Information from a patient of FAI (Femoroacetabular impingement)
I had left hip FAI removal (CAM type impingement) / labral tear repair surgery Jan 13, 2014
I previously had right hip impingement surgery on June 14, 2010. You can find a wealth of detail and info in that section.
Pre-operation (I was 37 years old - Male - 5' 9" 152 lbs. - 180cm 69kg)
Weekly recovery updates with lessons learned
FAI Experience Miscellany
Always remember as you push through this: pain is inevitable, suffering is optional
WHAT IS FAI AND WHAT WAS DONE TO GET RID OF IT
Femoroacetabular impingement or FAI is a condition of too much friction in the hip joint. Basically, the ball (femoral head) and socket rub abnormally creating damage to the hip joint.
In my case, there was extra bone on my spherical head of my femur bone (it is called the neck of the femur bone).
What did I do to give myself FAI?
I had surgery in June 2010 to cure my right hip. I was made aware at that time that I had FAI in my left hip, but the joint space looked pretty good. Also, I was not having any pain. Two and a half years later I started noticing lower back pain. Additionally, I noticed some minor groin pain. I was in denial for about 5 months because the groin pain was not constant. I cut way back on running. Strangely enough, I ran a half marathon on 9/1 and 9/15 safely with little notice of any injury other than lower back pain. Sometime in October I started getting a mysterious pain on the outside of both of my hips. Eventually on 11/3/13 I ran a 3.1 mile race for a fund-raiser with a team of my friends. I noticed a day or so after I ran the race, my right side recovered quickly (within the day), but I knew then something was seriously wrong on my left side. I could not deny it any longer. My sports medicine doctor sent me for an MRI and my fears were validated. My left hip had failed me. Interestingly, I do not have the same pain levels as my pre-FAI treated right hip. Perhaps I know what to expect this time, so it is not as mentally painful. However, I can bicycle this time around, but I have trouble with walking. I have been overworking/favoring my right hip trying to protect my left hip. I am walking with an awkward gait.
I know there are two schools of thought of how FAI comes about. I read it could be from a childhood injury or growth event(?), but believe this condition congenital - (thanks mom - thanks dad) - I was born with it. I guess that my outdoor activity levels were so high that my FAI came out on my early 30's instead of my mid-50's. I suppose a really sedentary person may never be diagnosed with it. None of my large family has it except me, but I am undoubtedly the most athletic person by far. I did a lot of roller skating and I played some soccer before I was twelve - I guess I could have created this condition myself at a young age, but it is more fun to blame mom and dad. My mom is a big walker, but she has no hip problems. My dad - did not know him. I read over comment #179 in the comment section of my blog from Karl.OS from New Zealand. Maybe I have deeper hip sockets 85% of the world population? Ultimately, I had it and now I am dealing with the results of the two surgeries for the rest of my life. On 12/30/13, I read the procedure to be performed at the hospital on my file reads "congenital FAO" (femoacetabular osteopathy). I am using the "go with you know" school of thought and choosing the same hospital and surgeon that helped me get back my full active lifestyle in 2010.
What advice would you give to me as someone soon to have FAI surgery?
- Do fun stuff with the people you love - you are going to be grumpy, tired, and moody for a long period
- Get the shower chair
- A urine holding device is really helpful when you are in bed, so you do not have to get up
- Bring a pillow to raise your height of the car seat you will use to return home from the hospital
- Have someone with a big car with plenty of leg room to pick you up from the hospital
- Remind yourself that surgery is the best solution out there. Just do it - count down the days to surgery and get your freedom back
- Long-term after you heal a bit, if you live in a flat neighborhood, you might want to purchase an adult kick scooter to help you feel more human. Every time I have hurt one of my hips I find myself using my kick scooter. Yes, you will get a lot of looks, but who cares? I own a KickPed scooter from New York City Wheels.
- Watch this FAI repair YouTube video if you have the stomach for it. It is my favorite video demonstrating kind of through a cartoon-like video what will be done - and there is no blood!
What instructions were you given when you were discharged from the hospital?
- Use 2 crutches for the first three days
- Use 1 crutch as pain permits for days 4-10
- Walk without crutches as pain permits after day 10
- It literally says on my discharge paper, "weight bearing as tolerated immediately after procedure"
- Take the anti-inflammatories and acid reflux medicine for 14 days
- Take pain pills every 6 hours as needed
- Take low dose aspirin every day to prevent blood clots
- (self prescribed) take a stool softener twice a day
- No hip flexion for 4 weeks until evaluated by surgeon
How did you feel 1 Day after surgery?
