Posted on January 2, 2015
My expierences with hip impingement & labral repair arthroscopic surgery
I have received some questions about my experience with hip impingement and/or FAI arthroscopic surgery lately, so I thought I would do a post (with pictures) about it. This is based on my experience, so please don’t take any medical advise from me. Actually, you probably shouldn’t take any advise from me. Unless it’s about coffee, yoga pants or running shoes….
Here are some common questions:
- What is hip impingement or FAI? Was it caused by running?
There are some different types of impingement, for me the neck of the femur had a little too much bone which caused it pinch into the rim of the hip socket. This caused the labrum to wrinkle (not tear thankfully we caught it early) and the friction formed a tiny cyst.
Range of motion was restricted and felt like my hip was ‘catching’. I had pain and a burning sensation in the front of my hip where my thigh meets the hip and top of the butt deep inside the joint. Oddly enough the first symptom was a shocking pain while running in my left hamstring right above the back of my knee. It was bad enough I could not run through it even if I tried. Long story short, my PT figured out there was an alignment issue between the hip, knee + ankle. He would align them and I would get a couple fantastic runs in, then be right back in his office with the same pain within a week or two.
- How were you diagnosed? What symptoms did you have/how long?
A couple years ago when we lived in the Bay Area, my hip started bothering me a bit. Sitting, especially in the car would cause the back of my left leg to feel tingly/numb. Also the same shocking pain while running was intermitted. I saw an orthopedic surgeon, who sent me to physical therapy. My PT then, aligned the hip, knee + ankle and gave me hip strengthening exercises to do. I was fine for awhile, but again, right back to see him in a few weeks. When we moved to Monterey it started to worsen and was more frequent so I started working with a new local physical therapist.
I worked with Will at Ryan Ranch PT for most of 2014, trying several different types of conservative therapy. All of which failed. Finally on Halloween 2014, Will did some research to find the name of a specialist who is highly regarded, Dr. Sampson in San Francisco. After a Google search, I found that he actually invented the arthroscopic surgery he preformed on me.
I called that day and made the soonest appointment, December 4th.
On a side note: This was not cheap and my insurance didn’t cover the entire bill, but I plan to have hips (and run, duh!) for the rest of my life, so I picked up a couple extra shifts to help cover the cost of the best surgeon I could find. It was absolutely worth every penny, so far.
I also had an MRI and X Rays looked at by 4 specialists, all of which said everything looks fine, go run. Or the worst one, ‘maybe running isn’t for you, have you tried cycling?’ Yah, that went over like a fart in church.
Maybe it’s just me, but I am assuming getting a proper diagnosis is rather difficult, at least from my perspective.
Stitches just a few days post op. Apparently Bandaids + I don’t get along.
- How did surgery go?
According to Dr. Sampson, it was ‘text book perfect.’
I was surprised at how well I felt after. I was up walking that night, but more on that below.
- Will you be able to run again? If so, when?
Hell to the yah!! The current plan is to start PT at weeks 4 or 5 post op and hopefully ease back into running around week 12. I was warned it might take up to a year to be completely pain free, but I’ll take it.
Hashtags sexyandIknowit + bitchesgetstitches
- What did you dislike the most about surgery and/or recovery?
The waiting game in pre op. That was the most stressful/anxiety inducing time in all the land. Pretty sure I was one step away from needing enough Xanax to put a horse down or quite possibly half a step away from a divorce.
Poor Mike had the difficult task of trying to keep me calm which was like trying to herd cats. I thought the worst part would be laying on the operating table awake waiting, but when that time came, I was actually relieved and just ready to get it over with. That was, until the anesthesiologist walked in and started working behind me. My heart rate went from the 70’s to the 150’s in seconds. I told him I was anxious, he looked up and said heck yah you are, this will help and within seconds I was completely calm. I have no idea what that calming juice was, but I am sure it is what dreams are made of.
Day 2 post op doing the grandma shuffle into my PT’s office to use their stationary bike. They are super awesome for letting me use it because the walk from the parking lot to the gym was quite a hike.
- After surgery did you use crutches?
This is sort of a sticky area. I was instructed to use crutches for 1-2 weeks and slowly transition to one and then none. The night I got home from surgery, Mike carried me to the couch and handed me crutches. I took 2 steps with them and the forward swinging motion hurt way more than doing a grandma shuffle, so I threw them away.
From day one, I followed the ‘if it hurts, don’t do it’ rule of thumb very closely. I asked my surgeons PA about not using crutches and that was pretty much her advise as well.
When can you start working out again?
Day 2 post op I did 10 minutes on the stationary bike. I took it really slow with zero resistance and it felt amazing to move around.
I am now 16 days post op and up to 20 minutes on level 3 resistance. My range of motion has drastically improved. Looking forward to my first post op appointment next week. Crossing my fingers I’ll be able to bump it up a bit.
- How was your pain level post surgery and how did you manage it?
My hip pain level was about a 5-6 waking up which for me I was fine with and didn’t need additional pain medication.
But my knee hurt the most. The swelling was insane but we didn’t realize how bad it was until we got home. They did tell me Dr. Sampson uses a lot of saline solution and this would likely happen. Good thing is the swelling in my hip, knee + foot went away within a few days. My doctor & I swear wearing compression socks helped speed up the process, but I’ll never know for sure.
They prescribed me Oxycontin and Tylenol with Codeine for pain. I have never taken any type of narcotics so I started really easy with a half an Oxy the night of surgery to stay ahead of the pain. The dosage was to take 1-2 but I don’t ever play by the rules. I also took the other half in the morning with breakfast but honestly, don’t think I even needed it at all. I did stick with the Tylenol with Codeine for a few days which totally threw my intestines into a tizzy fit. Coupled with the normal IBS issues. Yah that was not my kind of party. Guess I’ll have to take what I said about the worst part (above) back because that was was without a doubt the worst part about the surgery so far.
Oh and I took 1 full Oxy by complete accident one night. Holy smokes, I took a trip without a tour guide and it was the best thing ever, but that is a completely other post. Ha!
I will have to do a post op/follow up post later. This one was wordy enough and I really need a coffee refill.
Any other questions?
Has anyone else had hip surgery? Share your experiences.