I don’t know what it is with me and medical professionals but I don’t like to seek help until I absolutely have to and genuinely think I might be dying. It’s the same with normal doctors as well as with sport specialists.
When I first started running I trained for a half and then full marathon without any niggles or injuries. I had hardly any muscle soreness after my runs and I remember thinking I must be some kind of special person who just doesn’t get injured (I was wrong).
I broke my ankle on New Years Eve 2012 (not even a cool accident but high heels and too much alcohol) and that’s when all the troubles started. I snapped bones on both inside and outside of my foot and had to have a surgery where a metal plate and 7 screws were placed in my ankle. Happy New Year to me! I had to be off running for few months but I was told it won’t affect my running afterwards.
Obviously after I got off the crutches I should’ve strengthened and mobilised my ankle first but instead I rushed into running almost immediately. It took about two weeks and a weird hip flexor pain appeared. After couple of weeks of resting the pain was still there even worse than before.
I went to see a physio (I have to say here that this was a free walk-in clinic where the patients are seen for about 15 min) and she told me I needed some movement on my leg and I should go to the swimming pool and walk around the pool and kick my legs in the water. I did that and you bet I looked stupid 😀
The pain didn’t go anywhere, it appeared as soon as I tried running. So I went to see an osteopath but they couldn’t figure it out either and told me to just rest more and alternate hot and cold compressions on it. I did and it didn’t help. By the summer 2013 I had had this pain for about 2-3 months so I was getting slightly frustrated.
In Finland my friend Minna (who I’ve told you, knows everything) suggested I go and see a specialist who treats your body holistically for all sort of imbalances in your bones etc (For Finnish readers: Jäsenkorjaaja). It’s kind of like a chiropractor but milder version of that. I don’t know what it’s called in English but it’s a type of bonesetting or body joint manipulation (the one I went to here). She looked at my body and knew immediately what was wrong; my spine was twisted and was pressing on the nerve which then reflected on the front of my leg causing the pain. She said I had a mild scoliosis and it had all started when I fell and hit my tailbone really hard back in high school. The vertebrea had shifted then and due to my ankle operation I had been running with a slight limp (as I was still careful of the ankle) and that had twisted my spine even more. The treatment involved few hours of gently straightening my back and few days of resting afterwards because you are not allowed to lift anything heavy or twist and turn few days after the treatment. As soon as I went for my first run there was NO pain. After about 3 months I was finally pain free. Had I been listening to the physio and osteopath I would still be kicking my legs in the pool and putting hot/cold compressions on it 😀
In all fairness to the physio and osteopath, I’m sure if I had spent longer time with them they might’ve been able to help too but I am very impatient and want to get help immediately and not wait for many treatments. Because of that experience back then, everytime I get an injury I just google the symptoms and diagnose myself now. It has worked at times. I went to a physio this spring with an ITB issue because I really wanted help but all I got from there was a diagnosis I already knew and he told me to book another appointment for advise on some exercises. (I didn’t, I used google). The common answer to most running injuries is that you have weak glutes and they aren’t firing properly but the worst is when you pay to see someone and they tell you to just rest.
What I actually wanted to say with this post is that my faith in physiotherapists has been restored with my recent visit to a physio. I decided that my knee pain that I’ve been on about for a while now needs to be assessed by someone. I heard pretty good reviews about this particular physio in Cardiff called Andrew Seary so I booked a time to see him. And he is amazing. I instantly got the feeling that he knows exactly what he is doing. He checked everything and told me that my weak ankle that’s lacking strength and mobility has caused the trouble in my knee by shifting my knee cap out of alignment. My flat feet, overpronation and leg length discrepancies don’t help the issue either 😀
The best thing is that he gave me diagnosis (that google couldn’t tell me), different exercises to do for my leg and for my ankle, recommended me some shoes, and showed me how to tape the knee. I was so happy that I finally got some answers and actual help so I could leave the appointment knowing what to do. It wasn’t expensive at all, and I’d been happy to pay even more for that sort of treatment.
Unfortunately he had an operation on his knee so he is away for few weeks now but if anyone in Cardiff ever needs a good physiotherapist then Andrew Seary is the person to go to (his clinic website is here).
Next time I get an injury I might actually get it checked before 3 months goes by in pain now that I know there are people who can help you immediately.
P.S. Can you tell I miss the summer and beaches and travelling just a tiny bit??