- Surgery went well - Dr. Parvizi removed the excess bone from the top of my femur and said my labral tear was smaller than the one he treated on my right side in 2010
- I asked to be discharged from the hospital last night - I feel like things are going much better than then my original right hip FAI operation in 2010
- My legs and waist fit too tightly in my loose fitting jeans - I think my leg is swollen - I need to put an ice pack on my hip as they did in the recovery room at the hospital
- Every time I eat a meal, I am exhausted afterwards
- I slept about 16 hours today
- It is difficult getting in and out of bed - the height of my bed is pretty high
- My pain is at max a 5 of 10, but mostly it hovers around a 2 or 3
- I can rotate my hip fully now - I cannot remember the last time it was this easy!
- I can walk across the room on crutches safely and confidently by myself - I think it took till week 3 for me to gain this confidence for my 2010 surgery.
- I have not had a bowel movement - I started using a stool softening pill
- I am so tired it is hard to use my cognitive abilities - it was hard to write these thoughts today
How did you feel 4 Days after surgery?
- Excuse me for being blunt - but if you're having or recovering from this surgery, I want you to know what you might expect for yourself - it is 5:30am and I am awake again early morning with nausea, lower back pain, and teeth covered with acid reflux
- I had guests come visit me and share dinner with me the last two nights - perhaps I ate too much or the anti-inflammatory drugs I have to take 3 times a day are upsetting my stomach - maybe I should be eating the yogurt I mentioned in my 2010 blog - I took the acid reflux pill last night for the first time and it does not seem to help - I ate a few hours before bed - I do not get it why mouth is so acidic in the morning and I have nausea
- I awoke this morning with what I call an 'active daydream' that I was pro wrestler and there were guys with masks jumping off the ropes at the small of my lower back - it really hurts in the morning - I walk on the crutches a bit, take a pain pill, sit in my elevated desk chair, then I can go back to bed for a few more hours
- I crashed into my bathroom vanity while brushing my teeth on crutches one time a couple days ago with my swollen hip. I doubt I hit it that hard, but I get an icy watery feeling in my hip in that spot now when I stand up with my crutches
- Overall, my weight bearing on my treated hip is so much easier than the last operation - I need my wife to help me with things, but I am so much better off. For example, I can pour a bowl of cereal and put the milk on the refrigerator top shelf in it for myself, however, I cannot put on my pants by myself because I cannot bend over - basically anything that requires bending down is an issue, but less severe than my 2010 surgery
- My worrying-sort of mother saw me last night. She said I looked much better than she expected. She said I looked like I was in so much pain after the 2010 FAI surgery that she thought I was going to die. I truly believe something has improved with the surgery since 2010.
- I am taking stool softeners, but still, no toots
- Some I trust told me it takes about 3 weeks the anesthetic to completely leave your system - I am hoping it is the source of my problem - I am eating plenty of fiber
- Every time I eat a substantial meal, I get extremely sleepy afterwards
- It hurts this time to raise my leg more than about 8 inches (20 cm) off the floor. I am doing it, but I definitely felt better elevating my treated leg the previous surgery.
- I am sleeping a lot, but it is not good peaceful sleep... every six hours I am taking the tramadol
- Things are a bit worse (particularly the pain) than they were the first day out of surgery, but I am reminding myself that my body is trying to heal itself
How did you feel 1 week after surgery?
- I hit a landmark today - 1 week - the day my giant band-aid with sterilizing liquids built into it comes off my left hip and I can the true size of my incision and know for sure if my stitches are gone. I will take a picture of this later to eventually share online.
- My hip leg rotation continues to improve. My wife remarks in amazement just how much more I can do than my last surgery at this time in 2010.
- I guess I am sleeping more than I have in years - probably I last slept this much during my 2010 right hip FAI surgery.
- Although I am sleepy all the time, I am lucid enough to enjoy some time playing video games and watching television
- Nurses from the hospital have called me a couple times checking if I had any questions.
- My appetite is coming back for other things than ice cream and yogurt (which is good because I have to eat all lactose free goods)
- I am so glad I had this surgery and I have a deep feeling this surgery is working out well. I wish I could fast forward a month or two into the future and pass this immobilized recovery stuff.
- My acid reflux continues to be horrible. I never get acid reflux in my healthy life. Every time I sleep I wake up with a gross mouth. I go immediately crutch walk to the refrigerator to get some kefir (yogurt). Then I go brush my teeth. I find myself brushing my teeth about 5 times a day. I have even taken to use dental rinse when I cannot get the taste out of my mouth. My wife says she can smell my breath being bad too if I do not act right away.
- Foods sometimes lack flavor or taste funny - I blame it on these anti-inflammatories - one more week of these things three times a day than 'see you later' - thank goodness
- I do not know why, but I certainly have more refreshing sleep in the daytime. I am forced out of bed by my body with back and minor hip pain in the early morning. I take my medicines when I wake up, stretch out and walk a little, sit in a chair, relax, then I can go back to bed.
- I was prescribed a narcotic called Norco, which is some kind of oxycotton - however, no pharmacies in my home city of Philadelphia (the 5th largest city in the United States) seem to have it in stock. One pharmacist told me that the laws have recently changed causing delays in its distribution.
