Second opinion on MRI reveals stress fracture in my pelvis, not my hip. No running for 3 to 4 months.

April 21 update: After a month of no running, in early April the doctor gave me the ok to run every other day. The first few miles of most of my runs were terrible, due to stiffness, but I’d generally feel little to no pain in the latter parts of the run. I’m up to about 20 miles a week now and the main problems is that I’m out of shape, having gained 10 pounds in the month I was off.


The headline says it all, right?

Last week, I got an MRI and my physical therapist told me it was a stress reaction in my hip and said no running for a month.

Today (Wednesday the 9th), I got a second opinion from my new primary care physician, Dr. Mark Hutchens of Texas Sports & Family – this is a guy who deals mainly with athletes. He asked me some questions, poked around some in my groin area and said, matter of factly, “what you have is a stress fracture in your pelvis.”

Me: “Are you sure? How do you know? How much time will I have to miss?” (What a dumb question to ask a doctor, right? What do I mean, ‘Are you sure?’ I guess that’s like asking a cook if he is sure that mayonnaise has egg in it.)

Doc: “I’d say you need complete rest for at least 3 to 4 months, though I’ve seen some stress fractures like the one you have take much longer. Here I can show you the MRI.”

(No more running? I love running, and I really  love running in Austin. You might as well tell me to stop breathing. But I digress.)

The doc pops my MRI on the computer screen and shows me the area of concern. He started talking about swollen bone marrow and all kinds of gobbedly-gook. I’m looking at the film and its clear as day: Yep, its my pelvis, not my hip. Yep, there is some discoloration at the place of the stress fracture.

I told the doc that I’ve had this weird sensation/pain in my groin since, umm, 2008 – three years! – where it hurts to squeeze my legs together, hurts to do situps or any kind of ab work, hurts to roll over in bed, hurts to play with my son while on my knees. I told him about the cramps I get in my inner quads on any run longer than 2 hours (like marathons!). I told him that when I walk up slight inclines, I really have to think about lifting my left leg to help me power up hills.

(Since 2008, I’ve run six marathons. And none have gone well. If you’ve read my blog, you’ve read that I tend to start getting cramps at Mile 15 and things just get worse and worse. I don’t cramp up so much in training – maybe because I don’t taper and I dont give my hip/groin/pelvis enough time to get stiff like they get in the days leading up to a race.)

He said most, if not all of my problems stem from my pelvis injury. He said that probably explains why my quad muscles cramp up so much when they get tired. Then he wondered why I took so long to get this problem fixed.

I told him I just thought I was tired and things would get better with a good taper.

“Well,” he said, “I guess you’ll have plenty of time to taper now.”

17 thoughts on “Second opinion on MRI reveals stress fracture in my pelvis, not my hip. No running for 3 to 4 months.”

  1. Kevin, that really sucks, but at least you know why you were having problems. Hopefully you can find some ways to keep your fitness level up and come back from this break ready to crush some more races. Take care.

  2. I think it's fine to ask a doc for "proof"/explanation of his diagnosis. Although I'm sure he was about to show you anyway.

    Dude this sucks!! BUT at the same time, if it means healing and coming back withOUT all the mishaps… Well worth it. It all sounds plausible as to why you have had your battles with 26.2.

    So what will you do in the meantime?

  3. Derek..thanks.. guess I'll have plenty of time to get well….

    Linday..Well, he showed me the MRI which showed the stress fracture…depressing to say the least…
    What will I do in the meantime? Ive already got a few offers from people to aquajog with me.. so I guess that. Bike. weight lift. Boring stuff, really, but I guess I gotta do it to stay in shape….I think it will help and im about 85 percent sure this injury has hindered me in marathons. The 14 percent is Ive probably not had the right nutrition, hydration plan before a marathon, with the other 1 percent being mental.

  4. I have the identical symptoms and finaiily had an MRI. ThE radiologist indicated a stress reaction. I’m going to an orthopedic surgeon to get another opinion.

    I’m a triathlete training for Ironman Florida. In late March I noticed a feeling in my pelvic region while running. I kept training and racing. Then after a 70.3 mi Tri race in early May the pain got bad. I rested for two weeks and went for a run and no problems. Then it came back. Had an MRI last week and bam, Stress reaction. No Tri training and no IM Florida. Swimming hurts and running is out.

    Cause is unclear but I suspect a combination of weak core, flutes and tight hamstrings led to the injury. I suspect the tight muscles combined with repetitive movement aggravated the pubic bone at the point where my groin muscles attach to the pubic rami.

    I’m resting and going crazy. And it has been two weeks of solid rest. I’ve added six lbs so have to cut my calories.

    How are you doing and are you healed?

    1. I was diagnosed with 3 stress reactions in my pelvic bones over the summer as well. I haven’t ran since July and it’s so depressing. I am slowly getting better but it really sucks. I have a lot of stiffness in the muscles after laying down. How are you feeling? Are you getting any better

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