Riding the rollercoaster – and not liking it.

15,5 months PO

 

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My week of taking the recommended amount of Ibuprofen twice a day is over. Didn’t do anything.

I tried again, 12 minutes, on the Elliptical and paid for it. Falls in the category “felt good while I did it….”

Went for an easy walk in the park – payback again, about 4-5/10 pain in the joint, lots of pressure in the hip and the hip muscles in the groin are feeling like they are in some kind of spasm, on and off. It’s mostly when I am laying down.

So what’s the plan now? Not to lay down anymore, keep going like the Duracell bunny??

 

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Why does my hip do okay for short distances (walking around in the house) but anything, just slightly strenuous, over 10 minutes will set it off? Very mysterious.

God knows this is not my first flare, I have had many in my three hip surgery recoveries, but the longest one was three weeks and then I got back into the game. This my fifth week now with this and I don’t see any improvement.

 

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Exercises in the gym have come to a complete stop except for my walk in the park. I know it won’t be pretty afterwards but I need to get out.. it might not be ideal for the hip, but it’s good for the soul. Plus I am not the slave of my hip.

During the day I feel okay but there is always this kind of “shadow” looming over the hip.

~~~

I now called my doctor for an appointment and my assumption is, an  MRI  is upon the horizon, to get to the bottom of this.

 

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A pretty safe way to know something is going on with my R hip is, when the other hip is unhappy too.  My L is an operated hip as well and is sensitive to anything that’s out if the ordinary. My built- in alarm system, so to speak.

My L hip is wonderful and easy going, it takes quite a bit to upset it and if this goes off, then my ears go up.

 

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~~~

For now I wait for my appointment next week and we’ll go from there.

 

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Back in the OS office

 

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Little update about my flare/ butt ache.

I saw my OS for my shoulder and once that was taken care off, he asked about my hip. (Practical…one stop shop!)

 

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I told him, in general my op hip is fine but since about four weeks it gets stressed out super easily, I had to cut my workouts in half, have to walk slower and just do less of everything.

 

The only thing I can think of that I changed in the last month was going from “20 minutes/ level 1” on the Elliptical to “18 minutes/ level 1” and “add 2 minutes/ level 2″, which I thought was quite reasonable. I know my hip is very sensitive to change, so I wanted to introduce the next level very gently, to not stress it out too much.

The same evening my hip was really angry, it felt like an alien, trying to come out. Deep hip pain, lots of pressure in there, about 5/10. It got slightly better the next day but the hip never has been the same since then. Things that I did before that were just fine, will now set it off.

 

                                                   I am not amused.

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I told my OS about it and he said, there is no magical timeline aka “at PO month xy you are supposed to do this or that.” Everybody heals at a different pace.

That said, 20 minutes on the lowest level on the Elliptical/ bike or stationary bike do seem a bit on the slow side to him, being that far out. He also said, that he knows I am a slow healer though where he usually counts in “weeks” with patients recovery, he knows he has to count in “months and years” with me.

 

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For the moment I am supposed to take 2 Ibuprofen twice a day for a week. Hopefully this will get the inflammation down.

If I still have problems in a few weeks, then we’ll do an MRI with “metal supression technique” because of my three lovely pins in my hip. If we did a normal MRI, the metal would distort the picture and the radiologist would not be able to see the hip as well.

What he would be looking for is AVN, which would be super uncool. But that would be the worst case scenario.

 

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I also asked him about my daily butt pain. His theory is, since I am still unbalanced, front to back and right hip versus left hip, it’s most likely hamstrings. Tight hip flexor in the front means pissy hamstrings in the back. It’s all connected. If one thing is off, it will effect other things as well, like a domino effect.

~~~

So I guess for the moment I keep snacking on Ibuprofen, give my hip some extra love and wait for this to pass. I’ll keep my fingers crossed.

 

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Flares are not cool.

I am almost 15,5 months PO now and still not done with my latest flare. Not sure what exactly it was that my op hip did not like, but this is week 4 of whatever it is going on.

My R hip likes to be a drama queen for absolutly no reason.

