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Thursday, June 16, 2011

Southern Orthopaedics...and an injury update!

I had to make a tough decision when I finally concluded that I should see a doctor about my leg pain. I previously saw Dr. Stewart in the Tulane Sports Medicine complex when I had runner's knee. In all honesty, the entire situation didn't impress me. Tulane does not have any special equipment or faculty specifically for runners, and both times I went I waited for an hour only to be rushed by the doctor. I think Dr. Stewart's nice, but the practice is too busy (just try calling them - no one ever answers, and if you leave a message it takes 1 - 2 days to get a response) and for runners, there's just not any focused care. So I had to choose - stay with my current doctor for continuity? Or find someone new, at the risk of creating a complex and confusing medical history? I finally chose someone new, just because I wanted someone who could tell me accurately when it was safe to start running again. I chose Dr. McNulty at Southern Orthopaedics. The office staff, when I called to make an appointment, were very helpful in finding the appropriate doctor for me and working with my schedule. The office manager even sent me a personal email later to make sure my needs were addressed. However, I have the same old complaint about my visit - WAITING. I waited an hour before I was ever seen...with more waits for an x-ray and for the doctor to finally examine me. I was at the office for over 2 hours! Definitely inconvenient. 
But back to the appointment itself. I agreed to a single x-ray, even though I really don't like radiation. After looking at the film and feeling the egg still on my calf, the doctor concluded that I had a healed stress fracture (or in the process of healing) but that I also had...a torn muscle insertion. I kind of suspected that. Luckily, and remarkably, it's healing very well on its own! There is significant inflammation, though. We discussed a steroid shot but since I don't like steroids - even locally - we decided to go with oral NSAIDS instead (yes, I'm that annoying patient who won't take certain drugs). The egg I've been feeling along the bone is actually a lump of muscle that healed wrong, and it's probably there to stay. Besides that, I have medial tibial stress syndrome, which probably preceded the tear, and which neither I nor my doctor care about. If it didn't bother me before I don't really care if it's inflamed. I'm obviously good at ignoring it! 
The good news is that since I appear to be well into the healing process, I can actually start back running. I have to go slow and only three days a week - and distance is a no-no - but I'm happy about that. Dr. McNulty said I looked like I was 6 months post-injury, not 6 weeks! I told him it was all clean living.
I'm supposed to take NSAIDS for 2 weeks to diminish the swelling; run with discretion; and call back in 2 weeks. If the pain returns I will need an MRI to rule out complications or cancer.
Interestingly, this apparently is not a running injury. It seems I did something abrupt, like jumping from a height and landing on a twisted leg. Now I think I have a hunch what that was, but I'm embarrassed to admit. Unless you beg!
Conclusion about Southern Orthopaedics? An obviously better choice for runners - the staff and my doctor were familiar with runners and their ailments -  but there was the same old issue with waiting. I think I'll start telling patients that prescriptions will be ready at 10 am, then make them wait until 11. See how that flies.
So - have you ever changed doctors (for any reason besides moving)? I changed dermatologists TWICE because the docs would not believe I had facial eczema because it was always healed by the time of my appointment. They wouldn't look at the photos of flare-ups I'd brought - so I found someone who did!


  1. Oh my gosh! Your injury sounds exactly like the symptoms I have. I can feel a knot in my calf and there's a spot on my shin that hurts. I haven't run in 2 weeks. And now it's much better. I'm pretty close to going to a doctor if it doesn't clear up in the next few weeks. I just don't want to be told don't run, ice it etc. I'm already doing that with success.

    I'm happy you have a diagnosis. And since I feel your pain, I hope that it continues to improve and heal quickly. Being injured stinks!

  2. I am glad that you went to see a doctor. It's not good to just overlook things and hope they go away. I am happy to hear you are well into the healing phase, though. Hopefully the worst is behidn you and you feel good as new very soon!

  3. I injured myself doing plyometrics. I felt retarded...

  4. i have no qualms with changing doctors. if one sucks, i will go to a new one until i find one who a) gives me the time of day and b) is able to think outside the box and realizes that their patients are not carbon copies of the other. plus, i don't like doctors who just give you a 5min consult and then a handful of 'scripts.

    i'm like you - i don't want to be on meds. i refused to take allergy meds for years b/c i didn't want to have to take a pill everyday. course last year i gave in b/c i was having some major skin situation going on that was annoying and i would have done anything to fix it. i even went on prednisone for 10 days... ugh.

  5. oh and i'm glad it's good news!! hopefully it will continue to heal with no issues.

  6. I am so glad you switched doctors and found someone to who was able to help, or at least give the proper guidance. You are so smart and every time I pick up a prescription now I think of you!

  7. Ugh, I hate changing docs too. It's such a hassle. I still don't have a general doc because of that. I just know I don't want to go back to my old one. :)

    Yes, please tell the story. Glad to hear the leg is healing well.