Working (it all) out

1 year/ 1 month/ 1 week post operative

 

Back from skiing – meh.

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Our journey back was very “interesting”, thanks to United, making a big mess out of it. At arrival, my op hip was solid angry, like 5/10 and delighted me the whole night.

I am still thrilled about me going back to skiing, it’s a huge achievement for me and very encouraging  but this is a new week and I need to keep working on gaining strength and endurance. No rest for the weary.

 

To not stress things out too much, I added “1 minute” to the Elliptical, the stationary bike and the TM.

Elliptical and stationary bike were fine with 16 minutes/ level 1; 16 minutes  TM were not. For a change “both” hips were aching afterwards. Keeps things fresh I guess.

 

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I was asked several times why I am not working out with a personal trainer. Well, that’s easy, because there is no personal trainer out there who knows about labral tears & hip fracture with hip pinning in “a young adult”.

I checked on the internet. Nothing. Nada.

The same old song…” this is a fracture for old people and old people a) get a THR and b) are not looking for a trainer”, or I get refered to “rehab methods for  THR  patients” or, alternative No. 3 – “physical therapy in the early stages after hip pinning”. Been there, done that.

The absolutely  LAST  thing I need right now is to have some gym gorilla yell at me with the attitude “no pain, no gain” and risk injury or a huge setback.

 

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Two years ago I asked around for a personal trainer already and asked each time if they have experience with labral tears. (My labral tears got fixed but I still have cartiledge damage in my hips.) Nobody. They looked at me like I am a Martian.

 

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So why would anybody know how to deal with somebody with two labral tears AND a hip fracture on top of it, at my age? Even my  PT  with a doctorate degree had a tough time guiding me, since I was his first young hip patient ever. It’s just not a common injury for young adults at all.

 

My hips have healed, I am still finetuning things, but an operated hip is just never the same as a healthy, untouched hip, ever again. The rehab is very delicate and even a year out, I can stress my latest op hip out, overdo it easily and get a flare out of nowhere. A person not familiar with these injuries will not understand the fine line I am walking since many years.

To a non- hipster my workout routine might seem very slow, tedious and wimpy, a fellow hipster will get it. Why I am doing this and not that, why certain things can trigger flares or why flares can just show up for no good reason. The whole dimension of having hip issues is hard to explain to somebody who doesn’t have any.

~~~

Nevertheless, I guess a trainer is not meant to be, so I will continue doing what I am doing and make more research for new hip friendly exercises. Nobody knows my body and my limits better than me.  One way or another, I will make progress.

I am excited to see what my second year after surgery will be like. Last year was dedicated to doing serious time on crutches, working my butt off in PT and learning how to walk and function again. Now it’s time to play.

 

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Back on skis after hip fracture!

13 months PO

 

Back from ski vacation, safe and sound.

My first run, back on skis again since my ski accident, was a combination of being super happy, feeling overwhelmed with emotions and being very cautious. By the time I reached the lift, I was in tears.

 

This was me before my first run. A bit on the nervous side…

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Second run went already better and by the afternoon, I skied pretty much like normal. I really could not tell the difference to “before I broke my hip”. Technique wise it was all there and my husband said, I looked just like I always did, which is awesome.

I felt really strong and even getting up from the chair lift, over and over again, was okay. As a matter of fact, I got up better after recovering from a complete hip fracture than I did after recovering from surgery of two labral tears. So I guess all those squats and glutes exercises I have been doing paid off!

 

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Day 2 was good too, had a great time, but on day 3 reality set in.

The ski resort is at very high altitude and my body does not like high altitude. Just doesn’t. I get sick and get blasting headaches from it, so to prevent this and to be more proactive, I took Ibuprofen throughout the day, which helped nicely with the headaches.

After a few days my body got used to the high altitude and I wanted to cut down on the Ibuprofen. Headaches did not occur but now I felt what my op hip really felt like after a day of skiing, without sugar coating it. Hallelujah!

During skiing I felt a medium ache in my thigh, where the pins were put in and after, my op hip and surrounding muscles were about a 4.5/10. A deep ache which called for my icepack and Ibuprofen. Lasted all through the night.

I could also clearly tell that on day 3 I could not ski as energetic anymore as on the previous days. My legs, muscles and op hip were exhausted and needed a break, so we took one day off to recover and skied two more days after that. On ski day 4 and 5  I did well, with an aftermath of about 3.5/10.

~~~

And of course, what would a ski vacation be without a visit to the clinic for me? (Being sarcastic…) 

I  needed an urgent prescription for antibiotics and had to go back to the clinic where ski patrol dropped me off last year. They still had me in their system, as an “established patient”….

I ended up on the same  examination table and even with the same  ER doctor who told me last time the devastating  sentence “the Xray of your shoulder looks okay but your hip has a fracture.”

