Hamstring Surgery – Because There Are No Other Options Left

Plain and simple – I’m a gal that likes options.

Ask Mark. After being together from over 20 years, he can attest that something as simple as choosing a restaurant is hard. I usually want to try a new restaurant. He has certain “favorites”. This has led to some hungry/stressful decisions that have sometimes give us a meal we would rather forget.

Google led me to the following definition for CHOICE as I was creating this blog post –

Choice – an act of selecting or making a decision when faced with two or more possibilities.

It might be hard to believe but, choice has been a big part of my life this Summer. Not in terms of many of my life choices (PSA – people please wear your masks and practice social distancing) but in terms of running.

Since May the hamstring strain was a tear. For years I have had right hamstring problems (thanks Instagram memories for reminding me). I think, however, that the full damage was done during my 2nd Mckirdy Mile time trial in May.

McKirdy Mile #2

The Tear & Treatment

Thinking I was only dealing with a strain I continued to hobble through my daily 6 mile run. After the MRI confirmed the tear I stopped running because 1) I wanted to try and “heal thy hamstring” 2) There were no races and 3) It hurt too dang much.

The Tear

My orthopedic gave me several options – all of which I tried.

First was physical therapy but after my tear diagnosis I knew that I could do my PT exercises at home.  Going to PT would help but not soon after I left to drive home my hamstring would seize up – not fun.

Biking has kept me sane this Summer.

Second I had a cortisone shot injected via fluoroscopic directly into my hamstring – it did not hurt but it did not help either.  I knew that the cortisone shot was more palliative than curative, but after two weeks of no relief I knew that it did not work. Exercise during this time consisted of core work, PT, and daily bike rides (which have saved my sanity this summer).

Making sure everything is injected correctly.

I went back after 3 weeks and my orthopedic said that giving me another shot would not help, so I made the decision to have a PRP (Platelet Right Plasma) injection. My health insurance did not cover this injectcion BUT I had read positive results about treatment of athletes with high (proximal) hamstring tendon injuries. By injecting your own platelets into the hamstring, an inflammation response is elicited to start the healing process. I was told to not exercise for 3 weeks but at this point i was willing to try anything

Hitting the sweet spot

Three weeks of no exercise was tough (I did a lot of gentle walking) but again after 3 weeks not a shred of relief.

Back to the orthopedic at the end of the month I went. He took one look at me and pretty much knew that I had made no improve.

What’s Next – Hamstring Surgery

So dear readers I was left with 2 options – live with the tear or have hamstring surgery,. For me it was not even an option because at this point my injury has affected my activities of daily living. I would love to run again (really that is my ultimate goal) BUT not even being able to sit down for short periods of time without being in pain is no way to live. As Mark said- do you really want to go through the rest of your life feeling like this.

Definitely Not!

I DO feel that my body has failed me. I have done everything that others have done to heal and have not gotten the same result. How I feel now is how I felt in May. BUT as my husband aka running czar has told me time and time again – I had to AT LEAST try every option available to me. I can at least take comfort in that going into surgery.

So yes I am having hamstring surgery – specifically I am having proxmimal hamstring surgery repair on September 29th. The surgeon who performed the labral repair on my left hamstring 3 years earlier will be (hopefully) fixing me again.

Recovery and Beyond

After surgery I will be in a hip immobilizer for 4-6 w. (Please send your reading and TV suggestions). Within that ti me period I will hopefully be able to start physical therapy.

I have read up on recovery times for this type of surgery and it is pretty lengthy but luckily I don’t have anything planned for the foreseeable future. I also know that my surgeon is very cautious, which I know will only with a successful recovery.

So until September 29th I have been trying to remain active and enjoy what remains of the Summer.

Summer Fun!

Some days I feel great, but those are then ones where I am not sitting for long periods of time. I think to myself that I have “healed thy hamstring” only to quickly change my mind after sitting for any length of time.

I would say that I am cautiously optimistic that surgery will help (and I really really hope it does) BUT I have been so let down this Summer that I think at this point I am going to hope for the best and see what happens.

Onward we go—to surgery!

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