What my butt can tell you about saving your ass

Well, wouldn’t you just know that one of the blog posts I wrote earlier this year would come back to…uh, bite me in the ass.

Late last year in The Sunday Read, I hopelessly ridiculed wrote about a HuffPo article that identified a number of strange runner’s injuries. Among them was “dead butt syndrome.”

You must be kidding! Dead butt syndrome! Like that’s the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever heard. It was worthy of satire mention.

Here’s the amazing thing though: not only does dead butt syndrome actually exist, but one guess as to the current condition I have that’s preventing me from running.

If you said “plantar,” you may now go to the back of the class, put on the dunce’s cap and stand in the corner for an hour.

Plantar is so 2011.

Dead butt syndrome is, of course, the sensational tag media put on an entirely less-than-sexy injury in order to draw jaded readers in – much like what I do here at Sub-three.

At any rate, looks like I’m the butt of the joke now, except I’m not laughing. Damn thing hurts, truth be told –but only when I run.

Pa-DUM! Think that’s funny? I’m here all week, folks!

ANYWAY, the current opinion is I have a muscle strain of my glute medius or, as I like to tell people, essentially a pain in the butt.

It’s not so funny, though.  I ran 10 km Tuesday night, almost all of it in pain and then hobbled around for a day after. And I’m watching my spring marathon steadily vanish.

But enough about me. That’s not why you read this blog. Rather, you want to gain insight and first-hand knowledge into the world of running.

Say, why do you read this blog again?

Of course, no one is a better doctor and more skilled at self-diagnosis than an injured runner. Thank heavens for Google, which is where I found an article written in 2010 about – wait for it – dead butt syndrome. And in the New York Times no less! So it must be true!

Jen Miller, writing about her gluteus medius tendinosis in the Times, appears to have quoted her doctor, who coined the improbable phrase. She describes the injury very well and I won’t repeat her at length here, but instead encourage you to read her witty and very well-written article: http://nyti.ms/faQIgC

Suffice to say, that left untreated a muscle tear quickly becomes chronic, building up scar tissue that forms to try and protect the muscle against further inflammation and damage, but quickly becomes the problem itself, preventing healing.

“For people who have persistent pain, it’s healing gone wrong,” Dr. Bright said. “That gluteus medius isn’t firing the way it’s supposed to. You’re getting an inhibition of the muscle fibers. It’s kind of dead.”

Star Trek fans can probably imagine Bones solemnly looking at a runner’s butt and pronouncing – as he did in so many episodes of the television show – “It’s dead, Jim.”

Apparently, deep tissue massage and strength training will help revive your ass if it’s dead.

Not running, I’ve had time to ponder such weighty topics as “ass zombies,” and “butt afterlife,” but I’ve decided I want my ass to live, to not be a dead hank of meat hanging off my back end. I choose life for my butt! And so should you all.

Strength train. Do squats and lunges. Work on your core. And, most of all, look after your butt.

No one else is going to.

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About subthree

A multiple award-winning journalist, I'm currently a contributing editor with both Canadian Running and Canadian Cycling magazines. My articles have appeared in Explore, Canadian Geographic, enRoute, The National Post, The Globe and Mail, and many other magazines and newspapers. Formerly a competitive cross-country mountain biker, I switched to running in 2006. I've run seven marathons, qualifying for Boston five times (and which I've run once). Generally, I've placed or won in my age group in races, in distances ranging from five and 10 kms to half and full marathons. I've also taught spin classes at a number of leading Eastern Canadian gyms. Sub-three was a 2012 #Runchat finalist for Best Overall Blog.
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6 Responses to What my butt can tell you about saving your ass

  1. Trevor says:

    Yes, but will it prevent you from shaking your money-maker at the local discotheques? Or from sitting on the spin bike for an hour or so?

    • subthree says:

      LOL. Trevor, it feels better after spin, actually – and it’d better because pretty soon I’m teaching four classes a week. Uh, what is this “money-maker” you refer to? lol

  2. Sorry to hear about your “pain in the butt” but at the same time you sure had me laughing. Which is something I haven’t done lately as I am sporting an injury myself. Thankfully, not in my butt though. So I’ll keep doing a bazillion squats knowing now that I am preventing myself from getting a “pain in the butt”. Thanks and hope you heal quickly!

    • subthree says:

      Glad you got a…er, kick out of me making the usual ass out of myself. One of the points in the NY Times piece is the doctor quoted believes numerous lower leg injuries stem from weak glutes, so it behooves us all to do tons of squats. Hope you heal up quickly. It’s so frustrating being unable to do something you love. Thanks for the comment and for reading.

  3. How many volunteers did you get for the deep tissue massage?

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