A tale of two practitioners

I’ve heard plenty of stories before about doctors who tell runners to just stop running when they present with an injury. But really, I thought that was a bit of an urban myth. I mean, are there really doctors who are that insensitive or who don’t wan to help patients get back to what they love?

Apparently, yes, these doctors do exist. I had my first encounter with one the other day. I mentioned on Monday that I was going to see an orthopedic doc about my ITB, potentially chatting with him about a cortisone shot. In the past, I’ve always seen doctors at Union Memorial Hospital in Baltimore because they have a great sports medicine department there. This always requires at least a 1/2 day, however, so this time, I went to someone local. Big mistake.

The doctor’s assistant took down my information, part of which included how many miles I run per week. I mentioned that when I’m training for a marathon, I hit around 60/week. When the doctor walked in, the first thing he said–not hello, not anything–was “If you run 60 miles a week, you’re going to get stress fractures.” What? It took all my restraint not to slug him. I told him we weren’t getting off to a very good start. The appointment just went downhill from there. Sorry, but the guy was an insensitive bozo.

Compare that to my appointment yesterday with Nic Ebright, who was recommended to me by a couple of fellow athletes. Nic is a local massage therapist who really knows his stuff. He’s also a runner and triathlete and understands what his clients are going through. He goes above and beyond the normal massage.

When I walked in, Nic immediately rattled off that he does some research on each client before meeting them. He knew I wrote a blog, he knew I’d been running for many years, and he knew I was a coach. Nic took the time to get my background, and the history of my injury. He worked on my muscles with a combination of massage, ART, and stretching. He noticed where I was inflexible and gave me recommendations on how to work on these areas–recommendations that no one has delivered to me before. He even encouraged me to get out and try a run in the next couple of days. In short, he was every runner’s dream practitioner.

So Saturday I’ll try another run. I’m not convinced this one appointment did the trick for me, but it was a big step in the right direction. Thank you, Nic. To the doctor I saw–not even going to voice my sentiments!

Don’t miss my giveaway! There’s $75 worth of sports nutrition to be had here and very few people have entered. Chris K, did you put a hex on my giveaways because too many of them have been girlie?

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  1. Matty O says

    Love the new look for the blog :) haha!

    OH MAN, DO NOT get me started on idiot doctors. I have absolutely zero respect for doctors. ALL OF them. I hate to classify the good ones in the same category but I have clear cut reasons.

    Very good restraint on not slugging him. Also happy you got a logical person to deal with for your therapy.

    Good Luck!

    Do you do Yoga? This has helped my ITB a lot. Well, that and stop running for a month :(

  2. Kate says

    It's unfortunate that there are doctors out there like that. I hope these types of MDs haven't crushed too many runners' dreams. I also hope that people seek a second opinion or find a new doctor if they hear something like this.

    Thank goodness for Nic and his understanding. I am glad you found him.

    On my way to enter your giveaway!

  3. Heather -Momma Running Amok says

    next month will be the 2 year anniversary of my last knee surgery (I have had 6 or 7 sue to soccer injuries) and the doctor who did my surgery bluntly told me that in a mater of 2 to 3 years I would no longer to able to bike up hills or run up hills and in about 5 years I would not be able to do any running. AND that the arthritis in my knees were so bad he was shocked to see that I was 28 (at the time) and not a 70 year old. …well I am running a marathon next week and my knees are still on my body. Some people just have no bedside manners!

  4. Barbie says

    I am so glad that there is light at the end of the tunnel. And I agree some doctors can be such jerks – they obviously don't seem to have their pt's best interests at heart.

  5. Runners Fuel says

    I've only had to see a dr. one time for my injury. I loved her. She also recommended that I keep running and to try a few machines at the gym to workout my knee. I know I don't have the same injury as you, but I know it feels nice when the dr. is on your side!

  6. Heather says

    That's just sad. what an arrogant person that doctor must be to say what he said before knowing anything else about you! Glad that you found such a great massage therapist who really knows his stuff. I actually had an obgyn tell me that I shouldn't run…based on nothing, I didn't even ask his opinion, it was a routine checkup and I mentioned that I was training for a marathon. Needless to say I have a new obgyn.

  7. Julie says

    Glad you found someone that was NICER!! and at least took the time to get to know you before spouting off at the mouth.

    Hope your Saturday run is fantastic!

  8. Cynthia O'H says

    He sounds just like my Chiro – an Ironman and my go-to guy. It makes such a huge difference. I'm so glad you found Nic.

  9. Kovas says

    Good news on trying the run. Know another good place to run? That's right, California in April. You read my mind.

  10. Kim says

    My mom and I are each struggling with varicose veins. We each see different doctors. Mine is pro-running, hers is anti-running. It results in heated arguments between us. My doctor rolls her eyes when I tell her about my mom's doctor. It annoys me that there are people out there seeing her doctor, being told not to run. ARG!!! He's a guy I would slug if I could.

  11. Running and living says

    Ortho docs are horrible in general. No patient skills at all, and they think everything is operable. Glad you did not get the cortizone shot. Those are like strong doses of aspirin, they take the pain away but don't do anything for the healing; plus, they weaken the tendon and you don;t want that. Yay for running and for Nic!

  12. Dash says

    I can give you stories. I really learned to listen to my body a long time ago or I'd be a very different person if I listened to the doctors I've been to. Glad you found someone who is good, I may have to see if he's close to me, may be worth the trip!

  13. Johann says

    Now you also know who to see next time. I never go to a doctor isn't a runner. Luckily my brother and dad are doctors as well. All the best for that run!

