The Recovery Plan

In my last post, I promised an update on how my appointment at the Spaulding National Running Center went. Aside from Dr. T being 90 minutes late, it was rather uneventful. I expected to get some wild diagnosis, be sent for all sorts of imaging, etc. Basically, I was hoping for a groundbreaking discovery regarding my pain.


The diagnosis was exactly what I’ve been hearing for over a year – left hamstring pain due to overuse. The only thing different this doctor had to say, was that it has been going on for far too long.


Don’t get me wrong – he was compassionate in his delivery. I was just honestly hoping for him to say, “It sounds like xyz [something I’d never been told before] and the treatment is 123 [something I’ve never tried before.”

The latter did happen. He told me there were three possible treatment options for this injury:

  1. Cortisone injections. It’s a quick solution that carries big risks to an area as large as a hamstring, one of which is damage to the sciatic nerve. Therefore, not an option for me.
  2. PRP injections. Platelet-rich plasma involves my own blood being taken, then separated (much like donating platelets), and then the platelets are injects through a syringe into my hamstring. Again, not an option due to the large surface area of my injury.
  3. Shockwave therapy. I still don’t have a ton of info as to how this works (he explained it but I was tired and that was 3 weeks ago now), so I need to do some research. BUT I agreed to it after he referenced a study’s results where 85% of runners with hamstring injuries returned to running pain-free after 4-12 sessions of shockwave therapy.

In the 90 minutes that I was staring at the walls waiting for the doctor, I kept seeing patients go into exam rooms and come out just a few minutes later. I also kept hearing this loud, fast, ticking sound. I couldn’t figure out what it was and it was really intriguing. As I was leaving the appointment, I put 2 and 2 together and realized what I was seeing and hearing was patients getting the shockwave treatment.

Dr. T told me that we would initially plan for 4 sessions – once a week for 4 weeks, and then see if I need more sessions (he said up to 12 might be needed). The only caveat is that insurance doesn’t cover this treatment yet, so I’d be on the hook for the $625 fee. Fortunately that covers all the sessions I need, whether that’s 4 or 12 or anywhere in between.

Honestly, I was ready to sign on the dotted line for anything that did not involve surgery or pills or more PT (mostly because PT is a huge time commitment and was also going to be start being a big financial commitment after my deductible reset on January 1). I was hoping he’d say, “oh just buy these insoles for your running shoes” or “wear this KT tape” or “let me snip this one muscle fiber in an outpatient procedure” but these 4 sessions sound like a great compromise and I am always excited to try out new medical devices/interventions.

I was initially going to begin the shockwave therapy on January 4 but I realized I needed one additional paycheck before I forked over $625, so I’m starting on January 18 instead. I went to PT three final times before Christmas, where Ben was totally down with my plan to continue PT through December, then focus on shockwave therapy after the New Year. Dr. T actually suggested this, but was a tad vague about whether I should pause on PT. Either way, I can’t be running around to multiple shockwave and PT appointments every few days, so my decision was kind of made for me. And even though I’m delaying the shockwave for another 2 weeks, I think it’s OK to focus on regular workouts for the next 2 weeks instead of going back to PT and dealing with my deductible when I have that big $625 payment coming up.

Adulting is hard. But being injured is worse, so I’m coping.


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