{3.10.12} Medical Tent: Try This At Home

March 10, 2012 § 1 Comment

I ran today.  On a treadmill, being extremely cognizant of my form, in my newest shoes, after about twenty minutes of stretching my hip flexor/piriformis muscle within an inch of their lives and taking two MSM/glucosamine compound vitamins.

It was glorious.  And pain-free.

Afterwards, I was thinking about how I came to a tentative diagnosis of my hip pain.  Typical runner’s methodology, I’d guess.  If you’re a runner, you probably like to do things yourself.  You want to get on the roads, get back, do your thing, thanks.  Doctor visits take up time that could be better spent running. (Or is that just me?)

I had to laugh at myself this morning.  I sort of consulted a doctor.  My breakthrough advice did come from an M.D., promise!  It just so happened that he was a child psychiatrist my mom met in Boston yesterday at a conference she’s attending.  He’s a runner, too, so she told him about my issue.  He suggested it might be my piriformis muscle and could need some extra stretching.  Mom passed this information on to me, along with a highly scientific article.

I then turned to the real authority: Google.  A search on ‘piriformis’ and a second on ‘piriformis pain running’ yielded this Runner’s World article , this Running Times article, some stretching exercise suggestions, as well as the discovery of a Navy SEAL running forum (I didn’t know those guys were human enough to get injured).

Everything I read made sense and seemed to point to the fact that I’d been sitting too much, overpronating, probably overcompensating because of some recent calf pain I’ve had, and skimping on stretching.

I’m not sure I can really give you a rundown of all the stretches I did, but a few were:

  • Downward dog: release your heels slowly toward the floor, then, one at a time, release each leg, so all your weight is in the other one and allow it to straighten further into a deeper stretch (good for when you feel like some self-flagellation)
  • Deep lunges: let the knee behind you go all the way to the floor and rest there, leaning forward until you feel it deep in your hip flexor (through gritted teeth, just keep telling yourself: “This. Feels. Great.”)
  • Opening stretch: one ankle over opposite knee and sit into the air (that creaking noise? My knee.)
  • Dynamic flexor stretch: hold on to something, like the hand of a strong man, and swing your leg back and forth as high as it will go (back and forth, back and forth) and then laterally (side to side, side to side) as many times as you can. I made it to 15 on each leg and felt like I’d given it [most of] my best effort.
  • Bonus! Hamstring stretch: one foot out in front of you, heel on the ground, toes up, and bend forward (if you’re trying this at the gym, try to pretend you don’t notice that your knee seems frozen at a sharp chicken wing angle. If you pretend hard enough, maybe Lithe Linda over there in a semi-permanent pretzel won’t notice, either).

This is stuff that feels good to me.  Be careful with your precious body, though!  You only get one.

Any ongoing injuries/discomfort out there?  

What’s your stance on stretching before and after you work out?

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