FAI/Nagging Hip Flexor Pain and A Really Awesome Vegetarian Recipe

I’m back from my mountain biking trip! It was a great weekend, and I’ll be posting a report on it later today. Here’s a teaser pic from the weekend:

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More on the trip later.

I took a week off from running because of my hip flexor pain. My post half marathon plan was to increase my running mileage to 30 miles a week by mid-June, when my marathon training would start. I’ve been trying to lightly run through this hip pain, but it was not going away, so I took the week off.

My pain eventually went away. I went mountain biking on Friday and Saturday and felt great! On Sunday I decided to try a short trail run, it was about 4.7 miles with only 663ft of gain, easy. I started out and felt a little pain here and there, but within a mile all the pain was gone and I had a great run. I thought maybe this hip flexor injury was behind me, but yesterday I woke up with hip pain, gah!

After going back and forth on whether I should get it checked out, I decided to make an appointment with a sports medicine doctor I’ve been seeing ever since I tore my ACL back in 2011. Is it weird that I have a sports medicine doctor that I see over and over again? Luckily she had an opening today. I described to her the history, I’ve been climbing at a new and steep climbing gym and I ran a half marathon, then I started having hip pain. Now the hip pain comes and goes, but I can’t run a lot because that seems to make it hurt.

She did some range of motion exercises, and a couple of them caused pain. She then wanted to take some x rays. I thought this was a bit much, but I always get x rays whenever I go to the sports medicine doctor, so I figured it was par for the course.

It turns out the x rays actually showed something this time. My right hip, the pain free one looks great, my doctor explained how it looked normal. My left hip though, not normal. At the top of my left femur I have a bone lesion, and this lesion was the cause of my pain. This condition is called femoroacetabular impingement, or FAI for short. A description of it can be found here.

I have a lesion on the head of my femur, when that lesion rubs abnormally in my hip and causes pain, it is called a cam impingement.

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My doctor thinks the climbing and/or the half marathon was enough force to cause the femur to rub against my hip joint abnormally. This can cause cartilage damage and pain.

So, the bad news is that have an abnormal left hip that under certain conditions can cause me pain. There was nothing I can do to prevent this injury, it’s not an overuse injury, it’s a bone abnormality.

My treatment plan is to take anti-inflammation meds and start physical therapy. If in three weeks I still have pain, I will get an MRI for my hip and I may need anti-inflammatory shots in my hip, I’m hoping to avoid this and my doctor seems confident that it won’t be necessary.

The good news, my doctor says I can keep running! I shouldn’t push myself to the point where the pain is unbearable, but I can run as long as I’m feeling comfortable. I can also continue climbing, hooray! The rationale behind this is since I’ve been running for 11 years without this hip issue causing problems, and I’ve also been climbing for 7 years without this injury, I most likely tweaked my hip in a weird way and that caused the impingement. That being said, I plan to be more careful in how I use my left hip when I climb.

All in all I’m feeling okay with this news. I’m glad I went to the doctor, I think I could have really stressed myself out about this if I hadn’t. And while it stinks to have a left hip that I know can give me pain, I’m optimistic that once the inflammation goes away, I’ll be good to return to all my athletic pursuits. I’m also optimistic that I can learn what movements are more likely to cause my FAI and learn ways to avoid those movements. Plus this reinforces the fact that I need to strengthen my hips, apparently hip strengthening can help prevent my pain symptoms.

I’ve run 10 half marathons without this injury, so I know I’ll be able to return to running halves. My only hope is that training for the full marathon doesn’t aggravate my hip. Fingers crossed!

Okay, enough about injuries. I tried a new vegetarian recipe last night that was amazing! Ever since a friend of mine made an Asian Kale Salad for a get together last month, I’ve been reading the blog CookieandKate. Kate cooks vegetarian meals with a focus on whole foods. The Asian kale salad my friend made was so good, I knew I’d like other recipes of Kate’s. Last week she posted a recipe for Sugar Snap Pea and Carrot Soba Noodles that looked and sounded delicious. I decided I’d try it for this week’s Meatless Monday dinner.

The first thing I loved about this recipe is how quick it is. Set some water to boil in two pots, chop some veggies, whip up the dressing, then boil the noodles and edamame in separate pots for about 5 minutes. At the last minute, throw in the sugar snap peas. Then mix everything together. It was really that easy! Instead of using a julienne peeler on whole carrots, I bought a bag of shredded carrots, it made the prep even easier.

The second thing I loved about this recipe was how it tasted. It was AMAZING!! Troy even had a third serving of it, he liked it so much. This recipe is going into our regular dinner rotation, and not just for Meatless Mondays, I think it’ll be pretty good any day of the week.

I won’t share the recipe here, check out the link above and definitely check out Kate’s blog. It’s beautifully done and the food tastes great, what more can you ask for?

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15 thoughts on “FAI/Nagging Hip Flexor Pain and A Really Awesome Vegetarian Recipe

  1. First off, so sorry to hear about your hip!! I’m glad you made an appointment, went into the doctors, and now know what’s going on!! At least you have a plan of action, too!!! XOXO!! I’m thinking about you!!! Also, yummy vegetarian recipe!!

  2. I can’t wait to hear more about the trip–you have me hanging based on your comment on my blog earlier and now with these pics! And I can’t wait to hear some encouraging news re: hip. If you have been able to do everything you have up to this point without issue, you should be able to continue once things chill out. Fingers crossed!
    And I loooove soba noodles. I love the nuttiness of the buckwheat!

  3. Interesting to hear about your hip diagnosis as I was feeling some twinges in the same area of my hip after completing my first half. It’s not been very bad at all but just something that I haven’t felt before. Perhaps I should pay a little more attention to it.

  4. I’m so sorry to hear about the diagnosis, but it sounds like you have a good plan in place and hooray for still being able to run! I have wonky bones in my feet that leave me more prone to injury as well. Nothing that I can do about it aside from get new feet so I understand about the whole abnormality thing. I hope you will be pain free very soon and I’m looking forward to your ride recap. It’s so beautiful where you live! And that food looks delicious!

    • Thanks! It’s good to know I’m not the only one with weird bones! I’m pain free today and am going to do a test run, 2 slow treadmill miles.

  5. Sorry to hear about your hip problems. But at least you have a plan of action to get better and back running/climbing – and you can always bike pain-free! And thanks for sharing that website – it looks great.

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