It's time for a serious post about my injury, a hip labral tear.
Last summer, I was coming back from a long-misdiagnosed femoral stress fracture, and everything was peachy until a vague, diffuse pain appeared in my left thigh. I did what any good runner does who feels pain - stopped running, called my doctor.
My doctor shrugged off the pain, saying I didn't need a doctor - I needed a coach. Nice, except resting didn't help the pain. A coworker sensed my frustration and recommended a different sports medicine doctor.
This doctor did some x-rays, and there was a lump on my bone: a wide area of sclerosis along the fracture site. He prescribed rest and calcitonin. But when I returned at follow up with unchanged pain, he gave up on me. He told me that my injury was in my mind, that the lump on my femur was part of the normal healing process, and that maybe I just didn't like running and should do something I enjoyed.
He told me I was a hypochondriac, and when I insisted the pain was real, he snapped, "Don't bully me into a diagnosis!"
I left the office in complete frustration and confusion. How could I be imaging this injury? Had my recent injury just made me a worry-wart? But I love to run. Why would I find excuses not to do it?
Was I a big wimp about pain? I thought back to the 40:59 10k I ran earlier that Spring. I saw my doctor four days later for pain that just wouldn't go away, and it was a complete fracture of the femur. I ran two 10ks and a half marathon with a broken leg. But now I was making up pain in my thigh?
I kept a little quiet about this non-diagnosis on the blog, half out of skepticism, half out of embarrassment.
And now? Now I'm going into surgery to repair a torn hip labrum. It's torn, it's frayed, and it's probably been there for awhile. It's not an incredibly common injury, and it's hard to diagnose because of the relative rarity and the ambiguous symptoms (like, surprise, pain radiating down the leg). And my non-specific symptoms, referred pain, and tolerance to groin pain (I've had osteitis pubis symptoms for so long that I don't ever report groin pain; it's normal to me) made the diagnosis harder. So I give my doctors a little break. But a simple MRI showed the tear, and a doctor who took me seriously would have tried to dig a little deeper.
Don't let this happen to you. You deserve a diagnosis, and you deserve to be taken seriously. If your doctor keeps shrugging you off when you have a legitimate injury, find someone else! You have to take charge of your own health and healthcare, because no one else will do it for you.