- I continue having vivid dreams and nightmares - this is really unusual for me
- I wear shorts all the time because my left leg is seriously swollen, especially near my waist. My hip is yellow where the bruises are healing all around the surgical area. I use an ice pack over the hip and take my anti-inflammatories all the time. I cannot wear anything with a tight or constrictive waist. Some of my underwear are a full-size up.
- It is difficult for me to get in and out of bed. I have a safe method of entering/exiting my bed that I am accustomed to, but I cannot wait till I can left my left leg and hip high enough not to need my time-taking method.
- Most of the time I am sitting around with a 2 or 3 (out of 10) hip pain, and a 3 to 6 lower back pain. Eventually the back pain goes away until I go to bed for the evening. However, I can tell that the source of the pain causing me to limp two months before surgery is completely gone.
How did you feel 2 weeks after surgery?
- Two weeks through... According to the instructions I received, I should be able to bicycle now and walk without crutches as pain permits
- I can take a shower by myself again! I no longer need the shower chair.
- It is hard to lift my leg to put on my socks or pants, but I can do it if I sit on a chair. In particular, it is my left leg that I have trouble lifting with balance to put a sock or pants leg through if I am standing.
- My bowel movements have returned to relatively normal
- I can bend down without much pain, but I must look bad because my wife still rushes to my aid when she sees me doing it
- I am getting hopeful I will be able to participate in my favorite 10 mile race the first Sunday of May every year in Philadelphia, PA. I am so pleased I am healing much more rapidly than my 2010 surgery.
- I feel unnaturally tired most of the time
- My acid reflux continues to be horrible. I am almost through use of the heavy anti-inflammatory pills. My treated leg continues to be swollen up enough that I do not fit comfortably in my normal pants. I have been wearing pajama and track pants around the house for weeks.
- The first day I tried to walk unaided around day 10, I believe my left leg near my hip swelled up really bad. The track pants I were wearing caused some chaffing. I took off the pants at bedtime and the redness on my skin was mostly gone by morning. On the bright side, I cannot believe I can walk at all compared to 2010's surgery. I could barely stand weight bearing on my treated hip last time around. I waddle luck a duck with a limp.
- I was told in recovery after both FAI surgeries that I would be able to bicycle after 10 days. I felt optimistic enough to try getting on the bicycle on day 12. I was really joyful that I was able to cycle for about 5 minutes. However, I really hurt myself. I have a burning pain at the top of my left quadriceps in my hip. Although the pain has blessed a bit, it still burns in that area 2 days later.
- I wake up most mornings with lower back pain. My lower back pain happens only when I sleep during the night. I wake up, crutch walk around a bit, sit in a chair, then it completely subsides usually within an hour. I told my surgeon about this back pain that started during my recovery of my last surgery. Before this surgery, my surgeon had me checked for ankolosing spondylitis (inflammatory disease of the lower back), but I turned out definitively negative.
How did you feel 3 weeks after surgery?
- Three weeks and I am only taking one pill for hip pain sometimes... I continue doing better than I expected from my 2010 surgery. I am trying to avoid physical therapy. I went for a "walk" a few times this week dreaming of running my favorite race in May. I consider my "walks" about 2 city blocks or 900 feet.
- I can dress myself completely again, but if i go for a "walk," I usually stiffen up and it gets difficult.
- Bending down only difficult after a "walk"
- I "walked" 4 days this week inspired by some of the recent comments you posted on this site
- I always have pain and exhaustion after a "walk", but they both go completely away with rest
- I can elevate the leg of my treated left hip to a nice height for full circulation - it feels good to elevate your legs
- I left the house a couple times over a warm winter weekend going out to dinner. I have trouble getting into the passenger seat of the car. I sit on the car seat first while facing the sidewalk. Afterwards I sweep my legs around with a little assistance of my hands into the low-to-the-ground vehicle.
- I feel unnaturally tired, but my alertness is improving and I can sense my sleep needs reducing
- Now that I am off the meds, I have noticed I have started to worry about things again
- I challenged myself for a long 25 minute "walk" outside the day before writing this post. Strangers were asking me if I was okay. It felt good to know that people still care in the big city. In short, the longer I walk, the more I feel woozy. I guess that is my body's way of telling me I am overdoing it.
- I cannot walk reasonably without 1 crutch or a cane. I have an extremely awkward gait. With all the back pain I have, I do not want to set it off by walking long weirdly.
- I have managed to hurt my right hip, my "good" hip, a couple times while walking with a cane or without crutches at all. I am sure my right hip is compensating for what my left hip cannot currently do.
How did you feel 4 weeks after surgery?
- Four weeks and I am restless. I am amazed how the human body heals from trauma. I feel like I should be able to march for miles by now, but I have no endurance. I start heavy breathing like I am sprinting if I do not move slowly. Ask anyone that really knows me; it is hard to move slow.