 

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My usual walks in the park? My hip is not a fan. Sitting for too long? Forget it. Working out my precious 20 minutes? In my dreams. I am back at 10 minutes MAX, on a good day, then my hip has had enough.

Not sure what majesty does not approve of and just to make it extra worth it, my other hip is chipping in too. Sympathy pain – never a dull moment.

I lost track flare number what this is. Sure feels like “cut 98”.

 

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The other day I looked something up in my first hip blog (this is my third and hopefully “three times is the charm”) and I could  NOT  believe what I read!! At 5 months PO after hip arthroscopy for labrum tear I rode the stationary bike on level 5.  F-I-V-E!!

Level five is something of a different universe for me. I’d be thrilled to pieces to manage level 2 at this point. Eventually I will get to the next level and I will be very happy there but again, five??

 

 

I think next week I will fix up my bike again. I have no idea if my hip is ready for it, probably not (next flare, here I come) but I’d sooo love to go for a quick bike ride on flat ground in the park.

And since I am at making plans, I’d also love to do a 5 k walk this year. Hopefully there is some event going on that fits in my schedule. I would not walk it with “making time” on my mind; for me, it’d be a victory to do it. Just walking 5 k on my time.

 

Last year this time I was 3 months PO and just allowed to put 50% weight on my hip/ leg, not great memories. This year is flying by much faster, is much more fun I must say. Even with the stupid flare. I take a flare over crutches any day.

 

 

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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8 month PO update

Another 31st of the month and another milestone – 8 months post operative to hip pinning, to the day. (Longest 8 months ever.)

 

Fortunately I have more good to say than bad.

 

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The positive:

  • I can live a normal life again.
  • I am mostly pain free, aching now and then but nothing dramatic.
  • My good hip took quite a beating for many months but has calmed down quite a bit.
  • My workout routine is going well. (Elliptical – 15 minutes/ level 1; treadmill – 20 minutes walking medium pace; stationary bike – 17 minutes/ level 1. Of all of these exercises my op hip probably likes the bike the least.)
  • Good gait
  • I can walk a mile very nicely

 

Best compliment I have gotten recently?  From my husband, who said “if one does not know you had a hip fracture, one would never know it, just by looking at you.”

 

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The negative:

  • Sports are still not happening. Neither is outdoor biking on a real bike.
  • Walking anything over a mile gets tiring very quickly and the more I walk, the slower I get and the more the limp comes back.
  • Muscle atrophy is still a big subject
  • Muscle imbalance

 

Task ahead:

  • Keep doing what I am doing
  • Work on endurance
  • Build up strength
  • Keep  ROM  going
  • REPEAT! 

 

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7 months and counting

 

 

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“7 months post operative” sound like a long time but it’s really not. Complete recovery from this takes a full year and since I had a lot of quality time on crutches (20 weeks), that’s not even including building up the muscle mass again.

But I am doing good, I feel stronger and less achier every month but I still have ways to go. I can not really tell the difference between week to week but I sure notice a difference to how I felt two months ago.

~~~

Right now I am waiting for an appointment with an Endocrinologist. I read “if a womens estrogen is too low, it can hinder calcium from getting absorbed into the bones.” Pre menopausal stuff….

 

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~~~

My workouts are going fine, still 5-6x a week for about an hour a day. I try to alternate between the Elliptical & treadmill every day and add PT exercises, stretches, planks (of which I  HATE every single second!), elastic bands and light weights to it.

Right now I am at:

  • Elliptical 14 minutes/ level 1
  • treadmill 18 minutes/ 1.7 walking speed
  • stationary bike 17 minutes/ lowest level

And I admit it, by the time Friday comes around my op hip is tired and aches.

(The one thing I am still struggling with is reaching my op side foot for doing a pedicure or putting lotion on. It has gotten much better, in the first few months my foot seemed like mile away and was very, very difficult to reach. It’s much better but it’s not as flexible as the good leg.)

 

Stairs are no longer a problem, walking goes fine but I am not sure how far really. I know I can for one mile nicely but I have not gone for longer walks yet. Anyways, I am enjoying my summer and it’s nice to be out in the park like everybody else.

 

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It’d be nice to get back into other things too, like tennis but it’s still too early for that. I am not very good with walking backwards or sidesteps yet, leave alone doing it with quick footwork. I know it for sure, if I try it right now, I stumble over my own feet and smack on the hard court.

 

I’d also love to ride a bike again. A real bike. Outdoors.

I have not ridden a real bike in four years. I am always in some kind of hip surgery recovery mode. So that’s my goal for this summer, go biking for a bit.

My goals in general are very modest. If I can get to 20 minutes on the Elliptical, the bike and the treadmill after going through three hip surgeries, I would be very, very happy.

 

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Working like a dog at PT

5 months, 1 week PO.

