Well, I FINALLY have some good news! After 4.5 months of injury terribleness, I'm making some progress. I've been able to run 20-25 miles per week for the past three weeks. I haven't posted until now because I wanted to make sure this wasn't just a fluke :)
What made the difference? Honestly, I don't know... it had to be a combination of things. After 12 days of no running and another round of steroids in the beginning of December, I was feeling as bad as ever. The time off from running was not helping at all. I was mentally drained from hours of therapy, stretching, icing, etc... with no results.
It was time to just try to run through it. Running got me injured so maybe that's what I need to get better. I found a clinic near my work called Performance Rehab Clinic that has an Alter-G Treadmill. These treadmills are becoming more and more popular in the rehabilitation world because they allow you to exercise at a decreased bodyweight (through differential air pressure). This reduces the impact and stress on lower extremity joints, muscles, tendons, etc. and enables patients to gradually retrain. I am now running on the Alter-G 2-3 times a week at 75-85% bodyweight. I am able to run at a decent pace without any pain. I've been able to accompany that with some miles outside now too.
Here is a short video of me running on the Alter-G...
In addition to the Alter-G, I am working with physical therapist Daniel Mills at the same clinic. He is focusing a lot on deep stretching and strengthening. After a few sessions with him, my glute pain was completely relieved. I left for Tennessee over Christmas break and that pain came back, so I know the pain is being relieved by the stretching that I cannot do on my own.
I've come to believe that all the pain in my hip, glutes, abdominals, and hamstring are because the muscles have become overactive and protective in nature and therefore are not performing their jobs correctly. My rehab is focused on re-training and re-educating the muscles to recruit in the proper amounts and in the proper sequence.
Whew...what a mess! I'm still struggling with some pain throughout the day, but it's gradually getting better. One step at a time. I'm very excited to be running for 20-30 minutes every day, and I'm very motivated to be smart and do this rehab the right way.