Many many memories and thoughts were going through my mind being in there.

~~~

The whole vacation felt like the movie “Groundhog day” anyways,  I did things like last time, saw things like last time and skied runs like last time. I saw ski patrol several times and each time it ran down icecold my spine.

We even went back to where I fell and broke my hip. Did not feel like going closer. No need to jinx anything but I sure remember every single minute of this traumatic day.

 

Right there, next to the stand, it all began.

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For me it was not necessarily the skiing that was exhausting, it was walking stairs with all the gear and heavy boots on. By the end of the day I had a big limp doing stairs and either had to pull myself up on the reiling and help along or I went back, doing Grannysteps.

 

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All together, I was  MORE  than pleased with my op hip and ability to ski again. I was really, really happy to be out there again, but it also showed me,  I still need more strength and endurance.

I was not the slowest on the mountain but not the fastest either. I just skied like I always do, making many turns and skiing in control. (I slipped two times for a split second and it freaked me out, otherwise my balance was good.)

That’s all I ever wanted, to be “me” again.

~~~

It’s been a tough year but for being 13 months out, this is a heck of a comeback in my books!

I knew it all would come together at some point and it did not matter that my recovery was slow. What counts is, I did recover. All my workouts and hundreds of hours doing PT have paid off. It was not necessarily the amount of what I did, it was the consistency.

 

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Ready, set, go!

1 year, 3 weeks PO

 

And here we are. 48 hours away from me being back on the slopes. Man, what a difference a year can make.

 

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If you would have told me one year ago next year I’d be skiing again, I would have thought it’s impossible. Everything was a struggle back then. Crutching, doing stairs, even sleeping was tough.

~~~

I have no idea what to expect but just to be on the safe side, I stayed with my old workout regime last week and did not try to add any time to it. Going back on skis will be challenging enough, I don’t need to start it off with a nice flare on top of it.

~~~

Last week I saw my OS for a different orthopedic issue for my shoulder, and he told me to hold off doing weights or repetetive moves with my shoulders, to let things calm down. Unfortunately this includes the Elliptical.

Good news – my shoulder can heal; bad news, I can not use the Elliptical (without the arm movement) for building up the leg and hip muscles. It’s too much for my op hip. Always something.

So for the time being, it is treadmill & stationary bike only.

 

Equipment in a doctors office

 

He asked me if I am playing tennis a lot. I told him “not so much lately. It’s difficult getting back into.”

“How come?”

“I broke my hip last year. Remember?” (Whoopsi…)

~~~

It’s very unreal to me to go back skiing but I hope I will have fun and my top goal is, to come back without additional hardware in my body. I want to see the avalanche puppies but I don’t need another close up with the ski patrol. If I can manage that, I’ll be a very happy camper.

 

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Off to a good start

1 year/ 2 weeks PO

 

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This year I went out twice already, playing tennis. Not real tennis – “tennis after hip pinning”, but still. And each time I feel a little bit better on the court.

The last few times I left with the feeling “this was fun and at least I was out there” but today was different. My lateral movement is improving, the footwork is getting better, I get to more balls and my forehand is slowly starting to creep back in. I still have big limitations on my op side, but better is better.

I actually saw a glimpse of myself “pre-hip fracture” on the court again and it felt amazing and encouraging.

 

(Not a glamour shot but I call it the “getting my life back – shot”!)

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In the locker room I met an old team mate of mine who I used to play with. She was happy to see me and asked what I have been up to, she hasn’t seen me in years. So I gave her a quick summary of my last five years, consisting of three hip surgeries with 2 torn labrums, 2 strass fractures in my pelvis, a broken hip and a total of 11 months on crutches.  That’ll do it to anybody.

I was told my old tennis team would absolutly  LOVE  to have me back as singles player but my competitive days are over. Hitting yes, grinding it out over several hours? Not so much.

It’s okay though. I had a great time playing competitive tennis and made it to No. 1 singles player in our club but this was in a different life.

~~~

After tennis I always take it easy. My op hip will get pretty achey from it but still at a level I can deal with, about 4/10. The next morning it’s usually better, but I really think tennis is helping me. Certain muscles need a smack on the back of their head, to stop snoozing, get their act together and start working again.

~~~

Remember my New years resolution “staying out of my OS office” in 2019? Well, this did not work out, have to see him next week. Fortunately not for the hip but he also does shoulders. Let’s see what story will unfold there…

~~~

And here the good news of the day – in 10 days we are going skiing!!! I am beyond excited (with a good portion of nervousness and respect for the mountian of course)! Finally some snow and outdoor fun.

By coincidence I also read an article about our ski resort, the ski patrol has new staff members… puppies who get trained for being avalanche dogs. They will be patroling the mountains and are ready for close ups.

