Sports after hip pinning

8 months/ 1 week post operative – R  hip pinning

 

I was thinking for a while about it but didn’t feel quite ready for it – trying out for some tennis. Yesterday I went for it!

 

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It was only some light mini tennis, easy groundstrokes from the baseline and a bucket of balls for serving, all in all roughly 20 minutes and  VERY  simplified but hey, I was out there!

Of course it was no US Open material and nowhere close to where I used to be, ahem… three hip surgeries earlier, but still. One has to start somewhere!

 

I had a lot of fun and it was awesome to be back on the court.

Here is what I (hip wise) noticed:

  • footwork to the left forward works well, footwork (small, light steps) to the right & backwards feels like I move with the agility of an elephant.
  • (backhand) rotation with the hips to the L works well, (forehand) rotation with the hips to the R not great.
  • going for low balls – difficult, going down and coming up
  • overall stiff and tight feeling on my R side, mostly muscular
  • explosive and fast moves – nope.
  • Rotation, deep knee bends, weight transfer on the serve? Not really.
  • sudden change of direction? Not the best idea.
  • fast sprints? No.

 

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Lots of important things missing but I am sure it will get better with time. (Honestly, I thought it’d be worse with a lot of payback.)

It was a good try out and certainly a great way to confuse the muscles. My hip was NOT  hurting afterwards, I was a bit tight and tired but that was it. Considering where I am coming from, I was pretty happy.

 

So back to the usual – my op side needs more love and attention. Have to work on strengthening, building up muscle mass and gaining endurance. No rest for the weary.

 

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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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Putting the hip to the test

 

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7.5 months  PO,  R hip pinning.

 

We just came back from vacation and it was a good test to see where I am at. It was a  pretty active few days, nothing too crazy but still, challenging enough for somebody in my situation.

What I learnt was, “speed walking” is not my friend, nor are many “uneven, high” steps, uneven ground or long distance walking. (All in one day…)

 

The mentioned uneven and challenging ground.

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For example – we did a day trip and first thing – a pretty long walk on uneven ground. I thought I was smart by walking behind some senior citizens (they had the perfect pace for me, as pathetic as that is…) but we were told by the tour guide to speed it up and put “a bit more passion into it”.

I did the walk but on the way back my knees were really shaking.

The day was pretty challenging and in the evening I had  NOTHING  left. Zero. I was limping heavily; walking very, very slowly and was exhausted. Once home, I fell onto my bed and slept for two hours like in a coma, only to wake up in the exact same position, pretty much like this guy…

 

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What I learnt this vacation was, 10.000 steps are not 10.000 steps.

I can do 10.000 steps/ day now again but it is a  h-u-g-e  difference if I accumulate this with many, many short distances (grocery shopping, household chores, doing the Elliptical etc.)  OR  if I have to crank it out in several long distance marches. Definitely not the same thing.

~~~

Was I surprised by it? Not really, since this is hip surgery recovery No. 3 and it was a more severe injury, more invasive surgery and yep, more time on crutches than after the first or second surgery ( FAI & labral tear).

I have lost  A LOT  of muscle mass during my time on crutches (20 weeks) and it takes forever to get it back. Probably around two years for me, but I was happy about what I could do.

 

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We had to take one day off, to recover and give my hip some rest but otherwise I did everything. Walked over lots of gravel and uneven ground, climbed up to see waterfalls and iceberg lagoons, hiked around the crater of a vulcano and did a good amount of sitting in busses too.

 

Hiking around the vulcano crater and taking a well deserved break. 

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I had to do the activities my own speed and choose my walking paths more careful than others but I did it. Most of the times my op hip and surrounding muscles started aching in the evening which was okay. That’s why I brought the icepack along.

~~~

So I know now I can walk in an airport without wheelchair assistance and I can do a whole vacation again. Endurance on vacation was at about 40 % to where I was before I broke my hip.

I still need more overall strength and endurance in my op hip, glutes and quads, strengthen the knees as well and work on muscle imbalance. Unfortunately this will take its sweet time.

Some people can just go ahead and really crank it up in the gym to see faster results. Good for them but it does not work for me. My body heals slowly and what I have going for myself is persistence and consistency with my hip friendly, PT based workouts, patience and time will work for in my favour.

 

But the good news is, even though I am not as strong yet as I want to be,  I see improvement to a few months ago and considering where I am at in my recovery, I did really good.

I am happy. The trend is still going uphill.

 

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One lesson smarter

 

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Well, last week was disappointing.

 

My workouts were going well, I was making slow but steady progress and thought, I can upgrade to the next level on the stationary bike.

Going from my hard earned “17 minutes/ level 1” to “12 minutes/level 1 and trying out 5 minutes/ level 2” – BIG  MISTAKE!!

Both of my hips were absolutely miserable at night, like 5/10 and especially my op hip was angry and deeply  aching for another two days. What a price to pay for 5 minutes…

 

I had to take three days off to rest and give the hips a break. And going back to my workout routine, it was a slow start and working my way up again, which took a whole week.

 

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I was really surprised by this since it felt absolutly fine “while I did it” and I thought for sure, being 7 months PO I can do it. Guess not.

