Monday, October 30, 2017

Foam Roll away Runner's Hip Injury

NB : This post was written in end September 2017 but I was told by Primero Fitness to hold it as they were revamping their website.  After waiting for almost a month I told them that I will go ahead to publish the post as it also document my personal injury and recovery experience.  So here is the post, late but 100% true story of an injured runner who took on 4x relay marathon without proper or enough training.

A month's been passed since my 1st Half 4x Relay Marathon with Mizuno Ekiden and I am still feeling sore. Tough as it was I was glad that I managed to take part and completed it, I was expecting some form of aching muscles but I was not prepared for what I am experiencing now.

My over exerted legs, calf muscles and feet were recovering well with the help of Theo10 Heat cream and various Young Living Essential Oil, I was able to walk normally within a week.  However my agony starts to creep out almost at the same time, I was feeling pain at the left hip, I thought it was the hip acting up, continued with my healing regime and expecting it to go away in a week or so... it never happened.  

I wasn't kidding when I told my running Mama friends that I can't run nor train when they asked me to join Great Eastern Women's Run that is happening in November 2017.  That is because the pain has gotten worse, now I am feeling a dull pain at the left butt area and an ache that travels from the hip down the thigh to the knee.  Thank goodness knee is feeling ok... perhaps for now.

How bad in shape I am now?  I couldn't get up from the chair without experiencing the sharp pain on the hip, no matter how slowly I move, getting up from sitting long on the floor makes me cringe in pain.  I can't stand for long, the hip is so sore from standing in the MRT train ride home that I am limping when I alights the train some 25 mins later.  Forget about wearing my heels, even a 2 inch heel is painful to walk in.  My usual walking stride makes me yelp pain and I can't walk fast, I was only able to take small slow steps, much like strolling along the road.  

I am really really REALLY MISERABLE! 

Now before you smirk at me and mutter "serves you right for not doing stretching during warm up and cooling down", I did that diligently because I knew that was going to be some strenuous running for me thus I wanted to take great care to prevent myself from getting any injury.  So what is happening to me?  

Overuse injuries occur when we outpaced our body's ability to adapt to the stress of training.
Yeah... thanks for the info, now I know about that, what is preventing my body to heal itself or rather why is it taking so long to heal?

Well, simply because I did not give it ample time to recover and human body do not "heal by itself", it needed help to aid or hasten the healing.  Remember doctor's favourite advise?  "Rest more and don't exert yourself any further."  Thanks Doc!  We probably should listen to them more often.  Frankly, it is quite impossible for me to have bed rest and constantly moving around non-stop does aggravate it further..

Feeling helpless and awfully irritated by the pain, I googled for it hoping to find some remedy or ways to get rid of it and found this.

IT Band Syndrome
Iliotibial Band Syndrome (ITBS) is one of the most common overuse injuries among runners. It occurs when the iliotibial band, the ligament that runs down the outside of the thigh from the hip to the shin, is tight or inflamed. The IT band attaches to the knee and helps stabilize and move the joint. When the IT band isn’t working properly, movement of the knee (and, therefore, running) becomes painful. IT band pain can be severe enough to completely sideline a runner for weeks, or even longer.

Hmm... my knees are ok, I just feel constant dull pain by the side of the thigh... so I googled further and found a more possible cause for my pain.

Piriformis Syndrome
The piriformis is a small muscle that runs from the sacrum to the outside of the hip. For a small muscle it can cause big problems when inflamed or overused. Because it runs over the sciatic nerve, the piriformis has a nasty habit of putting pressure on this nerve and causing exquisite pain in the glute and posterior hip area when it swells or spasms.

Ok... so I have a pain in the butt issue here, no pun intended of course.... and I may also have this.

Hip Bursitis Symptom
Hip Bursitis, an inflammation of the fluid-filled bursa sacs that lubricate the joints and symptoms include pain on the outside of the hip which is worse during activities such as running, climbing stairs or getting out of a car. The pain will gradually get worse and the area on the outside of the hip is tender when pressing in. Pain may also radiate down the outside of the thigh.

Incidentally Piriformis Syndrome also causes pain on the Iliac Crest where inflamed ilium gets or damages on the muscles around the hip bone will send bolts of sharp and severe pain to it.

The mystery of the sharp pain at the hip is SOLVED!

After reading up so many articles on hip pain/injury, runners injuries on the web, the most common treatments advised given were physiotherapy or occupational therapy, pain-killing medicines, stretching, strengthening exercises and use of foam rollers.

Well, the 1st two options are out and the stretching exercise I did on and off (I know I'm not very disciplined but sometimes it just slipped my mind) the past month did not help much, the excruciating hip pain is still there.  The foam rollers suggestion caught my eye because I remembered that I have foam rollers that PRIMERO Fitness sent to me months ago.

Google is such a great tool to find out information at the comfort of our home or anywhere with your smart phone.  So I did a search on foam rollers benefits and was awed!   

Regularly using a Foam Roller – especially a deep tissue massage roller – offers many of the same benefits as a sports massage, including reduced inflammation, scar tissue and joint stress, as well as improved circulation and improved flexibility. - taken from
I came across a term - Myofascial Release (MFR), a strange word that means a technique that helps releases the tension and tightness on the dense tough tissue that surrounds and covers all your muscles (this is your myofascia) and bone by applying deep pressure to it.  In layman term it means deep tissue massage lah.

So to get sore rid of muscles due to over usage or otherwise you can visit a professional masseuse to get it fixed or you can use the foam rollers to achieve it, which by the way is call Self Myofascial Release (SMR).  Although a point to note that foam rollers will probably not do as good as a masseuse's powerful hands but it is a great alternative.

With that I unrolled the TPE Yoga Mat and placed the Centenarian foam roller (Retail Price SGD39.90) onto it and start to work on my problems I mentioned above with this easy but painful exercise.

How do I feel?
Day after 1st Foam Roll Workout
I used the Centenarian roller and I almost die of pain as the grid worked deep DEEP into my muscle!  Perhaps I should have used Paperclip roller (Retail Price SGD33.00) instead but I gritted my teeth and went through the exercise.

The next day I felt happier!  The sharp excruciating pain was gone but it was replaced by a dull soreness, it was a great improvement for me!  No more cringing or falling back onto my chair when I try to get up from it.

A week later the 2nd Foam Roll Workout
I should have continue doing it but I was too tired to do so and it was a week later when I hit the rollers again with Centenarian, I forgot about the pain the grid caused me!  Surprisingly it did not hurt as much as the 1st time, I was able to finish the routine without crying out in pain.  The next day I felt less soreness on the hip area and a few days later I caught myself running after the bus without feeling any pain on the hip! 

I am a happy girl again and definitely going to continue the exercise till the pain goes away completely.

For all of you out there who has not try foam rolling, give it a go, a 30 mins before or after your workout benefits your body tremendously!




Post a Comment