After months of resisting, I finally decided to make an appointment with a Sports Medicine doctor for my arch/ankle/hip issues. These issues are in no way severe at all (thank goodness) but after thinking on it for a while, I figured that getting them checked out now before I start training for a marathon would be a good idea.
You see, I have a crooked back. I was diagnosed with mild scoliosis (curvature of the spine) when I was in middle school. It has never really affected me, but once I started running I did notice that if I did have any kind of pain, it would be on my left side. I have also noticed over the years that when I wear heels with my work pants, one leg of the pants always seems to be shorter than the other. This led to my self-diagnosis of one leg being longer than the other.
Anyhow, this morning I woke up bright and early at 5:25 am so that I could be at Center for Sports Medicine at 7:45 am. That is earlier than I woke up last Friday when I finally managed to get in a short run before work. Which means that in the future, I have no excuse when it comes to running in the morning.
After waiting in the freezing cold exam room in my shorts and running tank for 30 minutes, the doctor finally came in and we talked through my concerns (no real pain or problems yet - this is more preventative than anything). Next up were the requisite awkward tests for scoliosis (they involve a lot of bending over). He confirmed my self diagnosis - my left leg is ever so slightly longer than my right because the scoliosis makes my left hip crest tilt foward. This means that I favor the left leg in everything from standing to walking to running, making that leg more tense.
Then came the fun part - stride analysis. After a few passes down the hallway we headed to the treadmill in the therapy room. About 30 strides into it, Doc said, "Do you hear that?"
Of course he was referring to my insanely loud footfalls. Whenever I run with Prabir I joke that he runs like a ninja and I run like an elephant stampeding.
|Prabir's running style|
My running style
I have been aware that I am too loud and heavy with my footfalls, but wasn't sure what to do about it. Apparently the technical term for this problem is not "running-like-a-herd-of-elephants-syndrome" but having too much "vertical motion" in your stride. Which of course puts more pressure on your joints, muscles, etc.
Doc also noted that when I swing my arms, my left arms goes beyond the midline of my body and that I run with my knees very close together, which could indicate weak hips. To check for that he made me do some vertical jump tests which were awkward, but confirmed that I do NOT have weak hips. Yay.
So what does all this mean for me? Luckily my defective back doesn't seem to be really affecting my run (yet), but Doc recommended that I have a session with the "running therapist" for a tune up before I begin my marathon training in earnest. The therapist will be able to give me some tips to change my stride and hopefully prevent any real problems before they happen.
Is it weird that I'm kind of excited about this? Apparently the therapist will give me the video of me running so I can then compare it to subsequent recordings to see how I am improving. That sounds cool to me, but I am sure that as soon as I actually see what I really like when running, I will be horrified and never want anyone to see me running again. Guess we'll find out next Tuesday!
And because this post has mainly been boring self-centered talk about medical maladies, how about a funny picture of me trying on the absolutely hideous Lululemon Happy Hatha Crops:
|Sorry Lulu, but no amount of crack or your Lulu Kool-Aid|
will ever convince me that these pants are attractive.
However, I am regretting not buying that tank.