- I noticed my left hip incision is 1 inch (2.54 cm) higher on my body than my 2010 surgery. Maybe that is one of the changes that has made this surgery outcome so much easier
- I can now walk around my apartment without a crutch or a cane although my wife yells at me when I do it. She is giving up because I keep at it.
- I registered for my 10 mile race in early May because I believe I'm going to in good shape by then
- I am getting restless, so I guess this is a good sign that my brain is returning to "normal"
- I had more pain between weeks 3 and 4 post surgery than I think any other week. I wanted to post several days this week sharing I was in pain. However, at the end of the week, I can walk unaided again a short distance in my apartment without an awkward gait.
- I drove once this weekend. I have a stick shift and my left leg is the one healing. I tried to be a tough guy, arriving at the destination, but I got pains level probably about 7 out of 10 for an hour or so after driving about 25 minutes. I stretched out my leg at the destination and about 30 minutes later I was back to normal. I have not had much luck with driving during early recovery in either the 2010 or 2014 surgeries. I do not envy anyone that has to drive places on their own, especially if they own a stick shift (manual transmission) vehicle.
- I am overjoyed to be able to escape my house with one crutch, but I have no endurance. If I walk I feel like I want to lay down and take a nap.
- My right hip, the one I had treated in 2010 has been hurting, but I am sure I am compensating walking unaided.
- I was watching ice skating events in the winter Olympics in Sochi. I was touched by the 28 year girl from Japan in her last Olympics and the Italian girl loving what they are doing. I started crying uncontrollably. I am 37 and I love running. Both of my hips were hurting yesterday. Running does not require talent per se, but I love it more than almost anything in life. I identify with these Olympic athletes doing what they love. My wife told me I am one of the most tenacious people she has ever met and if there is a way that I can run again, I am going to find it. I hope to share with you in the future my joy that I can do it again. I got hope in my heart.
How did you feel 5 weeks after surgery?
- Five weeks after surgery and I am in pretty good shape. I am dropping my positive/negative format and sharing my hip related feelings "the way it is." After all, "it is what it is" is definitely a saying for our times in the United States.
- I am walking unassisted everywhere by a crutch or cane. However, there is so much ice and snow around Philadelphia this February that I have been bringing the crutch for safety. One small bad movement the wrong way can still cause me a world of hurt. Mostly the pain happens if I twist my body out of a straightforward direction.
- My number one problem that remains is lower back pain. Sometimes it radiates all the way up to my shoulder blade on my left side. This week it seems to only have happened when I overdid it. I biked 13 miles once (and only once) on my exercise bike. Although I felt nothing at the time, I woke up in the middle of the night with screaming back pain. Last night I went out swing dancing - yes - I felt like I was doing a commercial for Jefferson's Rothman Institute showing the success of hip surgery. I danced maybe three dances and I swivels and swing outs were too much. However, I iced for an hour and took a tramadol pain pill when I got home. When I get a lower back episodes it throws off my whole sleep cycle. I feel groggy all day. I have been out of work and I am worried about being useless when I return next week. My surgeon thinks my back pain is an exception rather than the norm, so UNDECIDED in comment #139 - let pain be your guide, not my own silly personal posts!
- Part of your pain is psychological. I keep reminding myself it. I feel the longer it goes on, the harder it is to deal with. Sometimes I want to sit still trying to prevent me from hurting myself. I keep reminding myself of the healing linear regression idea that I have on my right hip recovery web page. You may have some bad days, but overall, you are healing. Even more, my wife keeps reminding me that I was not yet walking in 2010 when I had my right hip treated after 5 weeks!
- Despite walking again, my walking does not feel "normal." I imagine it is going to take awhile to adjust to my new "normal."
- Christine in comment #138 - you really touched me. I shared your post with some of my family who have been close to me through my healing. I wish they could detect FAI early on in our lives before so much damage happens to our bodies. Nevertheless, my surgeon did not think it was wise to operate in 2010 when he saw I had undamaging FAI in my left hip. I dream that someday they have some nanobots that they can inject into your hip to shave down the excess bone before it becomes an issue. Sometimes I have to tell myself that I am so lucky that I had so many good years before this happened. I have read that some people have to deal with this at 17 years old.
- I see my surgeon on Wednesday. I am asking him for a physical therapy slip although he told me up front I will not need it. I am still determined to run my favorite 10 mile race the first week Sunday of May.
How did you feel 6 weeks after surgery?
- Six weeks since my surgery today 2/24/2014 - my main complaint - SLEEP - I need sleep after almost any exercise session - that includes walking as little as a half a mile
- I am still walking with a limp - everyone can tell something is wrong - I earned the nickname "Gimpy" from my mother-in-law.
