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Thursday, April 4, 2013

I have no ability to sense pain

It's official, I can't sense pain.
Two seconds into my doctor's appointment yesterday Dr. McNulty said, "You have a stress fracture." I laughed it off. I have a strained hamstring! I have a swollen knee! I ran two 10ks in two weeks! I said.
I see stress fractures every day of my life. I'm a sports medicine doctor, he said.
He made me get an X-ray.
I have a stress fracture.
Sadly, I've had it since November and that means healing it could be arduous. It also means there is almost certainly soft tissue damage, too (probably an avulsion, but I hope not) and I have to get an MRI.

My doctor told me that I am his worst patient because I do not have a normal response to pain. My pain sensation is very poor, and even when I feel pain (like I do now) it's hard for me to quantify or localize it. So I don't go to the doctor for 5 months.

In my defense, the location of the fracture is highly unusual for a stress fracture: distal femur, about 2 or 3 inches above the knee. The MRI should show if there is anything else going on and I'm sure there is; this whole time I've been treating soft tissue! Surely there is some soft tissue damage! Argh! Frustrating!

On the good news front, we checked out my Xrays for bone edema and sclerosis at the pubic joint from my ongoing osteitis pubis and it is actually looking pretty good: one side is markedly improved (yay!) and the other is the same or a little better compared to last summer.

I have no idea what's next, but maybe the MRI can help drive treatment. For now, no running, which is fine since I have no races coming up anytime.
Back to the gym. Boo. Wish I'd caught this back in November!


  1. What?!!!! You've been racing so fast with a stress fracture? Well, I'm sorry to hear this but I'm so glad you (well, your doctor) caught it and you can FINALLY get this thing healed up the right way! Stress fractures are NOT the end of the world. Most elites have had them at one time or another. And us non-elites have had them too- and I can personally say there are faster times still to be had post stress fracture. All my current PR's have occurred AFTER my stress fracture. You just need to have some patience and a plan- to help keep you sane! Rest, cross train and when the time is right you will be able to start back and build up again. Exactly 2 years ago I was where you are- just diagnosed with a stress fracture and I was devastated. It completely rocked my world but the entire experience helped me grow as a runner.

    Hugs and prayers!!! You will get through this and be stronger than ever!

  2. That's horrible, but at least you know, right? What do you think caused it ... Just overall wear & tear, running too fast, or just some freak weird thing? I always worry when I run too fast that I'm doing damage - not that you were running faster than you're capable of, but that's when I'm the sorest. From runners u talk to, I think this is fairly normal - to run through the pain. It sounds like you a little studlier than most of us, but I think one of the toughest things with running and aging us determining what is normal pain verses injury. Anyway, your young ang really healthy so hopefully this will be a short IR stint. Best wishes!

  3. Yuck yuck yuck... but I gotta agree with Jim. At least you know whats going on!? Hoping for a speedy recovery and an even speedier post-stress-fracture-crapness return! ~ Penny

  4. UGH Gracie. I am glad you got a diagnosis but not glad that that was the news you got. I hope that you get a solid recovery plan and heal up fast. Hugs!!

  5. That's craziness. Hopefully there' s minimal additional damage and fast healing now that you know what the issue is!

  6. I actually have had a stress fracture in that same location...and it took forever to be diagnosed because they thought there was just something wrong with my knee. Anyway, once I completely got off it (only did swimming without kicking) it healed quite quickly. I originally did a lot of aqua jogging, biking, etc. but I guess that was setting my recovery back, even though it didn't hurt...not sure if you would be in the same situation, but thought I would share as an FYI.. I hope you heal quickly. Best of luck!

    1. Thank you thank you for your input! I'm worried that it will take me a long time to heal because my job involves lots of walking and standing. But I will do my best to stay off it totally!

    2. You're welcome! And I ended up using crutches for a few cast or anything...just so I was completely off it. That might be hard with your job, but that seemed to help, too. It is a hard injury to deal with, but hopefully once it is healed, that will be it! Mine has never come back, and I also didn't have any problems with it when getting back into running, either.

  7. omg.... well, at least you have an answer now. hopefully there isn't anything else going on ... i'm so sorry to hear this. :(

  8. nooooooooo! Well actually I'm glad that you finally have a diagnosis, at least there's some sort of guidance as to what you should do now. And with a stress fracture, at least you can take off time, let it heal and be done with it! (or at least that's what happened with my hip stress fracture.)

  9. Wow a stress fracture above the knee?!? That is bizarre. And yet you set a 10K PR?!? Hope it heals up and you are back to 100%. At least now some of your injury questions might be answered.

  10. Dude what?! You are crazy. Hopefully since you still ran crazy on it it means it'll heal fast? One can hope... Ugh injuries!