With this I also can forget riding a bike outdoors anytime soon. To ride a real bike is a minimum of level 3 and if “5 minutes on level 2” already do this, I do not want to think about it what level 3 would do to me. Bummer.

~~~

But on the bright side, it’s another month closer to skiing! We are getting all those E-mails about ski resorts for winter 2019 and I really want to go.

People are always shocked when they hear I want to go skiing again after what happened but isn’t this the point of recovery? To go back doing what you love? And in all honesty, it didn’t really happen “during” skiing.

If I would have been going too fast and had a wipe out, then I would have kind of asked for it, but I wasn’t. I was standing still on my skies and sliding over, when I slipped and fell. (So lame…)

 

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Maybe that’s why I am not scared of going back. It was a super stupid accident, something that can happen in my own driveway or pretty much anywhere. Plus I think skiing will not be as tiring and demanding as let’s say playing tennis. Skiing is sliding and using gravity, tennis is more of an impact sport.

I am not seeing biking happening any time soon, but I do see myself skiing again and if it’s just some easy blues.

~~~

Till then – back to the park, walking my daily rounds and doing my hip friendly workouts in the gym. I’ll get there, one way or another.

 

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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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Plot twist

6 months, 3 weeks PO

 

Since it is  VERY  unusual for somebody in the early 40’s to just “slip & fall” and have a complete hip fracture, it was time to investigate further. A  DEXA  scan was performed to measure my bone density in my spine and left femoral neck (my R, op hip, has too much metal in it. Go figure.).

My spine is great but my hip shows early signs of “Osteopenia”.

 

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Osteopinea is the step “before” osteoporosis. The bone is not quite as dense as a healthy bone but not as bad as one with osteoporosis.

~~~

Last time I had one done was 8 years ago, before my hip saga started five years ago and it came back with very good results, spine and hip.

 

I made research and know now that I got this probably because of being on crutches for so long and being very restricted. (3 hip surgeries/ 4 years = 44 weeks on crutches.)

To maintain good healthy bones you need a good, healthy diet and weight bearing exercises. My diet is indeed very healthy and I am quite active but I have not been able to do “sports” like I used to. I am either in recovery mode or doing physical therapy/ exercises since years.

My first two hip surgeries, combined with two stress fractures in my pelvis, took me three years to recover and now I am in my 3rd recovery and in my 6st month.

 

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In one medical article I read “if one is inactive or bedridden for a long time, it can cause it”. I am sure that’s it. EVERY  other question I answered with no.

  • Are you over 50? No.
  • Are you done with PMS? No.
  • Do you drink alcohol? No.
  • Do you drink soda? No.
  • Do you consume a lot of coffein? No.
  • Are you petit? No.
  • Are you small boned? No.
  • Do you drink a lot of coffee? No.
  • Does it run in your family? No.

 

Some other risks include being white and female. Guilty.

I have to make more research because the  LAST  thing I need are brittle bones. With Osteopinea also the risk for hip fractures increases. No kidding!!!

 

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My doctor prescibed me a diet, rich in calcium, take vitamin D 3 pills and exercise “more” which is a bit easier said than done because all of this aside, I am still recovering from a hip fracture and need to be sensible about it.

~~~

Looking back to December 31. 2017, my accident on the slopes – it really was the perfect storm and the last missing piece of the puzzle was just found.

 

Time to rethink and face another challenge. At least I know now.

 

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Things are going according to plan

6.5 months PO

 

I am doing good. My hips like my new PT/ workout routine much better than physical therapy which turned into bootcamp in the end.

 

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I still get achey with my op hip, on “very special” days it’s both hips, but in general they are much calmer. Compared to two months ago I feel much stronger too. Of course that will be put to the test at some point and I probably still can’t keep up with others over longer distances but I am getting there.

For example, I can walk a bit more than a mile now and I even can pass people, so I am officially not the slowest one in the park anymore. Ha!

~~~

  • My Elliptical is up to 11 minutes on level 1,
  • the stationary bike I can do 16 minutes on level 1 and
  • walking on the treadmill is also okay for 16 minutes, medium fast walking speed. I guess adding a minute every two weeks is safe. Of course it’d be nice to go for more but what’s the result? Two pissed off hips.

 

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At my 6 month follow up with my orthopedic surgeon X-rays were taken and everything is healing nicely. There is continued bone healing and bone remodeling taking place and no complications.

 

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He reminded me again, that this is a recovery that can take up to a year. I believe it but I do feel like I have, for the most part, my life back already.

I can take care of my family again, run the household & errands and except for doing sports, I am the same as before I so geniusly kissed the snow. Now it’s all about fine tuning.

~~~

He examined my hip and it is gliding smoothly and its mechanics work well. It is not completely anatomic anymore since the fracture was impacted and I might have aches here and there from now on, but when do I not? I expect things to get even better with time and I am already very happy with the healing process.

 

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I should “keep doing what I am doing” with my exercises and should be able to go skiing again early next year. Music to my ears!

~~~

My daily steps are also improving. I am now doing 10,000 steps several times a week but I also learnt two lessons the hard way last week.

a) I went too fast on my stationary bike and was limping and hurting the whole next day.

b) I have to watch my walking speed and gait. For one of my walks I walked too fast and my stride was too long, was hurting the whole night. So back to walking a bit slower again and making smaller steps.

 

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