The first doctor I saw about my knee pain made the diagnosis that it was ITBS. He prescribed to stop running (my long run was up to a half marathon distance at this point) and to do physical therapy to cure the ITB issue. That didn't work since the PT did nothing except make my hip hurt. A. Lot.
The second doctor I saw said the knee pain was not as serious as the hip pain (he was really a hip guy). Lots of test later my hip pain was under control due to a steroid type injection done while getting setup for am MRI of my hip. The MRI showed that I had FAI, and torn labrum, and degenerative disk disease in my back. The doctor said that I also had a lot of arthritis and a hip replacement was sometime in future. Running would be the worst thing for me.
But there were still many questions. I most likely have had these "issues" for some time but what made it start hurting now? Is there a scenario where I could run again (note I was never a strong runner post high school)? Is surgery the only option - note the surgery would put me on the bench at least a year? Is my athletic career, as loosely defined as possible, entering it's twilight?
So, I found "the" expert with my hip injury and tried to see him at the Hospital for Special Surgry. He pawned me off on a physiatrist to rule out a muscular cause or a lower back (see previously mentioned disk disease). I saw the physiatrist at the Hospital for Special Surgery today.
After having his assistant check me out, the real doctor came in. They bent me like Gumby in a variety of poses to find out what hurt and where. His diagnosis: I do not have ITB. All of my knee pain is from my back. I do have a hip issue but it really doesn't look that bad at this time. I should still see the hip guy about that though since he also said that there is a hip replacement in my future (he estimates 5-10 years). He recommended that the hip discussion should be about how to push the hip replacement off as long as possible to allow technology to advance. He believes that targeted PT on my back will make my knee better. If not, some other sort of shot/MRI would be next up. I can cycle and swim as much as I'd like and whatever intensity I'd like as long as I use common sense. Yoga won't help (won't hurt either). ART won't help (won't hurt either). While running won't hurt my back per se, every bit I run probably makes the hip replacement necessary earlier.
Overall I thought this was the best news I could expect but the main question going through my mind is "Is he right?" The other doctors thought they were right too but then again, I'm not getting better. If I do the back PT and it doesn't work, I'll be in the same condition I am now. If it works, there is the miracle cure I've been looking for.
I'm going to make the appointment with the PT as quickly as possible and the follow up with the hip guru doctor too. Yet another chapter on the road to recovery is starting.