~~~

Back to PT twice a week, 1.5 hours each time and hard work. (If I am not in the best shape of my life after all this then I don’t know.)

~~~

Here is a summary of what it takes at 5 months + PO into the recovery from hip pinning.

 

  • 30x hip flexion on the table to warm up the hip
  • 30x rolling the big ball towards me, for  ROM
  • 30x hands free bridges on the big ball
  • 30x clams with a heavy resistance band around the knees
  • 30x sideways kicks for the adductors

 

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  • 20x walking sideways with second toughest resistance band around ankles
  • 20x walking “ ice scater” style with second toughest resistance band around the ankles (# burn baby burn)
  • 20x sitting down and getting up from a chair while holding a 4lbs./ 2 kg ball in my outstretched arms
  • 20x exercise with resistance band for the adductors
  • 20x exercises with resistance band for the abductors

 

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  • 20x hip flexion machine for adductors, 15 lbs./ 7 kg
  • 20x hip flexion machine for abductors, 15 lbs./ 7 kg
  • 20x hip flexion machine for flexion, 15 lbs./ 7 kg
  • 20x hip flexion machine for extension, 15 lbs./ 7 kg
  • and  REPEAT  with the other leg

 

  • 40x leg press with 70 lbs./ 35 kg with both legs
  • 30x leg extension, op leg  ONLY  with 30 lbs./ 15 kg
  • 20x walking the balance beam
  • 3x 30 seconds the wobbly board for balancing the body for- and backwards
  • 3x 30 seconds the wobbly board for balancing the body sideways

 

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  • 10x forward lunges
  • 10x sideways lunges
  • 10 minutes slow pace, walking on the treadmill

And in the end my PT stretches me out and gives my hip flexor some love.

 

I am pretty burned out after all this and both my hips need a rest. Most of the times I collapse on my couch and ice the night away but feel okay again the next morning.

 

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It was also good news to hear I have not lost range of motion over vacation time.

~~~

My daily pensum of home PT takes a good hour and I take turns doing the stationary bike, the TM and Elliptical, each twice  week, usually to warm up.

Stationary bike I can do 15 minutes/ level 1; Elliptical 8 minutes/ level 1 and the TM 10 minutes but it all adds up. One day per week I take off from PT, to give my body rest.

~~~

This week I added going back to  ART  treatment to the mix. I wanted to go sooner but I did not want to cross a busy road while still being on crutches. I wanted to be off them and be able to cross the road safely.

I saw this woman before, after my labral tear surgeries, she helped me where nobody else could. ART stands for active release therapy and is basically a deep tissue massage.

And not one of those “nice relaxing” massages either. ART is  w-o-r-k.

My therapist put me in various pretzel positions on her massage table and while she stretched my hip or leg, she dug her fingers into trigger points, manually broke up scar tissue & adhesions and found entrapped nerves.

I will see her now regularely again. Getting rid of scar tissue etc. takes time.

~~~

My therapist asked me which hip it was I broke. “The right.” “So, did they do the other one too?”

( Hmm?? It’s not like the surgeon pinned my hip and once she was done she said to her medical team “well, since we have her on the table… flip her over! Might as well pound some screws in the other one too. Just in case.”)

I try to only have one hip drama at a time.

 

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To finish off with some good news:

  1. stairs work much better now. Almost like normal and naturally “best” in the morning when I am fresh and my hip is rested. I am still sticking to smaller stair cases. If longer ones are present I choose the elevator.
  2. my PT said my gait does not look robotic anymore.
  3. (a little mean but…) I was not the slowest one in the park anymore. I passed one guy with a cane.

 

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