Bad leg

I wake up early. The time begins with a 5. On particularly bad mornings, it begins with a 4. I don’t know for sure why I wake up this early, but I guess my left leg has a lot to do with it. I’m usually to be found on Twitter at around 6am, moaning to fellow early-risers Not My Year Off and Erica from 92three30 about waking early and my painful leg.

My leg has been hurting for over a year. I know it was definitely waking me up before we moved out of our old house and into the rented house. I remember thinking maybe a different bed would make it better (we actually had our own mattress on the floor for the seven weeks we lived there). Then I thought maybe going back to a proper bed when we moved into our new house would make it better. But it didn’t.

It’s always so painful when I wake up, but then it usually goes very quickly once I get up and start moving. So, in many ways, I forget about it. Until it comes back the next day. And for all that time, I never really worried about it and I never went to the doctor. Because how stupid would I look going to the doctor and saying ‘I’ve got a bad leg. I can run 13 miles, though’. It couldn’t be that bad, could it? So I just put it up with it for months and months.

After the Cheltenham half marathon, I decided to get it sorted. But I still didn’t go to the doctor. I went to a private physio. She thought it was muscular (as did I) and it was inflamed. Caused by my running and not my mattress. For all that time it had never once occurred to me that it might be caused by running. Because it didn’t hurt when I was running, it only hurt when I was in bed. She told me to take anti-inflammatories and gave me some exercises. When I went back it hadn’t really improved. She decided it might be a joint problem and gave me some different exercises. I decided to take a three week break from running (this is something I NEVER do). And still it kept on hurting. Nothing made any difference.

And suddenly I started to look at the situation rationally. Yes, I could still run long distances, but I had been waking up in pain every morning for over a year. I couldn’t carry on, I actually did need to see a doctor. All I’d wanted to do was get back to running regularly and to do at least one half marathon every year.  But then I started to think clearly. Actually, there are bigger issues than whether or not I can run a half marathon to deal with. My Nana on my Dad’s side had a string of failed hip replacements, which had started relatively young. What if I needed a hip replacement? What if I had some form of cancer in my bone? Yes, dramatic I know, but we all think these things sometimes, right? How stupid would I feel if I’d left it for a year and it turned out to be something serious?

Bad leg, Painkillers, Doctor, Hospital

So I went to the doctor. And she thought it was the tendons (so that’s three different explanations), but wasn’t sure what to do about it, so referred me to a hip clinic at the hospital. She also said I should take ibuprofen three times a day for at least two weeks and as  long as four weeks.

Then it got even worse. For five consecutive mornings I woke up even earlier and in even more pain. When I saw 3.58am, I knew something had to change. It was eight days until my hospital appointment. In desperation, I gave up running again.

I had an Xray at the hospital, which revealed nothing unusual. The consultant said I had a good range of movement, which I knew anyway. I’m still fit, strong, flexible and fast for a woman of my age. A woman of any age, to be honest. So it’s not my bones and it’s not my muscles.

His best guess is that it’s a nerve problem and, if that’s the case, I will be referred to the ‘pain team’. Which sounds a lot like it will never be cured, only relieved. It sounds a lot like I will never get a full night’s sleep again. I have an MRI scan today, which should hopefully shed more light on it.

I’m still in pain, I’m still waking up early, but I’m running  again. I figure that if it doesn’t make it any worse, I might as well do the thing I love.

Author: Sarah Mummy

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15 Comments

  1. Ouch! Over a year sounds so painful. I was kind of hoping it was a trapped nerve that they could fix quickly. Hope the MRI sheds a lot of light on it for you today.

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    • It sounds a long time when I say it out loud! Thanks, it will definitely be a step in the right direction and hopefully it will finally be sorted soon.

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  2. Very ouchy! Horrible to start the day in pain even if it eases after that. At least it’s not stopping you running. Hopefully, you’ll have some proper answers soon, so you know how to deal with it.

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    • Thank you, I really hope so! It would nice to wake up of my own accord rather than because my leg hurt!

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    • Thanks very much, so do I! x

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  3. Oh, you poor, poor thing. I hope it went okay. By now you should be home and I can tell you how much I hate MRIs. They are truly the most awful that I have to go through. I have worse memories of them than my emergency c-section. I hope you’re okay xxx

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    • Thanks! It was pretty horrible and I did freak out a bit, but I survived it! x

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  4. Poor you. Waking at that time every day would kill me (or rather, my kids as I’d be barking at them all the time). If it IS nerve damage, suggest acupuncture to the ‘pain team’. Its becoming increasingly common for physios to do this, so check it out. Hope you get some relief soon….Sx

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    • That’s interesting, thank you! I will remember to do that. x

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  5. Thanks very much. It hasn’t been great, but I’ve just learned to embrace the early mornings!

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  6. Hi Sarah sorry for the late comment. I’ve been following this today and thinking of you. Well done or getting through that. If anything it helps just to know you/they are looking into it properly. Like the others, i really hope you find out what’s causing it. I can only suggest an Osteopath who might help release whatever is stuck and then accupuncture. Know it’s all money though!

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    • Thanks very much. I will see what the NHS come up with and if they don’t resolve it I will look into an osteopath and acupuncture. I know it’s a silly thing to say as there’s nothing more important than good health, but I have been reluctant to spend money on it!

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  7. Sorry for the delay on this (busy new year and all that!). I had undiagnosed pain in my ankle for the best part of 10 years. Scans and operations to free up nerves didn’t sort anything until a particularly intrusive operation found a long term fracture in the ankle and pinned it back together. Anyway after months of physio and strength building and numerous relapses with ligament strains etc I finally got back to a fitness and strength I was happy with……. with one problem, it still hurt. A lot. No reason, if I did exercise or if I didn’t it really didn’t change. I exercised, I strengthened, I rested it just didn’t matter.

    I went back to the physio who happened to be different from the one I had seen during my recuperation. She suggested accupuncture and did it there and then, 8am on a Saturday morning. I woke up on Sunday morning without any pain at all for the first time in 10 years, I cannot explain the difference it made to my life. For the past 4 years my work medical had picked up a ‘physical stress’ that was impacting my physiology and well being. This year it hasn’t, its gone.

    I have had accupuncture since on my back and again it was close to a miracle cure when I had badly torn the muscles and prolapsed a disc. full on 10/10 pain to next to nothing following just 6 or so needles being put into your skin that you hardly feel. Incredible. I cannot recomment it enough.

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    • Thank you, Glenn! Really appreciate this.
      Can’t believe you suffered for that long and after a horrible operation it still wasn’t any better, but it’s amazing to hear about the acupuncture. I’ve heard people mention it before, but they’re not people who have actually done it. Once I’ve had the results of my MRI, I will definitely look into acupuncture. Thanks.

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