- I am in physical therapy 3 days a week - I felt like I wanted to cry making my way home through the city after the second session, but today my coach/therapist knows how to fix my psyche. I felt like I did more exercise today than many Americans do in a week. My physical therapist believes undoubtedly that I will be able to run and do yoga again, so this gives me hope. I did some supervised pushups and planks today and many stretches: calves, hamstrings, lower back- it was a great feeling. I did 10 hard minutes on the elliptical bicycle. I broke a real workout sweat. I love it!
- My abdomen muscles are the weakest muscles this hip surgery. In 2010, my neck and ankles were the worst.
- I have shared time and time again that my lower back causes me pain with the hip surgery. I think the physical therapy exercises are helping. Here's my favorite one: Lay on your stomach and prop yourself up on your elbows with your hips remaining completely on the floor for 3 minutes.
- I have been using ice after "exercise," but I feel my need for it is lessening.
- I visited my surgeon last week and things looked really good. He told me he only had to shave off about 5 millimeters of bone in the peak spot and the procedure has improved since 2010. I asked to go to physical therapy because I want to get better as quickly as possible. He told me not to use a crutch which I was using for a little support outside up until the visit during week 5.
- Also, the surgeon said you may feel a numbness (a pinch-like feeling) in my quadricep. I definitely feel the numbness in my quad almost down to my knee. He says most muscular males have minor nerve damage during the procedure. It is unavoidable. My numbness (and yours too if you feel it) is a sign that the nerve is healing itself.
- I CAN DRIVE AGAIN! It took me about 5 weeks to feel comfortable continually using my clutch foot on our manual transmission vehicle.
- In my humble opinion, I think 6 WEEKS is the amount of time you should take off work. I will put it this way: 4 weeks - your body will have its initial operating capability (don't expect to lift anything heavy or balance anything)- 6 weeks: muscle control and less fatigue - I go back to work after 6 weeks and 2 days on Wednesday 2/26. I am afraid of being tired because I walk to work and up three flights of stairs... literally 6/10th of a mile.
How did you feel 7 weeks after surgery?
- I still have a little bit of a limp - sometimes it goes away and I walk normal. I can walk a seemingly unlimited distance with little fatigue.
- Sometimes I think my limp is partially psychological. I become aware I am not limping, then I start doing it again
- Sleep is no longer an issue - in fact, I think I am sleeping less than my normal
- I can bicycle outside like a champ again - no pain - low speed, but hey, it is a cold winter in the USA.
- My hip seems stiff at first when I start walking after I sit down for awhile. It seems to warm up with movement and work better.
- I started strengthening my adductor muscles at physical therapy yesterday (3/3/14) - boy my left muscles are weak
- I have run across the street dodging city traffic a couple of times with no extra discomfort afterwards
- I still feel some minor numbness in the nerve in my hip that my surgeon said is healing - especially with heavy exercise
- I have been getting mild groin pain in BOTH hips. It always passes after 10-15 minutes. My physical therapist said it might be from walking with irregular balance. She told me to make a conscious effort to walk up stairs as normal as possible.
- I am walking noticeably faster, like the old me... I hope it is only a matter of time now before I can run again
- I expect to be able to run on an incline first as I did with my first hip in 2010. My physical therapist said I succeed sooner at an incline because it is less stressful on the hip. I have already did some power walking (4.8 mph on the treadmill) at physical therapy. The higher the hill, the less funny my hip feels.
- I hope you, the reader, is even further along in your recovery than I am. A little more time... you and I will both get back to our new 'normalcy.'
How did you feel 8 weeks after surgery?
- Thursday, March 7, 2014 - eight weeks, four days post surgery - my limping stopped!
- It was so mentally encouraging being able to walk normally again.
- Physical therapy is going great. I am now only attending twice a week and I can feel my normal power returning.
- I felt healthy enough (and the weather warmed enough) to start biking 2 miles through the busy city to physical therapy. Previously I always was walking or taking the bus.
How did you feel 9 weeks after surgery?
- I was on a cruise ship the during the previous week. I envy all the people who live in warmer climates. My hip was very happy in the warm Caribbean. We have had a brutally cold winter on the East Coast of the United States.
- On my last day on the cruise ship, I decided to run to challenge my hip/leg. I ran a total of 1 mile (1.6km). I did not have much hip discomfort at all. I noticed I was favoring my right leg, the one I had repaired in 2010. I did not run one mile continuously, I ran probably a quarter of a mile each time, testing my hip as I ran. Even better, I had only a tiny bit of pain in my lower back when I woke up in the morning. Every time I push myself toward what I perceive as the next level in my recovery, I seem to initially get lower back pain.
How did you feel 10 weeks after surgery?
- I got a bad cold during this week. I was mostly idle off my feet or in bed for those two days. My first trip outdoors I noticed I was limping again for about 10 minutes. I asked my physical therapist and she guessed that sometimes your inflammatory system acts up when you get sick and it was possible my hip area was inflammed. I am walking/bicycling after those initial 20 minutes.
