”Darlene” is a 20-year-old sophomore in a particularly challenging major and she uses running as an important stress reducer in her life. She also had a history of running injuries
that plagued her through high school. She had been a cheerleader in high school and she felt that had contributed to her running problems. Before this injury she had been running injury-free for over a year
, was racing 5Ks, and was starting to beat her dad.
After a harder-than-planned training run, Darlene developed left-sided hip pain. The pain persisted for months but was never disabling. She was in Stage 4 as she was using prescription medication to run. She had gone to another PT for three weeks with no benefit. That PT referred her to a hip specialist who recommended that she have a hip arthrogram. She found this test to be surprising painful. She was told she had a torn labrum in her hip and would need to have surgery. This sent her into a panic; the hip test had been painful enough, and she had watched her cheerleading friends recover from difficult surgeries. A college friend and runner suggested that she get a second opinion from me.
On examination, I found that Darlene had pain on the back and outside of her left hip with stiffness and weakness. I told her these findings were consistent with runner’s butt, which is the adverse effect of dysfunctional running on the buttock region, not a torn labrum. I explained that running rarely tears a hip labrum, although falling does. She said she had not fallen since cheerleading, so I advised her to do PT with me and not to have the surgery unless she fell and suffered disabling pain that does respond to non-surgical care.