groin pain standing one leg
groin pain running
high hamstring pain
pelvic stress fracture symptoms
pubic ramus stress fracture
what’s an inferior pubic ramus
These are just some of the terms I searched when trying to figure out my injury. One of my hopes for this blog is that it will find its way into the Google search results for other women who are experiencing these symptoms and don’t know what’s going on. From the stories I read on the Runner’s World, Let’s Run, Cool Running forums, and other blogs, this injury is misdiagnosed fairly frequently, and being informed before you even see a sports medicine physician can help ensure you receive the proper diagnosis, which can completely change your prognosis for healing.
What is a stress fracture?
“Stress fractures are tiny cracks in a bone. Stress fractures are caused by the repetitive application of force, often by overuse — such as repeatedly jumping up and down or running long distances. Stress fractures can also arise from normal use of a bone that’s been weakened by a condition such as osteoporosis.
Stress fractures are most common in the weight-bearing bones of the lower leg and foot. Track and field athletes are particularly susceptible to stress fractures, but anyone can experience a stress fracture. If you’re starting a new exercise program, for example, you may be at risk if you do too much too soon.” (from Mayo Clinic)
What is a pelvic stress fracture?
Pelvic stress fractures are not common and occur almost exclusively in females, primarily in runners and women who are training in the army. From what I read, pelvic stress fractures account for about 3% of all stress fractures. Although, for all you know, I made that number up.
There are several locations in the pelvic bone that are susceptible to stress fractures. Most commonly, they seem to occur in the pubic rami. Mine is almost exactly where the fracture is shown in the lower (“inferior”) pubic ramus below.
How do you get a pelvic stress fracture?
- Wrong shoes
- Hard running surface
- Being a recovering couch potato
- Too much running
- Too little rest
- Not enough cross-training
- Not enough strength
- Not enough flexibility
- Lady parts
- Osteoporosis or osteopenia
- Calcium and/or vitamin D deficiency
- Swallowing your gum or not eating your broccoli as a kid (just guessing)
I did not have any idea that I was overtraining. If I could run it, I did. And going from running 3 miles at a time to running 6 miles at a time did not seem like a huge leap. But going from running 0 miles in January to 28 miles in February to 68 miles in March to 85 miles in April to 98 miles in May was too much too fast.
What are the symptoms of a pelvic stress fracture?
The symptoms vary for each person. If there were symptoms that developed slowly over time, I missed them. Here’s what I experienced:
- Tight hamstrings (unusual)
- Sensation like I was developing a UTI (not a UTI)
- Pain in groin and adductors
- Pain in fold of glute/top of leg
- Couldn’t stand on one leg to put pants on, wash foot, or get in and out of shower
- Pain when walking
- Pain when sitting
- Pain in groin/back of leg when lifting and carrying a laundry basket
- Pain subsided with rest but never went away
- Very clearly pain in bone, not muscle
- I have not been able to find a painful spot on palpating the area
I walked on my injury for three weeks, during which my body compensated by changing my gait which resulted in pain in my gluteal muscles and tfl (outside of my hip).
For those following along at home, the symptom that clued me into the fact that I might have a stress fracture was not being able to stand on the leg of the injured side when putting pants on. The other common test is the hop test. If you can’t painlessly hop on the injured leg, you might have a stress fracture.
Here’s the biggest takeaway I learned: Go to the doctor. If you’re informed, you’ll know what symptoms to emphasize, what questions to ask, and what kinds of tests to ask for. And if they give you an ice pack and some ibuprofen and tell you to RICE without doing any tests, find a different doctor.
So what happens now?
Rest. If you need me, I’ll be on the couch catching up on Orange Is the New Black.