- I have almost no hip pain. It is getting harder for me to write here because I am not reminded of my hip surgery all the time by my body.
- I had to write a pain assessment at physical therapy this week. I am getting closer to being discharged. I am running on the elliptical machine 15-20 minutes every time I visit to warm up. I feel 0 out of 10 pain at best, and 3 out of 10 pain at worst. Usually the pain only occurs when I overdo it by running or sometimes I do a fast unnatural twist. Also, I feel a brief pain in my hip when I am stressed at work sometimes.
- My extreme lower back pain waxes and wanes. If you've been reading my site, I mention it as my worst pain. Also, I have some occasional groin pain in my hip I had treated in 2010.
- Somebody recently asked about when does the pain stop or when does it go away? Honestly, I think that is a tough question. First off, I believe everyone has physical and mental pain. I believe some of the mental pain creates the physical pain. I am thinking about my hips right now as I type this and I notice the slight groin pain in my 2010 hip. I would in my 2014 surgery my physical pain went away after 7 weeks. Shortly after I resumed my normal life activities, the mental pain seemed to abate. Also, you build up a pain tolerance to your new hip normal. I'm sure there is some pain in my 2014 surgery left hip, but it flees quickly and I'm used to it. In 2010, I felt like I was pain free when I could do exactly what I wanted with my body without restrictions - that was 8 months post-op. I cannot wait for the day I get there again. I believe it's going to happen within 4 months.
- I'm running out of notable things to share with you about the hip surgery recovery. I do not want to waste your time. I will continue 1 more week of regular thoughts. From then on, I'll go to occasional updates that I hope will be motivational as I reach for my dreams. I cannot wait to share with you all that I can run unlimitedly again (or at least to within reason for a 37 year old guy). I have a good feeling about it. It is my ultimate goal. Take good care all.
How did you feel 11 weeks after surgery?
- Spring has arrived and I have been pushing my body to new limits. In turn, my body has been pushing back. Chiefly, lower back pain, sore quadriceps. It is nothing unbearable, but the sensation from the lower back pain is always there. Hey, this is will be my life for awhile - I went through it with my right hip in 2010. I'm not concerned. Eventually I will get to a point where the back pain goes away most of the time.
- I have integrated running on the city streets back into my lifestyle. I do not hesitate to run across the street at intersections or run for a bus. Overall, I ran about 2 miles, ellipticalled about 12 miles, and biked outside about 10 miles since my last post 8 days ago. My physical therapist told me avoid impact sports like running, but a spinning class is fine at this stage.
- Almost 50/50 again. I believe the balance is coming back on impact on my left side from the recent surgery. I have been favoring the right leg for some time in fast movements.
- I am sure there are some people out there who feel 100% cured from the FAI hip surger(ies), but I am not one of them. I did have about a year of freedom after my post surgery. I have no doubt my reparied hips will always be a part of my life and thinking. Sometimes it is going to hurt and I will blame my genetics. Sometimes it will days, weeks, or months before I think about it. Nevertheless, I have no regrets on the surgery. Although it is modified, I cautiously say I got my active lifestyle back. Let pain be your guide. Nobody can see or feel it. You are stuck with some of it your entire life. Hopefully it will be the worst thing that ever happens to you. At least it is treatable and you can get your mobility back. (I will probably clean up this passage above later - its the mood I'm in after writing it during my lunch break at work with some lower back pain)
- I have no doubt that something I find impressive will happen and I will share. If I develop arthritis, tendinitis, or anything FAI hip related, I will share it here on this site for years to come. I hope you all the best results in your upcoming surgeries or recoveries. I hope your journies through this are faster and easier than my recovery (especially my first 2010 FAI operation)
- I have a 10 mile road race coming up on Sunday, May 4th. My physical therapist thinks I will be able to complete it. I look forward to sharing my joy over making it across the finish line for my 18th year. My average ten mile time is about 1 hour. I would be happy to finish in 90 minutes this year, but I will live if I finish in 2 hours.
- If you have ever doubted my love of running, follow this link on athlinks.com to see my race history. Its funny to see I have 431 miles in recorded races. There are many this site does not contain. Remember, all the races after 2010 were post hip surgery. Work hard, believe in yourself and persist - you can get yourself back to where want your body to be.
Why is the recovery so much faster and easier than my 2010 operation?
I have told all of my friends, family, and neighbors that I could not even walk after 5 weeks last time I had this operation. I am looking forward to asking the surgeon why my healing is going so much quickly and easier than my right hip in 2010. Here are my ideas:
- Medical technology has advanced since 2010
- My incision starts is one inch (2.54 cm) higher than last time, so maybe my surgeon did not have to cut through some area that debilitates patients
- I had less damage in my left hip than right (he told me this already - my labral tear was much smaller in the left and no cysts to remove)
- I jumped on the problem right away - I knew what was wrong and got it treated quickly
- I was more psychologically ready for it this time and I knew what pain to expect and push through
- I see my surgeon Wednesday February 19, 2014 and I am going to ask him directly
How are you faring post recovery?
