What I've Learned Since Starting Physical Therapy

Like many college students, I’m a high school athlete turned college club sport athlete. In high school, I was a setter in volleyball and catcher in softball. Since starting college at SLU, I’ve joined the Club Rowing team, which has involved considerably more cardio and strength training due to the nature of the sport. Rowing is a sport that demands you to train your cardio for months so your body can handle the intense demands of racing. Throughout the duration of my high school sports, in particular my last two years, I noticed pain in my hips after games and practices, but I assumed it was simply just fleeting pains from being an athlete. However, it usually went away by the end of the week after rest and ice. 


When I began to train for the rowing team, I noticed an increase in the amount of hip pain I felt after practice, but I just assumed rowing involved more usage of my hip flexors than I was used to. In particular, at the end of my training season last spring, I noticed more hip pain than I had ever before. This season, I found myself in a position where I had a week to train for a 5k race. During that time, I put my body through some workouts that it probably wasn’t ready for and I ended up in extreme pain the entire time during and for days after the race. I decided I should probably get a screen from a physical therapist to see what the issue is. 


The diagnostic process is a long one, which is not completely over. At present, I am on week 2/4 of physical therapy after being referred by a Hip Orthopedic Specialist in the area. The diagnosis at the moment is either tendonitis, a bilateral hip tear or a combination of both. Physical therapy was necessary for either diagnosis, which will conclude with an MRI to see the soft tissue in my hips. From physical therapy, I learned I have a strong anterior hip rotation and this would contribute to both my high school and college sports contributing to inflammation in that area. In the few weeks of physical therapy, I learned that I should perform certain exercises with my hips turned out due to the rotation of my hips affecting my range of motion. 


From a few weeks of physical therapy, I’ve learned valuable information on my personal anatomy and how that will affect my future fitness. I’ve learned that I shouldn’t ignore pain that won’t go away. Many athletes continually play through the pain which can end up being much more detrimental in the long run. My point is that pain shouldn’t be ignored and it’s absolutely essential to listen to your body. Slowing down to listen to your pain is a long, rough lesson for many athletes, but I’m glad I started to learn about my own.