  14. marathonmaiden says

    i've been very lucky that i've been able to find good understanding docs. i go out of my way (literally) to see people who understand and get sports medicine

  15. Jason says

    Good luck with the next run and I'm glad that you found a Dr who understands your needs.

    As athletes we need teams just like the pros to take care of us and you now have one on your side.

    Get 'er done.

  16. Laurie says

    I'm glad you got to see someone who didn't automatically write you off. That's so cool that he researched you first. I hope Saturday's run goes well for you.

  17. Evolving Through Running says

    Nic sounds too good to be true. I've had a mixed bag with doctors and therapists, but none have been so insensitive to my desire to run to simply suggest that I am doomed to injury if I run a lot. I've heard plenty of stories of those who have had that experience.

    I'm crossing my fingers for you for this weekend. Hopefully moving in the right direction.

  18. Jess @ Blonde Ponytail says

    What great news!! I hope you continue to see these results!!!

    Thinking of you on your next run!!!

  19. ShutUpandRun says

    Yep, you know I've been the victim of this sort of thing too. Its' very discouraging. So glad you found this Nic guy. Sounds like a dream.

  20. amy says

    This is exactly what I went through a few weeks ago! I believe his exact words were, "marathons are not physiologic." Seriously. Oh, and that I'm old and had a bad history teacher. If you hadn't said that he was local I'd wonder if we had gone to the same guy.

    Great to hear that you found someone good!

  21. J says

    I am so over insensitive doctors! Why do they have to be like that! I am glad you found someone good and I hope that you can run pain free!

  22. Jeff - DangleTheCarrot says

    Really I bet you wouldn't even cared if he was an insensitive asshole if he took the time to ask you a few questions?

    You know he maybe right. 60mpw may cause stress factors … in some people. He needed to ask how long you have been running, how long it took you to ramp up to the volume, how much rest time after events do you take. Get some background before you make a blanket statement like that – for all he knows you could have been freaking Ryan Hall sitting there!

    Glad you didn't let this ass push you around – good for you!

  23. Pam says

    I absolutely loved my sports ortho I was seeing before the marathon. Not once did he ever give me even the inkling of an idea that he doubted my ability to rehab and complete the marathon. He was simply awesome.

  24. Jim ... 50after40 says

    Dr. "A" has probably never a mile … kinda tough to diagnose what you don't know. Dr. "B" sounds quality. Best wishes with your run!

  25. Lisa says

    I just don't understand doctors like the first one you saw. It's like they're looking for an easy (for them) way out cause they don't want to spend the time necessary to figure out what's really happening – like Nic did. I think I might make the trip down to Baltimore next time I'm injured to see Nic! Glad you found him. Good luck with your run!

  26. Michelle says

    So glad you had the appointment with Nic! That dr you saw is exactly why so many people I know who run avoid drs! Keeping my fingers crossed for your run.

  27. Teamarcia says

    What a difference a doc makes huh?
    I hope the second one can work some magic for you so you're up and running pain-free very soon!

  28. Char says

    I think some doctors put conditions in the 'too hard basket'. I had one doctor tell me to give up breast-feeding after yet another bout of mastitis. One visit to a lactation consultant fixed all my issues. The hard thing is finding just the right person for the job.

  29. Colleen says

    Ugh… that sucks! Glad that you were able to get some sensable answers from Nic! Sounds like the second opinion is always good!

  30. Adrienne says

    Sending good vibes your way! :) There's so much more to the running lifestyle than just running… Now about these shin splints…

  31. Jill says

    My ob/gyn said to me one day, when I told her I had some hydration problems, "What are you going to do when you just pass out and die on a long run….." Hum. This is the same doctor, btw, who is screwing up my insurance and everyone denying me. Gotta love her!!!!

    Fingers crossed for a great run Saturday!

  32. Aimee says

    I'm sorry you had to deal with that lame doctor, but I'm glad you found Nic. He seems like a great person and hopefully will help you get back to running sooner rather than later!

  33. AM-GoalsfortheWeek says

    Hi there!
    sorry about the doc appt. and the massage therapist one sounds good. I know you're not asking, but I think getting a second opinion from a dif doctor would be beneficial. i know it's ez for me to say so in bloggyland, but that's my thought;-)

  34. Ewa says

    Some doctors should not be paid for their services. For some reason medicine is the only area where we pay whether we are satisfied with service or not. Gosh, we pay even if we don't receive the right treatment.
    So glad to hear you found someone you can trust and work with.

  35. Chris K says

    My PT promotes active recovery. Your prizes were gender neutral, but I really raised the bar with my Manly prizes. I can't wait to start my Blogging Mom Bikini Contest.

  36. Caratunk Girl says

    Seriously, the Dr telling you to just stop is not a myth. They are so used to dealing with (excuse me) overweight and out of shape people, they don't know what to do with people like us who come in with self-induced injuries (over use, call it what you want). It is a HUGE pet peeve of mine, and I swear, Maine is the worst for this, but maybe not.

    I am SO HAPPY you found someone who is willing to work with you to get you running again soon. Best of luck.

  37. Mike Russell says

    Great post. I tried to explain the fact that different people will give different diagnosis depending on the framework of their experience to a MD friend and he chewed me out.

    I am going to send him a link to this post.

  38. La Historiadora de Moda says

    Ugh! I'm sorry to read about your experience with the doc. I'm happy, though, that you seem to have found a more viable and reasonable alternative. I hope the knee mends quickly.

  39. Julie D. says

    No kidding! experienced the same thing with my injury recently. Sounds like you hit the jackpot with Nic!! Very encouraging. Wish there was a Nic in Portland, Or. :)