December 6, 2017

Leg Update

My ART session on Monday was amazing.  I felt so much better after leaving the therapist's office.

I'm definitely kicking myself for not trying to get some professional help with this bum leg earlier.  I discussed my issues with the therapist and he had several suggestions as well as observations.

As I'd self-diagnosed, I had serious soreness in my glute and at the site of my hamstring insertion.  After confirming this, he went to work and evaluated what else might be going on and how he might be able to help.

The first thing he noted was that my outer left quad (vastus lateralus) was quite tight.  Because it hadn't been sore (and the back of my leg had been), I hadn't noticed this.  We talked about actively stretching my quads and how tight quads and hip flexors are a classic cause of glute malfunction, which can cause hamstrings to compensate, and viola... Interestingly, he didn't say, "this is definitely what's going on with you," but rather, he just spoke in generalized terms about things that can happen to people and how that *might* be what was going on with me.

This whole conversation was happening while he was stretching, manipulating and releasing my leg, which felt wonderful.

Also, much to my surprise, he didn't say, "You definitely should not run."  Instead, he acknowledged that there were some serious differences in the textures of my hamstrings and glutes (e.g. left is much worse off than right), but said that whether I can run, and how much, and how hard, really depends on how I respond to treatment and how I feel and what my goals are.

We discussed the Kaiser half, and he didn't flinch when I told him that in a perfect world, I'd like to try to recover with lots of yoga and slowly work my way up to 30 miles a week, starting to return to long runs in the next 3 or so weeks.  I know it's not guaranteed that I'll be able to do so, and I'm definitely ready to downgrade to the Kaiser 5K if necessary, but I liked his general openness to the idea that it could be possible.

He convinced me to order some new torture devices to up my rolling game and recommended some ART-like movements I could do on my own once I get a good pressure release location with the knobs on the Beasties.

Beasties, by Rumble Roller.
He also spent at least 10 minutes working on my SI joint and having me go through ranges of motion while he worked on getting me to release.  I have had sciatica in the past (always on my left leg), but I hadn't had any symptoms during this leg issue, so it hadn't occurred to me that my SI joint may be implicated as well.

Essentially, he said that my entire upper left leg seemed to be a bit grumpy and that it's really quite hard to start picking apart the original cause of something when there are that many factors at play.  The goal is to just get all of the various parts to calm down and work nicely with each other as much as possible.  So that's what I'm trying to do.

Oh, and I realized my shoes were old.
Note the aggressive wear on the left heel...
Yeah, my gait is *not* very even.
New shoes are en route.
I felt so good after the session that I made plans to head out for an easy 30 minute run the next day.  However, upon waking, I decided to chill out and see how my leg felt after just some walking and stretching and rolling.  Realistically, it felt like I should keep myself low-key and *ease* back into things in the face of feeling better. Today, I joined the track group, did all of the drills, but just jogged the warmup lap, the cooldown lap, and interspersed a few jogged 400s with his recommended lateral lunges, runner lunges, and glute bridges between them.  I also did a nice long pigeon pose at the end.  My leg feels okay, like it is getting better. 

I've got one more ART session next Monday, and then, hopefully, I can keep up the rolling and lunges and manage to slowly increase the distance and speed without maiming myself until January when I can go back for more ART.

Wish me luck.

Update 2:  Holy crap.  50ish total lateral lunges with no weights, simply touching a line on the outside of each lunging leg in sets of 10 between jogging at the track on Wed, resulted in seriously sore medial hamstrings on Thursday (but I was able to do a nice easy 3 mile run without too much pain).  Friday, now and it's even worse -- every walking step reminds me of those lunges and that I'm sore.  Obviously, my ART therapist's recommendation was well-informed.  It's clear that I have some serious weakness in the muscles that support this motion (I can do 50 front or back lunges with 5 lb weights on each side and not have much soreness at all). 


Jen said...

Sounds promising! Fingers crossed for you. I'm interested to hear what you think about those new torture devices.

bt said...

@Jen--I like them, although the harder one can really hurt where I'm sensitive and tight. Rolling in slow circles, seaking a release at each point, feels like it is doing a much better job of releasing my tight spots compared with rolling in a line (which is what I'd tended to do with my longer roller.) Also, stopping and breathing and letting the nobs poke into a tight spot while slowly extending the opposing muscle group seems to work quite well for me (but that's half of what ART is, and I've always responded well to ART, so no huge surprise there).