My journey as a long distance runner who started the sport later in life.
I’m on the cusp of overweight for my height (according to BMI, anyway, whatever it’s worth), and I have been for a very long time. Running has helped me to lose about 40 pounds over the course of several years, but 10-15 pounds are still stubbornly stuck to me. Lately we’ve seen social media posts from people who have successfully gotten healthy and lost weight, but who have skin folds and flaps because older skin simply doesn’t retract the way fresh, young skin does (e.g., Paul J. Mason). My weight is concentrated mostly on my thighs, and hips, and I am a total medial-lateral pear when I run.
I am sure some of my extra 10-15 pounds are skin, but who can say how much? That is beside the point, today my point is I have an injury when I should be enjoying some of the best running I ever have access to in a year: summer riverside running on the verge of a mid-sized Ontario town. I am convinced that part of the likelihood of sustaining a running injury relates to running whilst carrying around too much weight (weight that I most likely can’t lose; extra skin, getting old). All it takes is the wrong camber, the wrong surface, a different situation for a few kilometers, and boom, hip pain. How else can I explain it? I was in fine shape and injury free for many moons before this.
I’m well into a week of dull (and sometimes sharp) hip pain: pain when I move, pain when I twist, occasional sharp pain with pressure, and it doesn’t seem to be easing up. Let’s talk about RICE. How exactly does one rest a hip? Is resting a hip the right choice anyway? Two out of two relatives were up and walking the day after hip surgery: doctors’ orders. I tried icing the hip, but ice has fallen from grace lately as a solution to pain problems (Maclean’s article). I know that my fingers always dreaded the cold treatment during physiotherapy. How does one compress a hip? Compress for how long, and to what end? The hip is a fairly complicated joint and there are lots of options for what’s wrong with it in there (no source because you’ll be convinced that you have something wrong with your hip too if you read anything on the internet about it)! How does one elevate a hip? Shall I dangle from the ceiling?
You are probably thinking, “So, go to the doctor, dummy!” It’s really not that simple. Having done hand physiotherapy in two countries I can assure you that whatever I might start here in Ontario, at great personal monetary cost, would be finished differently in Mexico. For all of the praises of Ontario’s health care system, I would have to report to a local hospital emergency room and be put into triage to be seen for a dull pain in my hip that a doctor might or might not be able to do anything about (probably not based on how my fingers ended up). Dull hip pain that only stops me from running? It’s not debilitating, by any means. Emergency room-worthy in the face of whatever other contagions I could catch whilst there? No way!
Besides, I would get back to Mexico and have to go through all the tests again anyway. The beauty of Mexico is, I can avoid the emergency room entirely, walk into the physiotherapy clinic, see the physiotherapy doctor there (no general practitioner first), and get some treatment almost immediately. I am on a first name basis with most of the therapists because of my prolonged hand therapy. So I wait, but I forfeit running along the beautiful Otonabee River in the meantime. I guess the dry Rio Santa Catarina riverbed will have to do.