It's a tough road and sometimes everything can get the better of you. That's how I felt after training last Tuesday. The passing week has been a battle and I was for the first time really struggling to find the will to do any sort of training at gym or Taekwondo. What made it worse was the temporary dull ache in my foot had become permanent and I had been advised that it could be a stress fracture.
As hard as it was to try not to think about the what ifs, I was still left demoralized by the thought that after all the hard work of the last 6 months, the success of Gold Coast, that I was going to have to start from scratch again.
Not mucking about I booked in for two scans on Tuesday, an x ray on the left foot and MRI on the left Adductor.
I've had a bit of history with adductor pain before. July 2008 I had the first visit to the physio with general discomfort in and around the groin. We started rehabbing and I was pretty diligent with my exercises. After a few months and ultra sound still showing nothing, with no improvement I saw the sports doctor. He recognized it immediately and an x ray proved that the ball of the femur was misshaped somewhat causing cartilage damage within the hip joint.
So off to the specialist I went to give me the great news. Dr Michael Pritchard put it as gently as possible. It went something like "you will get arthritis evetually, the Taekwondo is directly responsible for the damage and the best thing for your hips is to not do ANY impact sport whatsoever. Take up cycling or swimming!" Talk about getting smashed with a freight train of good news.
I had some time to think it over and ultimately made the right decision. As one doctor later put it to me, would you rather sit on the couch getting fat or keep training and deal with the hips. Both scenarios have negative health issues so I chose life! Living and doing that which I love over worrying about the what ifs of the future.
In March of 2009 I had surgery on the left and three weeks later I got the right one done. The surgery takes about 1 hour and your on a flight home later that day (I got it done in Tasmania were the waiting list for elective surgery saved me over 6 months). I remember there was prehab then of course rehab. Lots of rehab, something I'd grown accustomed to dealing with my arm.
It was supposed to take 12 weeks before I was meant to return to training but unfortunately a little issue of the 1st World Para Championships come up. I was never intending on going until I received a little phone call from the WTF saying that they would sponsor my entire trip to Azerbaijan. Bags packed, I wasn't missing out on a free trip!
As for the hips these days, the right is perfect but I've had issues with the left. Would I do the surgery again? Without a second thought, it was the right decision for me and I know I had the best surgeons in Australia. I hear that rehab time is less than 10 weeks these days which is pretty amazing seeing the hip is such a complicated joint.
Back to my current issue of adductor tightness/ soreness. The discomfort or pain is minimal and has fluctuated over the course of 4 months, been something I've trained with, managed and rarely impacted my performance.
Unfortunately the bad news is I have a tear 20mm in adductor longus. Funnily enough this news doesn't worry me as much as the thought of a stress fracture in the foot. It's also a relief that there is a clear concise injury in the form of a tear and that I'm not dealing with some in balance of the stabilizing muscles around the hip joint. Rehabbing that is a tedious, mundane exercise which shows little progress for all the effort.
The good news is the x ray hasn't shown a stress fracture. Adam explains it is most probably joint inflammation of the 5th metatarsal (the little toe). A good dose of voltaren and some rest (which is inevitable now anyway) and the foot will be fine in two weeks.
In some ways I'm a little relieved about the injuries. Looking back now I've pushed myself since Christmas and were already in June. Its been a long tough 6 months and I think I'm a little mentally exhausted. Perhaps this enforced break has happened for a reason and at the right time as it gives me a chance to catch up on life again. My head has already filled with the things I'd like to do over the next month, gym, yoga, meditation and see my long lost friends.
See even with bad news there are positives, you just need to change the way you look at it.