- 4/1/14 - I believe I can do everything now except impact sport again. From now on unless a major setback occurs, I will share with you anything I think might be interesting or motivational
- 4/3/14 - Usually around spring I start changing my footwear. I may have mentioned this in the past, but I believe changing your shoes often results in some subtle or not-so-subtle discomfort in your hip for the first few days, despite the cushioning or quality of the new shoes.
- 4/10/14 - I ran about 1.25 miles on a treadmill at physical therapy at about 7:30 mile pace. I was euphoric at the time. NO PAIN! However, the next day was a complete "OFF!" day. Although I had no extra physical pain that I could put words to, it was my day off from physical activity. My physical therapist is interested in groin pain, but truly, lower back pain is always my #1 concern.
- 5/5/14 - Yesterday I ran the 10 mile Broad Street Run with my slowest ever since 1994 by 1 minute and 26 seconds. (total time: 68 minutes flat - 6:47 pace) Nevertheless, I credit this as my best performance - no training, my longest run of 2014 (of about 6 total running experiences - most at physical therapy) and of the last quarter of 2013, and my hip repair job 3 1/2 months ago. Looks like I'm not going to be a retired runner yet, just a smarter cross-trainer. Thanks for sharing in my joy by reading my post. Running and exploring the outdoors means so much to me.
- 6/20/14 - It has been awhile since I posted an update. I ran a respectable half marathon (won an age group award) without pain on 5/18/14. However, I wanted to let you guys know that I have to be careful not to overdo it with impact activities on my left hip. My left hip is currently a little injured from stretching after a spur-of-the-moment 10 mile run on my 38th birthday June 16th. I have injured my hip since my last post by jumping as part of classroom cross-training workouts. I told the coaches I cannot jump and they gave me less impact-heavy exercise modifications. Also, I find that certain hip stretches after activity can injure me. Heck, one time I got on my bike and I thought I injured my hip a little (although it was fine the next day). I remind myself it has only been 5 months since surgery. Despite my encouragement showing you I am running races, I am not training for them by running. Most of my workouts involve bicycling. Overall, I am exercising regularly, but sometimes it is not without hip trouble.
- 7/6/14 - Sometimes I am having groin pain in both my hips. Sometimes my extreme lower back is throbbing. Nevertheless, I am still exercising almost everyday. Currently I am trying to stretch a lot to see if not stretching enough is contributing the my hip and lower back pains. It's tolerable pain, but it is annoying.
- 7/22/14 - Stretching is helping, especially quadriceps stretching - most of my minor groin symptoms are gone. I feel mostly normal again.
- 8/19/14 - I am happy to report I am moderately running and cross-training at my favorite gym. I have been doing my physical therapy exercises and along with additional time since January 13's surgery, it seems to be the answer.
- 11/24/14 - It has been some time since I wrote anything here, but I am happy to read all your comments. I was struggling with a lower back problem
since early September. I believe I hurt myself at my cross training gym lifting a weight heavier than I should have been lifting with bad form. If you've read this blog, you know I struggle sometimes with
lower back pain that I think is correlated to the FAI surgeries. My right-side 2010 FAI surgery lower back/hip area has been unhappy for a couple of months. I am glad to report that it is getting better thanks to physical therapy that includes
hip flexor and lower back stretches. I ran probably about 3 miles outside for the first time in almost three months yesterday jogging and cheering for random runners in the Philadelphia Marathon. I may have said this before, but I believe
your post-FAI repaired hips will inevitably be part of your consciousness and life. There will be periods you pay them no mind, but every once in awhile you are going to
do something to yourself that makes one or both of your hips remind you that had surgery. Such is life - Despite setbacks that I have overcome every time since surgery, I am still glad to have healthier hips.
- 2/10/15 - I have been running again 3 days a week, for a few weeks, following the mileage and speed training advice of Runner's World Smartcoach getting ready for my 10-miler I run every early May. I have run 45 miles following my training program (easy day, speed workout, long day). My hips and my knees irritate me a little. I found a fancy treadmill that has shock absorbers that reduce impact by 30% and it seems to help tremendously. I am approaching 39 years old, but I am still doing what I love post-FAI, and creeping up there in age, in some capacity. I have run a couple sub-6 minute miles. 7 miles was my longest run so far in 2015. I hope you guys are having even better results.
- 4/6/15 - I developed "jumpers knee" (patellar tendinitis) a month ago, probably from over training with running (who knows?). I have been doing lots of quad stretching and yoga classes. Yes, yoga feels great on my hips. I feel some extra resistance to opening sometimes in my hips. I think it is probably due to the scar tissue from the FAI surgeries, but overall, my physical fitness is fine.
