Aches and Pains

Aches and Pains

Injuries are a pain in the butt. In my case, literally.

I’m lucky. In the approximately 30 years I’ve been running, I’ve had some of the aches and pains common to runners — shin splints in high school, illiotibial band pain many years ago, off-and-on plantar fascitis more recently. But they’ve all been relatively mild, and I’ve had only one injury that prevented me from running. That was a broken foot five years ago, when my shoe got caught in a tree root during a trail race.

This year, though, the aches and pains have been a bit more painful. I did six weeks of physical therapy in the first part of the summer for hip pain. The diagnosis was strained muscles caused by weak core muscles.

I did the prescribed exercises and stretches religiously, until therapy ended. Then I quit the leg lifts and began marathon training. The hip pain is back on one side, although it’s much less sore than it was in the spring and early summer.

But the real problem (related to the hip pain, I’m sure) is the pain in my butt. I self-diagnosed it as a piriformis injury, and it hurts more than any ache or pain I’ve ever had.

Sitting for a long time hurts, and earlier this fall, driving for more than 20 minutes in the day or so after a long run was excruciating.

I recently learned, from this New York Times article, it might be “dead butt syndrome.” In other words, weak gluteus muscles that should be stabilizing my hips when I run, according to the story.

So now I’m back to stretching and those leg lifts. I’m pretty motivated to keep them up, both by the pain and because this week is the start of another round of marathon training for me.

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