt funny. I’ve become really conservative any time I feel a twinge in those bones. (Here‘s an illustration of the pelvis.)

But it’s tough — when it has really hurt, a scan has shown it’s fine. And the original injury crept up so slowly. So it’s difficult to let pain be your guide — it just doesn’t hurt that much, until it does.

So I am sitting here, deciding how much it hurts. A little. Not enough to keep me from running or daily life. But is this the beginning of a lot of pain again, or just a bump in the road?

I don’t know.

I can’t tell. And I’m not interested in paying for an MRI (yet) to see.

Yesterday, I ran 5 very easy miles. Nothing hurt at all. In fact, my pubic ramus (the left side, if you care) hadn’t hurt for a few days, so I felt confident that it was fine to give it all a try. Then last night, things didn’t feel right.

Today, I feel something on that side.

And I feel a ton of frustration.

If you don’t know much about recovery from pubic ramus stress fractures, here’s a bit:

With appropriate physiotherapy management, most patients with a pelvic stress fracture can make a full recovery (i.e. return to sport or normal activities) in a period of 3-12 months. In more severe cases, recovery may take 1-2 years, or longer, depending on the intervention required and a range of other factors. In rare cases, some patients may experience ongoing symptoms or complications which may require further management.

Great. I don’t think I’m there, yet. But I think I need to figure something else out. I already paid for one Boston entry I had to cancel for this exact same injury. I’m not doing it again. I want to be at that starting line.

Thankfully, I am teaching a bunch of spin classes coming up, have been doing a regular weights workout and have the option to pool run, no matter how godawful boring it is.

Right now, I plan to drop to 3 days of running a week, the rest spinning and pool running. And hope. Lots and lots of hope.

It’s hurt before and been nothing. Cross your fingers that’s what’s going on again now.



This entry was posted in Boston Marathon, Injury, Marathon, Running, Stress fractures pubic ramus. Bookmark the permalink.

12 Responses to Me and my pelvis

  1. Dave Graves says:

    Pulling for your recovery. You’ve been done the road enough to know to listen to your body. Best wishes.

  2. lhand71 says:

    Man, your pelvis is like my shins. Finicky!!!! Grrrrrrr. Pool running IS boring! But so nice on the bones! I wear a visor and bought one of those iPod Shuffles that has the clip on it and would clip it to the visor and listen to music. Helped a lot.

  3. msmidt says:

    So sorry to hear that you are having problems. I can empathize. I basically took three years off from marathoning for a similar injury. On the graphic you posted, my ailment was here:
    I had to cut my mileage severely, and then only returned to running in fits and starts. My only advice: patience and perseverance. Best of luck!

  4. tracey says:

    I really hope it’s ok because I really want to see you and the kids!!! I am crossing my fingers and saying a prayer that all is good!!! I love you and hope for it to be nothing. Xoxo

  5. O.k., this post was not nearly as sexy as one could assume it could be… 😉 Have you looked at a pelvic transplant? I hear they’re all the craze on the coasts…

    Oh, J, I do feel for you, though. Nothing like pain to keep you from something you love. I had some shoulder pain that kept me from doing any upper body for a couple years back in the mid-2000s. I was so worried it was rotator cuff… They didn’t find anything and I just had to take it easy. No body pump. I don’t have the chronic pain anymore, but little acute incidents when I push too hard. That said, I’m back to working on my 100 pushups. Not that pushups are something I love, but when I can’t do something, it just makes me want to do it even more.

  6. Owen says:

    Bummer. Pool running, I’ve never done it but I have seen impressive results.

  7. msmidt says:

    Patience , Grasshopper , patience.

  8. amy says:

    I was wondering how long you took off running when you had the initial, confirmed pubic ramus stress fractures. I have one, and there is little information about it. The injury occurred 6 months ago, and I started running again last week (1 mile) . This week I tried 1.5 miles. There was no pain during the run, but two days later it was sore again. I am frustrated at the setback when I thought I had finally healed. Like you say, the pain is bearable but disconcerting, and I don’t know what to ignore and what to heed.

    • This is a tough question. I took several months off and still sometimes have to take time off now — years later. Just this year I took an entire month off because it felt weird. I have had MRIs that are clean when it hurts so it is so tough to let pain be your guide.

      That said I try to be conservative. Or at least not be afraid to take a few days off when I feel a twinge.

      I am sorry to hear you have this. It was and is the worst running injury I have ever had.

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