4. post op work is critical
The biggest challenge for many people following surgery is not the general healing or being laid up but putting in time to do your physical therapy. I started my physical therapy 3 weeks after my surgery. The initial PT was very very basic and included things like learning to walk with crutches so that I wasn’t limping. This was to help ensure a faster transition for when I no longer needed them. The first near month of PT was just easing me back into hip mobility extension and flexion. As I mentioned I was in the passive motion machine for nearly 6-8 hrs a day for a month. This machine just moved my hip in and out of hip flexion for me. This was to help prevent scar tissue from building while allowing the muscles and ligaments to rest for better healing.
As mentioned in last post the safe movement after surgery is critical! If you want to have good mobility coming out of surgery you will want to safely move ASAP. Doctor will give you guidance on this.
I was able to get off of my crutches after 6 weeks and started more intensive PT. This includes more mobility work as well as strength training. Getting my glutes (butt) strong again after surgery was going to be important. I was dedicated to my PT. I went 2 hrs a week in person and then did 30 minutes a day of my exercises. I didn’t always get everything in in those 30 minutes but did as much as I could. And yes there were days that I skipped but I got back into it ASAP.
REMEMBER: Something is better than nothing!
You can’t expect to get good results if you are not putting in the PT work. And that means some work outside of your actual sessions. If you went thru the pain, money, and time of doing surgery you might as well do what you can to set yourself up for success!
By 2 months out I was feeling quite strong. By 3 months out I was lightly jogging (1/4 mile jog, 1/4 mile walk). By 4 months out I was doing some impact & agility (jump squats and skaters).
5. set backs may happen
Set backs may be part of the recovery! Do your best not to dwell in it. Do what you can and allow your body to recover. Pushing it too hard will only set you back even further and longer.
I was doing great for 6 months and then we took a trip to Guatemala and I had a set back. We took a day trip to a beautiful river known as “Crater Azul” where the water is so clear you can see 20 feet down like it was nothing. Just stunning but the water is rather chilly. I jumped in and was shocked by the cold so pulled my legs together quite quickly and strained my groin which increased symptoms in my hip.
After this I had to step back quite a bit to 0 squats or lunges for 2 weeks to allow things to heal. I would say it took a good 2 months for me to get back to a place where I could do what I was doing before without symptoms.
I honestly did very little exercise for those 2 weeks because I felt quite limited and didn’t want to exacerbate things.
6. hormones may play a part in your hip symptoms
So I got a copper IUD put in about a year before I had surgery. I had been on the pill for nearly 15 years and decided I wanted to try a hormone free option. Although there were benefits to this switch there were also some down sides. One being my cramps were more intense than they once were. I noticed that my hip symptoms would worsen when I was on my period. Which would make some sense because your pelvic floor is greatly impacted by hormones and your hips are greatly impacted by your pelvic floor.
Even 8 months out I still notice some symptoms when I am menstruating. I don’t know if that will subside or not… But it’s not as bad as it was pre-surgery. Just something I notice.
A great reminder that everything is connected!
7. have realistic expectations for outcomes
This one is important!
Surgery is not something you should take lightly. It is meant to be for people that feel their quality of life is being affected enough to take a chance.
Although it is unlikely there are of course risks with surgery. The biggest is the risk of going under and another being that you put yourself through all of this and don’t have better results. What a heartbreaking idea!
I am neither an optimist or a pessimist, I am a realist. I like to be presented with all of the information good or bad so I may make the best decision I can.
I knew that having surgery had it’s risks but I decided with great confidence that it was the best decision for me. I had been living with pain long enough and tried all I could to improve it without much luck. It was also important to me that I stay as active as possible for as long as possible.
Now, 8 months out and I feel good about my decision. I am still hopeful that I continue to see some improvements but feel I am better off now than I was before. So even if I am at status quo I will feel it was right.
This does not mean that I experience 0 symptoms at this point or that I can now do crazy deep squats. I get stiff if I sit for too long and I will never have the hip mobility of someone with a shallow socket. Because I’m genetically pre-disposed to get bone spurs I need to watch how deep I flex my hips as I could end up with the same impingement and spurs as it’s my bones way of trying to protect itself against rubbing which happens in deep squats (flexion) for me.
I had some dill hole (he was also a trainer) reach out to me via social media asking about my surgery and results as he was thinking of getting surgery because he has an impingement and wants better range of motion. The reaching out to ask some questions was not a problem for me at all. I share my story to help others. But what I had a problem with was when I told him where I was at 6 months post op (which was a place I was very happy with and was even slightly ahead of PT timeline) He expressed to me that he found it very disappointing and why would I get the surgery if I didn’t have better ROM as that is his whole reason for wanting it…
So I was kind and didn’t loose it on him, in hind site I wish I would have maybe expressed some distaste for his remarks but you can’t fix stupid.. So why waste my energy? Anyway, I share this because surgery is not meant for people who just want to have better range of motion so they can get deeper on their squats. It’s for people that are generally in pain or who’s quality of life is greatly affected. I imagine that he would have a hard time finding a surgeon that would perform surgery if he was presenting minimal symptoms.
Surgery is not a guaranteed perfect outcome so it’s important that you feel confident it will leave you better than where you are. Obviously doing the work before and after will increase positive results but there are always things beyond our control. It’s important to think thru that before you sign on for surgery. Make sure the reward out weights the risk.
Having said that every person is different and must make their own choice. I share my story to give you more perspective as you work on making your decision. I suggest multiple opinions and trust your gut! You generally know what is best for you.