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(Alternate thread title - "Shoot Me Now")
Afternoon everyone, I've been out with a mid-shaft femoral stress tracture since August, and my orthopaedic surgeon told me no running for four months.
I have read every single thread I could find on this injury, and I've never seen anyone have to be out for so long. It was diagnosed with a bone scan, and I don't have any hormonal/bone density issues I've been pain-free for weeks. It hasn't hurt to walk on it for six weeks or more, and I have run to the mailbox, a few times around a gym, for a half mile or so spectating a race, and have no pain.
So I think I'm going to start Pfitzinger's stress fx recovery program, but I don't want to be too aggressive.
My question is this - if I start with 5ish minutes of running interspersed with equal amounts of walking three times a week, and stop if there's any pain, am I taking a risk? I feel so READY to GO!
Thanks for any help you can give me, and you're welcome to read all about my experience with the stress fx at www.twinlane.blogspot.com if you're so inclined.
Your orthopedic surgeon may be wrong, but he's less likely to be wrong then we are.
Maybe he's being overcautious -- if you wait another five weeks you'll be frustrated, but if he gives you the go ahead now and you have another fracture, you might sue him. So, ask him (or your primary care person) to refer you for a second opinion, ideally someone who works with a lot of athletes, can look at your individual case, and maybe guide you to the best path to getting back to running.
I sympathize with your frustration, but after 12 weeks out you don't want to blow it by going back too soon.
(PS -- I was out 11 weeks with what I am pretty sure was a proximal fibular stress fracture, but since I never actually got a medical evaluation and opinion, I did what seemed right, and it worked out fine )
I can feel your pain. I too have a stress fracture. My fracture is of the femoral neck and occurred August 22. I didn't go to the Dr right away but did on Sept 13 th and have been riding the crutches since. I am currently down to one crutch. I see the Dr again Monday.
My point in saying all this is that I have followed the Dr's instructions exactly and I would recommend the same for you. I know it is hard not to run. Believe me I know. I have been given the ok to swim and ride the bike. This has really helped with the loss of running. Have you asked about other forms of excise you can do? I too feel like I could at least walk and probably run right now. But I am resisting the urge because I don't want a setback and I am sure you don't either.
Started C25K June 6, 2011
Completed C25K August 6, 2011
Lions Club 5K August 13, 2011........................... 25:54
Sole to Soul 5k March 31, 2012.......................... 23:52
Home Run for the Homeless April 28, 2012 ..........24:15
May in Bay May 26, 2012................................... 22:43 1st in AG
Fat Little 5k June 16, 2012.................................. 22:39.6
Lions Club 5k August 11, 2012............................ 21:51 1st in AG PR
North Coast Challenge Sept 1, 2012.................... 40:30 PR
The point is not so much whether you can run pain-free now, but whether you will pay a price later for impatience. None of us, including your doctor, want to see you go through the withdrawal we all would feel in your situation, but the ability of bone to knit properly with minimal calcium deposits is of primary importance to future chronic pain, especially within joints. If you need any additional inspiration, read the popular "Hip Arthroscopy" posts for a reality check on surgery and chronic pain. Yes, you could grit your teeth and suck it up for the rest of your life, but it would be better to take a chance on your physician's advice, and simply go through the process of of conditioning yourself to run all over again, a few more months down the line. At least you already know what you are in for! I once took 6 months off of running, and came back to set PRs years later. You can too!
Thank you everyone for your thoughtful replies. I appreciate your input.
I neglected to mention that I've been briskly walking for up to 90 minutes at a time for the past 4 weeks or so, with zero pain. I also just started spinning and swim lessons, and take a boot camp class where I modify some of the higher impact exercises.
I did go out on Saturday and walk for about 10 minutes, run for 5, walk for 5, run for 5, walk, and it did feel great, but I am hearing what you all are saying about setbacks and longterm implications, and I may rethink my return to running. It's so hard - I know you all know how impatient I feel, and it's difficult to not run when I have no pain.
I am just so undecided. I really don't want to plunk down the $$ for a second medical opinion, but I did email my old PT and he said I could safely "run to pain" which seems misguided to me.
Anyway, I thank you again for your input, and any other stories of stress fx recoveries/setbacks (specifically femoral) are much appreciated.