Shell-shocked. There is really no other word to describe my reaction after finally seeing the hip specialist in Hamilton. I waited for 3 months to get to the bottom of what was going on with my hamstring – a tear at the insertion of the ischial tuberosity. I waited another three months for a consultation with Dr. Bentley, whom I thought was going to prescribe platelet-rich plasma therapy to strengthen the tendon. I got more and more excited as the days to that appointment got closer; I felt like a 6 year old hoping to find her pony on Christmas morning. But I left his office feeling dejected. There was no pony waiting for me, not even a stuffed toy that could act as a substitute. Instead, I left with a piece of paper: a prescription for more physiotherapy.
During the examination, Dr. Bentley commented, “I don’t think you need an injection. It won’t help you. I think there is something else going on.” Like most runners who have been off longer than they want to be and are desperate for answers and healing, I tried to pry more details out of him. “Let’s finish the examination. Then we can talk.” But the words “won’t help you” kept my mind spinning. So I am that one in ten who PRP injections aren’t suitable for? I wasted all of this time waiting for nothing? Is there no hope of recovery? Will I ever run again?
During our debrief, Dr. Bentley explained that my pelvis is not aligned properly. I have an anterior pelvic tilt, meaning that my right hip sits forward; in doing so, the right hamstring is stretched and that, he believes, it the root of my problem. This also explains the occasional sciatica discomfort that I get, my tight hip flexors and, most visually obvious, the right leg swing when I run. The treatment, Dr. Bentley said, is pelvis realignment through physiotherapy, and he suggested 10 treatments would correct the problem. “Once a week?” I asked. “Oh no,” he said. “You need twice a week.” Between his words, I imagined hearing “Your pelvis is that messed up.”
“And what if this doesn’t help?” I asked. After all, I have gone through the rounds of chiropractic care, physiotherapy and worked with an osteopath, yet I am still considered injured. Dr. Bentley told me to book another appointment if I felt that the treatments don’t help.
It’s taken me almost a month to emotionally recover from his diagnosis and recommendations for treatment. I am angry that I had to wait so long to get to the root, or what seems to be the root, of the problem. I am frustrated that I have had to go to yet another physiotherapist, one who specializes in pelvic realignment, and explain the events of the past 9 months. And I am confused as to why he wouldn’t want to strengthen the tendon when it is going to remain a “less than 50% tear” for the rest of my life (since tendons don’t repair), especially with osteoporosis-arthritis showing in January’s MRI. But, as with all other wounds, time heals and we move on.
On Wednesday, I am starting my fourth week of treatments. Some days, I leave feeling optimistic and ready to start running again; other days, I leave feeling frustrated and wonder whether this will, in fact, let me return to running. There have been good days and bad, laughter and tears, and longing….a longing for good news, a wish for running health….and hope to find that pony with a pink ribbon around its neck.