Thursday, February 10, 2011

Telltale Signs of Wear & Tear

The pool where I swim is one of those places where triathletes gather to train, shoot the breeze, compare performance times and trade war stories.

One of those triathletes is a friend I'll call Wolf. He's about two years older than me and had a hip replacement two years ago and has recovered marvelously. I see him running every now an then at a pretty good clip on the same street  run on, and he is swimming, biking and doing yoga.

Yesterday, I told him about my hip injury from the Tupelo Marathon a year and a half ago, the terrible time I had getting a proper diagnosis, and the steroid injections in my right SI joint that got me back on the road to recovery. Because of my lingering concerns about hip deterioration and thinking one day I might need hip replacement surgery, I asked him what sort of signals he was getting from his body before he needed surgery.

"I broke my leg running the New York City Marathon," he said He'd been running with a hairline fracture that broke clean through and left him laying on the pavement waiting for an ambulance.

The hospital repaired the damage with a bunch of pins, the hip got infected and after several surgeries he had the hip completely replaced.

His hip is fine, he said. Now it's his left knee.

"Sucks getting old," I told him.

We had a laugh about that but it got me thinking. What if I've been running with a hairline or stress fracture and don't even know it? I could be running merrily along when, Pow! My hip breaks, or my femur shatters and down I go. That feeling I had at mile 20 in the Tupelo race sure felt like something snapped.

Stress fractures don't show up on regular x-rays. You would need a PET scan, my chiropractor friend John said over drinks at the pub last night.

I'm sure that's not the case with me, just arthritis from age. As I told Wolf, it sucks getting old.

Which reminds me. Time to sign up for the NYC Marathon.

And now, here's "Duchess" by The Stranglers:

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