I can finally attach a word (or three) to what ails me.
Last week, desperate to find out what was wrong with my messed up gait – and anxious to hear a different voice from the 9 previous phyiscal therapists I’d patronized – I went to a foot and ankle specialist, thinking maybe the root of the problem was in my lower extremeties.
By the end of that visit they had convinced me that I needed some custom orthotics. But after thinking it over for a day, I decided against that form of treatment. I want to fix this problem naturally.
But as luck would have it, the foot and ankle specialist shared space with a physical therapist. He looked at my running form on the treadmill, poked and prodded around my hip and lower leg areas and diagnosed me with the following:
- SI joint dysfunction and internal derangement of the pelvic girdle: Translation – my hips are out of alignment mostly because my SI joint on the left side is not working properly. I’ve had groin pain on the left side since 2008 and I think he told me that its because my SI joint has been pulling on the tendons around my groin area. This might explain how I wound up with a stress reaction in my pelvic bone.
- Piriformis syndrome: Translation – A muscle in my glute/hip region is compressing against my sciatica nerve causing numbness in my butt. Now, here is the thing about that: I don’t have low-back pain, but my right leg always seems to fall asleep when I sit at my desk or when I’m in the John. (Yeah, the John – like the bathroom John.)
- Peroneal muscle weakness: Translation – The muscles in my lower leg above my ankle are very weak, causing me to have a light foot drop (I sometimes stumble when walking – just a step or two every now and then.) Along with my bad hips, this peroneal weakness makes it difficult for me to point my right toe inward when I run and walk.
I’m happy I now know what is wrong with me and what to do to fix it.
The therapist who diagnosed all this, the 11th one I’ve seen for my issues, figures the best way to get me running again is not to do just strengthening and stretching exercises like many of the other therapists.
But he is also providing aggressive massage therapy, trigger point, and electronic stimulation with heat. Though I’m confident that this form of treatment is the way to go, I won’t get too excited yet. I came out of my initial visits with some of the other therapists thinking I’d found the miracle doctor only to be letdown a few sessions later. But at least this guy is speaking my language, addressing each of my maladies and telling me – scientifically and in layman’s terms – why my right leg zigs when it’s supposed to zag.
So hopefully, therapist No. 11 turns out to be the last.