Wednesday, 7 December 2011

Update re injuries

I never got round to explaining what was going on with my posterior impingement.

Quick update; I suspected I had the injury in the early stages of this year and finally had it confirmed in June after an MRI scan which took ages to arrange through the NHS. I can trace the onset of this abnormal bone growth, otherwise known as a bone spur (on the bottom rear of my tibia), to a foul/hack I was on the receiving end of in a game of football I played in on May 4th last year.

When I went for my consultation the orthopaedic surgeon told me that he was unwilling to operate on me as the injury did not prevent me from doing anything within my working day to day life. He then suggested that to take care of the pain I simply give up running! He refused to listen to my plea that this was affecting my day to day life by the very fact that it was inhibiting my desire to run and more specifically fell run. He was steadfast in his refusal to listen to me. I left his office in tears.

Clearly, I refused to hang my shoes up. A friend who happens to be a GP looked into the matter a little more for me. He found the name of an orthopaedic in Edinburgh; a sports specialist – the surgeon for the Scottish Rugby Union no less. He suggested my GP write to this man asking for a second opinion consultation. The good thing about this was that it could all be done on the NHS – it might take some time but as I’m in the final year of my hons degree I was more than happy to accept this trade off. This was one of the reasons for shoe-horning my recent WHW challenge into my calendar.

Then this week I received a letter from my GP stating that the surgeon in Edinburgh is unwilling to help me such is the relatively minor nature of the injury! The advice being that I seek a local second opinion. Trouble is there is no-one else in Dumfries & Galloway who can act as said second opinion. I have left this with my GP to seek a remedy.

In the mean time I have been troubled with two injuries to my right leg; a thigh strain and an illiotibal band strain. I picked these up prior to doing the WHW which is one of the reasons I pulled the attempt forward i.e. by ending the high volume and entering the taper I hoped to bring some recovery into the injuries.

In a way my plan worked because Rob and I completed the WHW. However, the injuries became apparent within 4 hrs of the run starting. I was in unbelievable pain during the last 3 hours of our hobble into Fort William.

I left the training for a week and then on Sunday just past I did some cross training in the local gym. It felt great to get a sweat on. I had been itching to do something since about Wednesday. Then on Monday I went out for my usual lunch time 4 miler; easy pace.

This is when I realised I had a problem. The illiotibal band started rubbing away within the first mile and by the second I could barely bend the knee. I made an appointment to see a sports injury specialist straight afterwards.

He was really helpful when I seen him last night. It was agreed that my injuries have been brought on by the fact that my right leg is abnormally shorter than my left. The strength, structure and flexibility of my right leg were thankfully ruled out as issues to cause the injury.

I happened to mention the posterior impingement, more as an afterthought than anything else to which he was horrified at my predicament. He offered to take the issue up with my GP and perhaps even the orthopaedic surgeon who is refusing to operate on me if permitted by my GP. After everything that’s happened I’m not holding my breath.

He has given me a few exercises to do, suggested a bit of massage and also told me to steer clear of running for 4 weeks minimum. I’m assured that he will arrange physiotherapy for me in due course through the NHS and has given me contact details of a biomechanics specialist – to work out a way to cater for the discrepancy in leg lengths.

All in a fairly productive evening last night, as long as it comes to fruition. I’m left with a dilemma though; how do I train now? I’ll work something out. It’ll involve my bike and some non intrusive cross training with plenty of special stretching and massage.

I was tempted to enter the Highland Fling to test my theory of being capable of recording a sub 9hrs attempt. But this would go against what I’ve been telling myself all year – that 2012 must be the year I attend to all of my tweaks, away from the pressure of taking part in events, so that I come back in 2013 ready to fully embrace any challenge. I just wonder if the posterior impingement will be sorted by then.


  1. Hi Dale,
    maybe your GP could refer you to Glasgow for a 2nd opinion. Check out the website for Glasgow Sports Surgery Service
    While all of the specialists can be seen privately you can also be referred on the NHS, as long as your GP makes it clear in the referral that you need to see Mr Senthil Kumar e.g. for foot and ankle related problems. All the surgeons run courses for GPs at Hampden etc and encourage referrals for sports related issues. So worth a try and maybe a bit closer to Dumfries/Galloway for a 2nd opinion than Edinburgh.
    I would also say that if that local orthopaedic surgeon is reluctant to operate I would not try to push this. Would you be really confident in him if he did agree to go ahead? I know I wouldn't. And I guess in a case like yours you want a surgeon that knows what it is all about and why you need the problem sorted. Good luck! Silke

  2. I'm shocked by your GP's attitude Dale. He really is living in the past with attitudes like that and as you've found out, you are entitled to a second opinion. I can't think of any reason why you shouldn't get this treated on the NHS and I hope that you'll get referred to someone who can sort you out. The injury is not of a "minor nature" if it is seriously impacting on your lifestyle.

    Good luck with this and your other injuries!

  3. My GP phoned today to say that he has persuaded the consultant in Edinburgh to see me. He is also going to refer me to the biomechanics DR through the NHS and has intimated I will get this appt through within 2 weeks! Happy days.
    Thanks for the info, Silke. If this next guy seems as unsympathetic as the first then maybe I can get a third opinion!! Tim, I couldn't think of a reason either. It is so galling to be told to give up running - I'm sure if I was a celebrity I wouldn't be treated this way.