 

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So it’s all good…

  • Tennis is coming along
  • Ski vacation planned
  • Cute puppies are waiting for me. Personal goal: pet as many as I can get my hands on! ❤️❤️❤️

 

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Hello new year!

1 year, 1 week PO

 

I am finally back, workout wise, where I was before I had my flare that lasted three weeks. Took me another two weeks to work myself up to it.

I am not any farther along than I was at 11 months PO, but I am getting there. I think going slower but a bit longer works well for me. Might not be what my OS had in mind with his advice “you need to push it” but I rather play it safe. The “slow but steady” method has worked well for me in three hip recoveries, so…at the moment I am at 15 minutes each – TM, stationary bike & Elliptical, level 1 and I am content.

~~~

Tried playing tennis again, first time indoors and back at the club since my injury. Felt awkward to be among all those people, like nothing ever happened.

 

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I was on the court for an hour with my husband, just hitting – nice and easy. That’s all I have for the moment anyways. There is no way for me playing a competitive match yet. They would beat me in no time.

 

Things I am still not good at, thanks to my injury, are:

  • low balls. It would mean going down & up in basically one motion and aside from feeling my op hip getting stuck, I can get neither down nor up in one swift motion. Yet.
  • sideways running to the right (op side), sprinting diagonal to the right and going backwards quickly – very difficult. I don’t trust my ability to do this yet and fear I would stumble over my own feet, so I don’t.
  • wide balls I let go.
  • Hip rotation for the forehand – nope.

 

Since movement on my forehand side (op side) is very difficult for me, I either have to cover the forehand side of the court with my backhand or let it go. Still need to work more on glutes, quads, cores and movement.

 

Two good news though:

  1. I was out there.
  2. All my cardio exercises are paying off, I hardly broke a sweat.

I will try again next week.

~~~

It feels so awesome to have a whole new year ahead. It’s like a white sheet of paper, a fresh start.

 

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In a few weeks we are going on a ski vacation and the FIRST thing I will do at the destination is bring in my skis for inspection. We had them waxed last year and they were slippery as hell.

It is  NOT  normal to have them slip  THAT  much from a standing position (!!!) that it causes me to fall and break my hip. If it really turns out somebody messed up the waxing technique and the edges are the incorrect angle, I am ready to twist some serious neck.

 

Commodore 1

~~~

I got some new athletic shorts with build-in bumpers on the thighs, to cushion the fall, in case one falls.

Good idea but these shorts were awful. They had a terrible fit, in front there was a pocket hanging down where I assume guys “you know what” goes (awkward…) and in the back, in the butt region there was a huge pad which made me feel like I am wearing full diapers. These are going back.

~~~

People keep asking me if I am not afraid of going back skiing. No, I am not. I am not afraid of skiing – I am afraid of falling. Ha.

We both got cheated for a whole winter and ski season and even though we are going back to the same place where it happened, we have been so many times at this resort, the good memories definitely outweigh the bad ones.

I am a bit nervous but not scared for going back but most of all, I am excited for swooshing through the snow, feeling free as a bird and having cold air hit my face. I am sure it will be an adventure and just to be sure, my icepack comes along on the trip.

 

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1 year surgery anniversary!

Today is New Years Eve and also the day when I had my ski accident, broke my hip and had to have emergency surgery last year, December 31. 2017. (If you want to read about it, go to blog post “A new years to remember”.)

So from now on, this day has a whole new meaning to me.

~~~

I will summarize what “one year in my life after a subcapital hip fracture” was like. It was  NOT  fun and I hope to never, ever have to go through this again.

 

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This is how my pins looked back then and still do. They are still in my hip and staying in.

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Here is the timeline:

  • Accident and emergency surgery on the same day, just hours apart.
  • 3 day hospital stay
  • Crutches and 6 weeks toe touching (= 10 % of weight bearing on operated leg)
  • PT started 2x/ a week at PO week 6; 1.5 hours each time.
  • After PO week 6 I added  V-E-R-Y  gently a tiny bit of body weight, week by week.
  • Full time on crutches – 14 weeks
  • At PO week 14 I started weaning off crutches, took me another 6 weeks. Total time on crutches – 20 weeks = 5 months.
  • I believe it was around PO month 4 that I was allowed to drive again.
  • Went to PT for 5 months, 2x/ a week and continued at home every day after; in the beginning up to 4 hours daily, then 3 hours, 2 hours, now I am at 1 hour.

 

Total cost of everything, hospital/ surgery/ meds/ PT etc. – a sweet $ 50.000!

 

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My  PT  was a nice guy and tried his best but since this is not a common injury for a 44 year old  AT ALL,  I was his first ever “young adult – hip pinning patient” and a bit of his personal guinea pig, to see which exercises work and which don’t.

