Tag Archives: chronic pain

A Pain in the Hip

I’ve been struggling with hip pain for months.  At first, I thought I had pulled my left hamstring.  I know that type of injury can take a long time to heal, so I tried to be patient and to baby it.

The pain got worse, not better, so I asked my chiropractor for help. She suspected that my problem might be a tight IT (iliotibial) band, a long band of muscle and connective tissue that runs from the hip down to the knee on the outside of the thigh.  The pain in my hip appeared to be caused by tension on the hamstring at the insertion point and not by an injury.

Evidently, tight IT bands are common to runners.  When we run on canted roads, it’s as if one leg is shorter than the other, which strains the IT band.  Also, when I look at the bottom of my running shoes, the wear pattern shows that I’m still not running evenly on both feet almost five years after surgery on my left foot.

The biggest problem with my hip pain is that, although the tightness in my IT band seems to be caused by running, the activity that hurts the most is sitting.  This makes it a challenge to go to a play or a movie, to sit still at my book group, and most importantly, to write.  My kitchen timer method helps.  I sit for forty-five minutes, then get up and move around before I sit down again.  But I still struggle with an aching hip at the end of the day.

I tried the stretches that my doctor and my chiropractor recommended and they relieved the pain.  🙂  But never for long.  😦 I was hoping for a definitive solution.  I stopped running hills and ran at a slow pace for two months.  No change.  So now I’ve stopped running for the summer while I work at correcting my stride.  Lola is okay with that because as long as she gets to go along, she doesn’t care if we walk or run.

Walking correctly seems like it should be easy, but I have to concentrate on each step to make sure that I push off the balls of my feet the same way on each side.  I start out fine.  Then my mind drifts.  What has Lola found in the bushes?  What am I going to fix for dinner tonight?  What point of view should I use for my new novel?  I’m lost in my head for a few blocks until I remember what I’m supposed to be focusing on.  I’m not giving up, though.

Meanwhile, I’m thinking about trying a standing desk.  I put my netbook on a stack of books on the kitchen counter and I think I’ve found a good height.  I’d like a slightly less temporary solution than a cookbook and a dictionary, so I looked for affordable desks online, but haven’t found anything I like.

My husband offered to build a standing desk for me, but that’s not a quick solution.  I know he would build something beautiful, but considering how little time he has for woodworking, it would be months before he finished it.  Besides, maybe taking a break from running will solve my problem. If it doesn’t, I’m considering acupuncture. Have you tried it?  What did you think?


Filed under dog walking, Running, Writing