Alright, I said I wasn’t going to rant about this too much, but this post is not a rant, rather a summary of info I have found which has been really useful and may be useful for other people.
Anyway, I found out last year that my hip kind of sucked, and I had a lazy ass; literally J. So some cool badass dudes trimmed away the offending part of my femur, I suffered for a month or two of living like a senior, and then all my problems in life were supposed to be cured. Cool eh! Unfortunately, the hip surgery did not improve any of my knee, ankle or foot pain, nor did it relieve my numb toes problem. I’m not really a mess, it was just a tough year. I spent the next 12 months going from knee guy to knee guy, getting mixed diagnoses and a lot of head scratching. It turns out there really isn’t anything mechanical wrong with the knee, which is good news, but they also have no idea why the outside lower section of my knee hurt, why my ankle hurt, or why a big portion of my foot was numb despite extensive tests. In comes google!
Now, I have to say, in general, I honestly believe medical professionals are better educated and trained to diagnose problems, and help people recover from injuries. Problem is, I keep spending two months waiting for the next appointment, so, well yea, everyone googles. Also, I had all of the serious, mechanical, ligament and bone related things ruled out. So while you can maybe learn from my experience, I also think people should embrace their local medical professionals! I also go see the hip guys on Monday, and will ask them to refer me to a Sports Medicine doctor to sort out if this is really the problem; another important point, each medical specialist really does have a reason they aren’t just extraneous people :-).
I Anyway, this helpful image caught my eye on google. It highlighted exactly where I had pain, I mean exactly. You might say, oh if your foot was numb it can’t possibly be a muscle spasm at the other end of your leg? But, it can! If it’s a serious muscle spasm, it gets too tight to unspasm itself even with heat and rest, especially if an inbalance on the opposing muscle group keeps it over tight, over worked, or underworked. Also, the connecting muscles down the leg cross over the head of the fibula, where it could be temporarily pinching the peroneal nerve when I sit too long. Mine is more characterized by the red and green pain, but there is some pink tossed in for fun.
So, okay, maybe i googled myself a diagnosis, what now?
What I have been finding very painful and helpful has been using a rubber ball for myofascial release in the deep muscles around the head of the femur. I had been using a foam roller, but it tends to mash things together and for smaller collections of muscles or narrowing down your focus I would recommend a ball. Its let me get at some of the small muscles shown in these screen shots below, and HOLY JEBUS were they sensitive, I couldn’t even lean my butt against the ball against a wall! I felt like I was onto something
So the muscles I try to target are Gluteus minimus, periformis, and gluteus medius. When I run, they tend to bunch up into a ball right behind the head of the femur and up around towards the illiac crest and sometimes like I have a big wad of something in my back pockets when I set down. Also, I just found this really cool video with good stretches for the hip and ways to avoid letting your body sike you out of doing it well. I recommend for runners!
So, I’ll see what the hip guys think, but short version:
1. Hips are sexy and SUPER IMPORTANT!! If you have knee pain, foot pain, or back pain don’t forget to get your hips checked.
2. Stretching and mobilisation are about as important as strength training.
3. Something small can really cause a lot of problems.
Rubber balls, foam rollers, stretching and mobilisation should be core components of training programs!
Check out these cool websites for more info:
But see a doc!