In response to the question of whether there is a non-surgical cure to this problem, I am one success story (although I don't think I'll ever by able to say that the problem couldn't return one day)
Currently age 52 and running 45 to 50 mpw. Competitive as masters runner - 16:00 5K at 45 years, sub 17 at 49 (prior to injury) on similar training.
Injury in June 2004. Multiple consultations with sports doctors, a couple MRIs, CAT scan, bone scans, visits with cancer doctors, blood tests - all the stuff that many on this thread have been through. During this time, I didn't run at all, and didn't cross train at all on the theory that somehow I would heal and since cross training of any type was a strain, I decided to do nothing. OK I admit I hate cross-training but I have the advantage of never gaining weight so that wasn't a concern.
After 10 months completely off, I finally traveled to Philly to see Dr. Meyers after numerous e-mails with him. He recommended I get the surgery ASAP. I asked him if it was worth a try to just start running again very gradually. He said it might be worth a shot (I think he was thinking that it was a little over the top for a 50 year old to be looking for this surgery when, other than running, I was able to conduct all normal daily activities by this point. He suggested that I use a strong anti-inflammatory during the ramp-up and prescribed a 90 day supply of indomethacin (?). He gave me a low likelihood for success but sincerely wished me well.
My self-prescribed ramp up (based on a previous comeback from a stress fracture) was as follows:
First week, every other day - walk 5 minutes, run 2 minutes, walk 5 minutes and then ice for about 20 minutes (right in the groin).
Second week, every other day - same as first week, but run 4 minutes.
Third week - same but 6 minutes of running.
You get the idea. I kept with this pattern until 20 minutes of running and then began to up it in 4 minute increments. The most important thing was to be disciplined about never deciding - hey, I feel great, why don't I just head out for an hour. So write down your plan ahead of time - and only change it if the ramp up is too quick.
During this ramp-up, I ran somewhat briskly at times concentrating on quick turnover - just not for long. I don't know if this was better than slow jogging but it certainly made it feel like I was becoming a real runner again.
I don't remember the exact timing, but within about 6 months I was back to being able to run based on how I felt on a given day. And then maybe another 6 months to feel like I could start to train. I'm planning on running a half marathon (Carlsbad) this weekend (1:20?) and NYC Marathon this fall so clearly I at least have some confidence back that my body will hold together.
The other thing I did during the ramp-up was core strengthening exercises, Pilates ball for desk chair, etc. I didn't have a formal exercise program, just exercises I found on the internet. I also had chiropractic treatments - can't tell whether they helped but I was willing to try anything.
For a younger person, the whole cycle might be a little quicker but for me it was close to year off and then another year to get my body working again. It was very depressing at times during the year off. And there's no saying the problem is totally solved. However, what discouraged me from the having the operation was my impression that there was an occasional negative outcome - as well as the fact that I could pretty much do everything else - and I didn't want to risk the bad result. I might have lost another minute during this time from my 5K but I think that can be pretty much be 100% explained by being older, and also by the speed you lose during a one year hiatus from running.
So at least for now, I would say that if your injury isn't impeding your other life activities, particularly if you're older and your PRs are behind you anyway, its at least worth taking a full 6+ months off to see if you can avoid the surgery, which anyone can see from reading this thread, is not necessarily a cure-all either.