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Anyone With Knowledge Of Muscles Want To Weigh In?

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  • Anyone With Knowledge Of Muscles Want To Weigh In?

    Okay, I have been back riding regularly for about 5 or 6 weeks. When I say "regularly", I mean 20-30 minutes, maybe 3-4 times a week.

    I had surgery last October to repair damage to my neck at C4-C5-C6 and now have a three level fusion. Due to the pain and loss of strength related to the problem, I hadn't ridden since July of last year.

    Anyway, I feel wonderful and my body seems to be working better than ever. I do have a history of back problems and the surgery in October was the third time I have had spinal cord impingement from herniated discs. The first time was in 1995, and that left me with severe cauda equina syndrome. I can't feel my bum, the backs of my thighs or my right calf. Both my feet are also numb. I basically have a permanent caudal block.

    So, I take dressage lessons. On my own horse. One of the accommodations I make in my riding is to tie the stirrup irons to the girth. One of the issues with the cauda equina is an inability to know where my feet are, which makes a stable leg impossible. I did try banding my feet into the stirrups, but I did not like the feeling of being restrained. Tying the stirrups provides stability, without making me feel claustrophobic. I can move the stirrup a few inches in front of the girth and a few inches behind the girth, so it is not like I am locked into position.

    So, I was very, very weak when I started riding again. I started out at a walk for just 10 minutes. I did not tie my stirrups at all in the beginning. I was just walking. And I spend a lot of time just relaxing in the saddle, and getting used to riding at the new barn (I had moved my gelding about a month before my surgery, and had not ridden at the new place prior to that). Those first couple of weeks I stayed at a walk, increasing my time in the saddle to 20 minutes.

    I started trotting the third week. When I started adding trot work, I did start to tie my stirrups. And I discovered that I was having some pain in my left leg. It is a sharp pain that starts in the groin area and then shoots down the inside of my leg. It never goes beyond the knee, and it seems to be related to lifting my leg off my horse, from my hip, and then trying to drape it quietly.

    Sometimes I can stretch down through the pain and it goes away. I just keep stretching my leg down and ride through the pain, until I realize that it went away. Sometimes it doesn't go away(which could be because I am too stiff and sore to stretch adequately?).

    A few weeks ago I was playing around with my husband, and my left leg ended up being wrenched out (think of your leg being shoved out at the knee). I am wondering if I didn't pull or tear something at that time, since I felt a horrible pain and then a general soreness and ache for the rest of that day.

    Since I can't feel the back of my thighs anyway, I am not sure if this pain would radiate out further than it does, but I can't feel it. As it is, I really feel it right where my leg joins my trunk, on the inside of the leg.

    For those of you who know muscles and their functions, any thought of what this could be and what I can do to alleviate it? My health insurance raised my rates so much post-surgery that I no longer have coverage. I feel wonderful in other aspects of my riding, like every body part is working and attached well.

    As an anniversary/graduation present, I was given a package of 20 riding lessons, and I am using them to do 3 lessons a week. I am beginning to feel that I am not getting a lot out of my riding, due to the pain issue. What can I do?

  • #2
    Originally posted by IdahoRider View Post
    It is a sharp pain that starts in the groin area and then shoots down the inside of my leg. It never goes beyond the knee, and it seems to be related to lifting my leg off my horse, from my hip, and then trying to drape it quietly.
    Hi - one thought is that it might not be muscular. SHooting pain of the type you describe could be referred. One possibility is a nerve somewhere getting pressed on. Another is Osteitis Publis - inflammation of the cartilage connecting the pelvic joint. I have that sometimes, and it manifests as a stabbing pain that starts in my groin and shoots down.

    Two possibilities to ask an orthopedist about.


    • Original Poster

      I am hoping to stay out of the doctor's office. I no longer have insurance, and will be paying off my deductible from the surgery and rehab for the next two years. I want to avoid even more medical bills at this point!

      Sometimes I think I can hear or feel it pop, and then the pain or discomfort will go away. At least it goes away until the next time I try to lift my leg off my horse, and then stretch down into my heels. Of course, sometimes I do that and it doesn't hurt at all. Sometimes it hurts and then goes away as I continue riding. And sometimes it hurts and keeps hurting.

      Everything else is working great!


      • #4
        Does it feel like there's a cord in the inside of your leg that feels like it breaks when it pops, then you have this huge pain that travels in like a line, like a hot knife slicing your leg?


        • Original Poster

          Originally posted by DancingArabian View Post
          Does it feel like there's a cord in the inside of your leg that feels like it breaks when it pops, then you have this huge pain that travels in like a line, like a hot knife slicing your leg?
          No. At least I don't think so? I will feel the pain, and if I feel the pop, the pain will go away. I don't always feel the pop though.

          Sometimes I just ride through it, and it goes away entirely. Sometimes I have to stop, sit in the saddle for a few seconds and kind of baby it until it goes away. When I say "baby it", I mean close my hip angle and kind of sit in a chair seat position. That eases it or makes the pain go away and then I continue to ride. And sometimes it just continues to twinge off and on through the whole ride.

          I was talking with my husband last night and he was saying it sounds like a possible hamstring injury, because women's hamstrings wrap around. I am not sure about that. I'll have to google it.

          I can walk without pain in that area. It really does seem to be instigated by lifting my leg away from my horse, from the hip. Or having that leg pushed out from the hip in any way (like wrestling with my husband, when he pushed my leg out at the knee).


          • #6
            Could be a adductor problem (guys would call it their groin muscle). It sounds like a muscle cramp almost though, since you can adjust your position to give it a break and then carry on. The popping is concerning because you could have torn a muscle, in which case exercising will make it worse.

            Let your husband be your model and see if you can find out on him where your pain is - I think he would call it a pulled groin if he had it.

            I would talk to a doctor and see if you can get a hands on determination if that's the problem and see if you actually tore/pulled it.

            Once you're healed, thigh adductor exercises should help. Stretching should help too.


            • #7
              Originally posted by DancingArabian View Post
              Let your husband be your model and see if you can find out on him where your pain is - I think he would call it a pulled groin if he had it.
              Just don't let this progress to wrestling!

              It sounds like impingement to me. Or you tore something. If you can still walk, you are probably okay, though. Try taking a break from riding for a month and see if it heals.
              A helmet saved my life.

              2017 goal: learn to ride like TheHorseProblem, er, a barn rat!