- 9/24/2015 - I am still fighting patellar tendonitis. What an annoying overuse injury! Believe it or not, I finally figured out how to relieve my lower back pain issue. If I put a pillow under my knees while in bed, my lower back pain quickly stops. My pain has something to do with tight hips. I found this information on the Internet a few months ago. I spent many hours at doctors trying to figure this out, and I found the answer (finally!) at http://modernhealthmonk.com/back-pain-when-sleeping/. If you visit the web page, scroll down to "B. On The Back", "Common Problems: Lower back is overly arched and in pain". You can test this yourself when you have lower back pain in bed. While laying down, raise your legs into a position as if you are sitting on a chair in bed. If the lower back pain subsides, your hips are tight. Put a pillow under your knees to relieve the lower back pressure. You should be able to sleep more if you can adapt to the pillow under your knees. Thankg goodness for the Internet. My insurance company paid many doctors that did not give me this simple advice.
- 1/24/2016 - Sadly, patellar tendinitis in both my knees is my nemesis. 27 weeks of physical therapy helped but it was not a cure. I do not know if my knee issue is related to my hips, but I kind of doubt it. My hips are a little sore at the moment. I have been doing a lot of hip stretching, especially the butterfly stretch (Google it if you want to see images - very helpful stretch by the way). I get a groaning reminder from my body sometimes I had surgery.
- 4/26/2016 - I am dreaming of running again someday without fear of knee pain. I am following advice from http://www.fix-knee-pain.com My hips are sore sometimes following his advice. It seems like my left hip can be more irritated and it has a significantly shorter range of motion than my right.
- 7/19/2016 - I hurt my right hip again (the original hip) two weeks ago for the fourth time since I had surgery in 2010. Here's how I believe it happened. I hurt my foot running on a treadmill for one mile at 7:30 mile pace. I was rebuilding... maybe too fast. Two days after my foot was mildly injured, my right hip started hurting. I started getting groin pain, lower back pain, and thigh area pain. I continued bicycling and stretching. A week into the mild pain, I rode my bike two city blocks on a nice summer then I got a sharp pain in my hip. I have a constant right hip pain now and my summer is wasting away. I suspect it will be another two weeks before my hip can calm down and heal. I am recovering slowly. Believe it or not, I have some groin pain in my other hip. Maybe I am compensating with my irregular walking. My gait is slightly different.
- 8/16/2016 - I thought I injured my hip further last week, lifting a family member in a wheelchair up a step. I am having numbness in my right foot and calf. I saw two specialists and had x-rays made. Apparently, I hurt a disc in my back, my L5, and it is causing me hip issues. I am having trouble walking with my right leg, but my hip is fine in the sense that I do not have a labral tear or any FAI related complications. It seems the hip and the lower back are connected in some way. Once again I have to deal with groin pain, but the doctors led me to believe the source has to due with the disturbance in my back.
- 12/9/2016 - It looks like my knees are going to end my running career: patellar tendinitis. Maybe something is off in my form related to my hips... maybe years of pounding pavement and asphault have set in. I have been at physical therapy finally recovering from my L5 back injury. Briefly after I start running, my knees start hurting. Knees, hips, back, take care and listen to your body's hardware - you only have one set!
- 4/13/2017 - It turns out my doctor prescribed custom orthoics was a serious part of my patellar tendinits problem. However, now I have a RIGHT HIP problem. I lifted a 275 pound man with advanced Parkison's Disease off the ground. I damaged my right hip helping him out on March 9, 2017. I am at physical therapy. I am limping for 5 weeks now with groin burning pain. I received a cortisone shot. It has not helped, but I am hopeful. I have a simple kick scooter that I ride around the city using my good hip. I have also purchased a new firm matress ("Savtaa firm" [not luxury firm] - Google it) that is helping me sleep better.
- 5/18/2017 - It felt like forever, but I can walk again without a limp despite continued right hip burning and tenderness. My hip is unhappy walking on uneven surfaces, but I am moving. Keep it real and remember - your FAI treated hips will be a tender point on your body the rest of your life. On a side note for the body experts out there, my adductor magnus works extra hard - it gets as tight as a rock. I have to rub/massage it on a daily basis during my current hip recovery.
- 8/30/2018 - I have not posted an update in a long time. I try to be fair to post only about hip related issues because I have other complications. It has been up and down with my right hip during the last year. Forunately, it always gets healthy enough for me to bike again, but I can no longer run or dance. Specifically, I have trouble repeatedly pivoting on my right hip. A physical therapist I really respect tells me I need to keep my hips strong. It is demoralizing doing the same boring hip strenthening stuff over and over. One thing I do that seems to help and be somewhat enjoyable is walking up and down steps sideways. Instead of walking up the stairs in the forward position, walk up and down stairs sideways. You will be activating different muscles in your legs (lateral stair walking). Lateral stair walking enables you to challenge and develop your adductor and abductor muscles.
My left hip FAI shared images - warning: some images may make you feel squeamish