~~~

I am now 1 year after my accident/ surgery and the advice I would tell others is this:

  • make research about this injury and recovery, read as much as you can about it and brush up on hip anatomy.
  • CRUCIAL: stay on crutches as long as you are told!!! This injury is not a joke and it takes time to heal. You can not rush it. Your body will take the time it needs.

 

  • Take your pain meds. I chose not to take them at home, it was a personal choice and the pain was brutal. Now I know, it would have been easier if I would have taken them.
  • Add weight to your operated leg gently and carefully.

 

  • Do your PT exercises daily and as told but at the same time, “listen to your body”. If it hurts, back up. Be ready for a tough few months, working really hard at PT!
  • Keep up with your exercises even after official  PT  is done. PT helps you get started, it’s up to you to keep up the maintenance.

 

  • Don’t go for “too much/ too soon”.
  • Be patient. It all is very time consuming and will take a long time.

 

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  • Don’t compare yourself with others. Every patient is different, starting at the age, fitness level, what kind of fracture and surgery they had; different orthopedic surgeons and PT’s have different philosophies and everybody heals at a different pace. There really are not two patients alike.
  • And last – try to stay positive despite everything. Unnecessary negativity will not only make the whole experience more miserable as it is already for you and others, it uses up energy that you could be using otherwise. So, focus and be patient.

 

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I really did not see this whole circus coming and could have nicely skipped the experience but one takes it step by step. With a little luck, everything will fall into place eventually and hopefully better things are around the corner.

For the new year I wish for no major health problems. A year without an accident and no hip surgery for a change; I don’t want to see a PT office from the inside or be a regular at my OS office. Not too much to ask, is it?

 

 

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Myths of hip fractures

First of all, I am done with my flare. Lasted solid three weeks and also meant three weeks of rest and no workouts. At the moment I am in the process of trying to work myself up again to what I could do “pre-flare”.

 

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In my last year, recovering from hip surgery No. 3, a complete hip fracture, I came across many comments and wanted to debunk some myths.

 

1.) “Hip fracture is not hip fracture.”

An incomplete fracture is a totally different story than a complete fracture or a stress fracture.

Also the location, angle and severity of the fracture takes a big role in how the surgery or recovery will be approached. Some fractures need surgery, some don’t. Some need pins, some rods while others just require rest and crutches.

~~~

2.) “Once you are done with crutches, you just walk again.”

Nope. First of all, you will start “weaning off” crutches, which will take another few weeks and is a gradual process, you don’t just “drop” your crutches and go.

And second, nobody walks normal right away again. You are dealing with muscle atrophy, the bone is still weaker and your gait will be off.

~~~

3.) “Physical therapy is overrated.”

Most certainly not. I can only speak of my own experience but I know 1000% I could not have done it and would not be where I am at right now, without physical therapy.

If you end up being on crutches for five months like I was, there is  TONS  to work on. Build up strength and endurance, isolating muscles to start firing again, range of motion needs to be worked on, gait, walking sideways/ backwards… an endless program.

~~~

4.) “Once you are done with PT, you are done with rehab.”

I wish. After surgery to your hips, your hips will never be the same again and to keep your hips happy, you better get used to the idea that is a lifetime commitment from now on.

~~~

5.) “You can speed things up by taking shortcuts.” 

This is a serious injury and requires medical expertise, good guiding at PT, following instructions from your OS and PT; dedication, time and effort.

You can not shorten up the time on crutches. Either your bone is not strong enough yet for bearing weight or your muscles mass is not there yet. Most likely both but if you still push for it, you  WILL  PAY  for it. With pain, a huge setback and you are at risk of refracturing the bone.

Also, the “no pain, no gain” attitude in the gym does not work. You can not bulldoze your way through this recovery, that’s just not the way this recovery works.

 

 

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6.) “It’s just a broken hip. Everything else still works.”

Initially yes, but once you are on crutches for a long period of time, it will create a domino effect on the entire body.

~~~

7.) “Only old people break their hip.” Definitely less common in young adults but still possible, I can assure you.

~~~

8.)  As read in Google “Recovery from a broken hip takes three months.”  Obviously a statement written by somebody who never had to go through it. A minimum of one year recovery for a complete fracture is more likely.

~~~

9.) “It’s just a broken bone.”

Wrong on so many levels. It is first of all a major weight bearing bone and second, the surgery/ recovery comes with many risks and can take many bad turns, even death in the cases of older people.

It also is not just an injury that affects you physically but also mentally. It’s not easy to go from a busy and active lifestyle to basically being disabled for a while, being dependant on others and staying put. It gets to you and it is also pretty demanding on your partner.

~~~

10.) “Hip pinning is an easier recovery than THR.”

Two complete different surgeries and therefore different approaches for recovery. THR means replacement, hip pinning means fixing the bone.

It just can not be compared. It’s apples and oranges.

 

 

That’s all.

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