I have weekening pain in the front of my left thigh. It actually starts at the top where the leg meets the torso. It is painful to sit and stand, and it stiffens when I sit too long.
I ran a 5k Saturday, and nothing was bothering me. This just started yesterday (Wednesday).
A little more history.... On Feb 11, I did a 10k (no pain). Because of circumstances (nothing physical) I was not able to run again until Feb 28, the Tuesday before the 5k. I do not run far at this stage; 10k was my longest distance this year. So on this Tuesday run I pushed past fatique and time off to 3.75 miles, hoping to stress myself a bit and recover by Saturday.
I felt this same pain in towards the end of that 3.75 mile run, but it was gone after a day. I felt no pain during the 5k and no pain after it. Now it shows up in the middle of the week.
Does anyone have an idea about this? Thanks!
We all wish you well, of course, but there are many possible reasons for hip or thigh pain, the way you describe it. I'm not convinced that "significant" arthritis is the only possible cause, or at least the root cause. I might be convinced, if there is proof that what is seen on the x-ray can be shown to be directly and primarily responsible for your pain. An x-ray image is often a red herring that distracts attention from other factors of which arthritis itself may be only a secondary symptom.
Many people without pain show similar internal degenerative changes. It just so happens that people who feel OK don't need to get x-rays. When they do for some other reason, these "problems" are often found. Same thing happens when you take your car in for an oil change, and walk out with $1500 dollars worth of questionable repair estimates. If arthritis is your problem, and the degeneration is significant, how come you just started feeling it? Significant arthritic conditions don't just happen overnight, so you have been running with this condition for a long time. I'll bet the pain can be at least managed without drugs, if not sent packing for good.
You probably strained a hip flexor, adductor, or rotator, experienced some temporary inflammation, and went in for a checkup. Now, you have been gifted with indelible doubts about your ability to keep running. One of the worst things about x-rays, is they convince people that everything which can be seen, can also be felt. If this were the case, most of us would be on crutches. Don't get flim-flammed. There are plenty of people with arthritis who run, because in most cases, it is better for the joints than sitting around on medicines. In fact, there are a number of people out there who develop these problems long before they become active, and only find out about them when they strain something, and go for a checkup due to pain.
In many cases, the tight muscles that allow runners to bound hundreds of pounds off the pavement for thousands of footstrikes, exert tremendous pressure on joints when they no longer release during rest, causing inflammation at these focal points. The involved muscles produce pain of their own that is interpreted by the brain as coming from the joint - a useful evolutionary adaptation. This can resolve by itself, or via rest, stretching, and exercise, but there is more to know. Much more.
A hip joint, unlike the simple hinge joint of the knee, is a ball joint that must be held in place and stabilized by an elaborate network of muscles, tendons, and motor functions. Proper exercises, like the ones shown below, will help to fine-tune these motor functions. A proper diet and resulting healthy immune system should take care of the rest. Let's get down to some details.
Yes, I wish you well, but in a different way from many healthcare professionals. I hope that you are not persuaded out of your active life back into a sedentary one that produces even more problems. Don't be afraid, be informed. A great deal about the relationship between activity and pain, between exercise and arthritis, is sadly misunderstood. Arthritis is an auto-immune condition that responds to everything from improper nutrition to endocrine disorders, and is not a death sentence for exercise. In many cases, it can even be reversed with the right protocols, many of which I include in this post. First, some revealing moves to try...
While the above stretches and exercises are partly diagnostic and/or therapeutic, the nutritional aspects of handling arthritis need to be fleshed out some more. It's not just about taking glucosamine. In fact, the very concept of "taking" something for a condition is wrong. You may already be getting more than you can take of something else.
Hippocrates, who is often called the "Father of Medicne," as in the "Hippocratic Oath," was roughly translated as saying "let food be your medicine, and medicine be your food." He was not referring to taking any of 100 or more arthritis drugs out there. Such chemicals did not exist in his day. Instead, he was referring to the medicinal qualities of good nutrition, that the things we eat can be good for us, and that only the things that are good for us should be our food.
If you examine the average diet, even the average "healthy" diet, it is full of refined food-like substances that did not exist in Hippocrates' time. If he had been given a chance to weigh in on such things, he would have expanded on his advice. Perhaps he would have said, "do not let poison be your food, and do not accept an antidote for poison as a definition of wellness." Today's culture of food and medicine more closely resembles poisons and antidotes than medicinal food.
What we are eating in the Age of Arthritis is different from what most of us are genetically equipped to handle. Rapid population growth and the spread of industrialized agriculture have forced us to standardize on the grain, starch, and sugar-based diet. Even the animals we eat, are fed mainly a grain-based diet, reducing the value of their meat as food by changing their fat composition. While there are many good qualities in grains, these crops have survived the millennia because of built-in defense mechanisms that are diffcult to strip out, without throwing out the alleged nutritional "baby" with the bathwater. We tried this by refining grain products, also with negative results. We may have been unhealthy then, but we are fatter and unhealthier now. There is a reason for this.
While whole grains are often promoted as being healthier than refined grains, they contain more than beneficial micronutrients. They also contain substances that protect them from predators, including us. While a slice of white bread can produce some inflammation along with an undesirable rise in insulin levels, the gluten it contains can interfere with absorption of vital nutrients, causing us to eat more. We may think we are helping when we eat a whole-grain product instead, but a slice of whole-wheat bread still contains the starch and gluten. In addition, it can produce even more problems, because of the chemicals contained in the bran that protect the grain from predation, including lectins. Grains are not the only members of the vegetable kingdom to have this problem, but are in particular, a treasure trove of dietary no-nos. Hippocrates may have been able to observe these effects, prompting his analysis, but the science was unknown at the time. Now, we know the effects of a grain-based diet on inflammation, after thousands of years of the degenerative diseases we assume are inevitable.
