In a nutshell, the labrum is a piece of cartilage that is formed like a cup and helps to hold the head of the upper arm bone (humerus) in place. It's tissue that is not very well vascularized (not a lot of blood vessels), therefore healing can be a very slow (aka frustrating) process.
Anyway, I fell during a race on Thanksgiving day, landed with an outstretched right arm (naturally, since I'm right handed) and apparently, landed with enough force that it jammed the ball of the humerus into the shoulder socket and caused a tear. Ow!
Because the pain was not going away after well over a week, I scheduled an appointment with an orthopedic surgeon who immediately sent me in for an MRI to see exactly what was going on. The orthopedic surgeon has diagnosed me with a torn labrum and some bursitis. He then sent me to physical therapy to see how much healing could take place before he/we will consider more invasive options, i.e. surgery.
Yesterday was my fourth physical therapy session and I must confess, I'm trying to do my exercises regularly, but I'm just not feeling like there's really much improvement in the condition. There's a sharp pain deep in the shoulder that seems to get worse when I reach behind my back or across my body. It's been almost two months since my injury occurred and it's starting to worry me a bit that things just don't seem to be healing. I'll try to keep everyone apprised of my progress.
In the meantime, fortunately, there are a few bright spots in this whole adventure:
- I had my first MRI... most people are probably thinking "this woman is crazy!" But, seriously, I'm not really claustrophobic, and they braced my shoulder with lots of big pieces of foam. It might be the best my shoulder has felt since the accident! Plus, the tunnel of the MRI was nice and warm and cozy. I was just about on the verge of sleep while in there. It was pretty relaxing for me. (OK, a side note here - my dad, as a medical physicist, used to do installations and calibrations on MRI's... so I kind of knew what to expect... it's not a medical machine that was outside of my realm of experiences even though I'd never actually had one myself.)
- My friends, family, and even my health care providers have been incredibly supportive of me and have encouraged my continued running. My orthodpedic surgeon was even a little surprised, but very pleased when I told him that I was still running despite it causing a bit of discomfort in my shoulder (that was initially, the pain has subsided enough from the initial inflammation stage that it really doesn't bother my shoulder to run any longer... at least not too much!)
- Physical therapy has been a good experience for me. My therapist is a pretty cool guy who also happens to run, so we can talk about different races that we've each run. He is great about taking all of my issues and concerns seriously and doesn't make me feel like my injury is a little insignificant thing (which, let's be honest, in the grand scheme of all things that could have possibly happened to me, really this is pretty minor). Finally, he has a cool collection of funky Hawaiian shirts... it's always a surprise to see what he'll be wearing each time I go in for therapy.
Of course, all of this is not to make light of my situation, but I really do try to make a concerted effort to adopt a glass half-full mentality. This kind of thinking doesn't necessarily come naturally to me, but in the long run, I think it's much more productive and mentally healthy for me. And after all, health, not just physical, but also mental health is the reason I started running (and keep running) in the first place.
Miles: 7.31 (new personal distance record)
Pace: 4.9 mph