So, first thing, resolve to cut your grain consumption way down for at least a month. Do this as a trial, with the commitment that you can phase these products back in when you feel better. Allow for the possibility that you may then feel worse, and will use the associated pain as your motivation to permanently alter your diet. Do not assume that "whole" is better, but containing good and bad things that may be tolerated by some, but risky for you.
Next thing, is to incorporate anti-inflammatory foods and oils in your diet. Just subtracting bad fats is not enough. To be able to live with your diet, it has to be enjoyable as well as beneficial, and good fats will help in both ways. Omega-3 oils from wild-caught deep-water fish top the list, and are also available from grass-fed meats. Interestingly, they are not well represented in grain-fed farmed fish like farmed salmon, even when the feed is supplemented with stale omega-3 oils and synthetic antioxidants.
Incorporate other beneficial oils by eating walnuts and almonds, coconut, including the saturated medium-chain triglycerides from fat-burning coconut oil, and use unheated extra-virgin olive oil (mono-unsaturated) as a garnish. Good fats are of many types and must be balanced. Cut way back on any vegetable-based oils and margarines, which are-pro-inflammatory. High-heat saturated or unsaturated fats from frying - in anything - are a must to avoid, because they become pro-inflammatory trans-fats.
You may have heard of the 100-year-old record-setting marathoner who runs ten miles a day. He credits his diet of tea and ginger curry, which contains two important seasonings: Ginger and Turmeric, both of which operate as mild but powerful anti-inflammatory medicines, using the same COX-2 inhibiting mechanism as NSAID drugs. The benefit here, is that the powerful taste of these spices makes it hard to overdose, so side effects of use are not a worry. Once again, let this kind of "medicine" be your food, and your lifestyle will keep inflammation at bay. Think of medicines vs. food as the risk of drowning vs. drinking an occasional glass of water. The risk of concentration is key.
FInally, a caution about allergies. Many potentially medicinal foods can provoke allergic responses, including what is happening to you now. Just as with drugs, not everyone benefits from everything equally, and some can suffer more. Phase every change in so you can observe the results. A shellfish allergy, for example, will contraindicate glucosamine. If you haven't tried them, a quality probiotic (intestinal bacteria culture supplement) in sufficient quantities to actually populate the intestine, has been shown to reduce allergies and improve intestinal absorption of important nutrients, by breaking them down and retarding the growth of pro-inflammatory microflora, and associated by-products of putrifaction. Research continues in this area, to better inform probiotic use and effectiveness.
To paraphrase Hippocrates once again, trying to remedy something we are simultaneously causing is not enough. Examine everything that goes into your body for its potential consequences, and you will get more out of your body. I hope you agree this makes sense.
By the way, the linked article above on medicines does a good job of placating the sponsors, but if you read on through the comments section, it is worth its weight in gold. Commercials notwithstanding, caveat emptor. Expect to be encouraged to "medicate." Expect also, to sometimes fail at any dietary revisions. As long as you are on target 80% of the time, with the exception of certain allergies and intolerances, you should realize 80% of the benefits. Deal?
Wow James. Thanks for the incouragement and info. And I haven't yet read the entire post. I'll digest it tomorrow.
I do have some questions for the doc when I follow up on Thursday. You have given me a few more, and some other things to consider.
Your post took some time to compose. It is appreciated, ....and you too.
James, you were correct right off the bat in your first paragraph. The orthopaedic doc looked at the xray, and couldn't understand how anyone could see arthritis.
In the meantime, an anti-inflamatory pill must have helped. I felt better every day, and after five days, I felt fine.
Last night I ran a couple of miles. I started to feel the same pain, so I stopped to stretched a bit, but not hard. I finished the two miles without any more problem. When I went to bed, I felt it a bit again, so I took the anti-inflamatory (I had stopped taking it Sunday). Today I feel fine.
The question still remains (in my mind) why that problem started four days after the 5k. Anyway, I'll be cautious for a while. Thanks.
Wow.. Hard to believe they were looking at the same image.. Was the other guy a GP? Most docs have the scans read by a radiologist, typed up and called an "impression." Depending on how much coffee they had that day (and maybe the bank account), "significant" could mean different things. Maybe he meant there was enough to barely be noticed, otherwise it would be "insignificant." But we and the GP might take that differently, hmmm?
Anywho, the Ortho probably reads his own, God love him. Probably lost a few pounds over that one, eh? I can tell you I've read scans done by one place and some by another of the same patient, and you'd think they were talking about two different people. Sometimes I think they are just gaming for follow-up angles. That industry needs to be cleaned up, methinks.
Back to the 5k, it's not unusual to have a solid effort stick with you for days after, even a week or two. Marathon burnout can last for months. A few weeks ago I ran an eight miler harder than usual, and it took me a couple weeks to shake it off. Was scared to do speed work during that period, but as of today, I seem to be back, if a wee bit slower for the rust.
Glad the combination of rest and meds seems to have paid off, and of course, for the good news. As long as you keep it light with the anti-flim-flammatories, you should heal quicker. Those things can do a real number on your gut if you get carried away. Happy trails, and keep us posted, Forrest.