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.

2014-12-30 16.33.38

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.

2014-12-21 14.25.37

 

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.

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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.

 

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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.

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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.

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  • 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. 

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44 Comments on “My expierences with hip impingement & labral repair arthroscopic surgery

  1. I always love your positive vibe! Kudos to u thru this whole process to get the best advice and surgeon! I just laughed out loud when I read the part about taking a whole OxyContin

  2. Have you had any good PTs locally that work on hip, knee, ankle alignment? I’m having issues and need to find a PT familiar with running related issues

  3. Good info! The tear in the labrum just sounds absolutely horrid. I’m glad you were able to get a true diagnosis and get the issue fixed!

  4. I’m surprised you don’t start PT until 4 weeks out! I started 2 days after surgery, and my protocol is to go for 16 weeks (blah, probably won’t make it that long though). Good job on the bike!! I’m still at a 5 resistance for 30 minutes, but man I sweat like a cow during that, so I might wait awhile to bump it to 6! Ha ha! Also, I used crutches for like 5 minutes too. I walked better without them. And of course, I had awful swelling and pain in my first surgery, but the 2nd one they wrapped it up (like a compression) right afterwards and I think that helped. I did a blog on my progress the first time, it was myfaistory.blogspot
    Com. Also, google the blog “Fitness is Delicious”. She had it done too (her 2nd surgery was a few weeks after my first). Lastly, when you are a few months out- get ART! It’s Active Release Technique. It worked amazing, especially after I started running!

  5. I hope you have a quick recovery! I actually have had a labral tear on MRI when I had hip stress fracture but so far I have avoided surgery. I look forward to hearing about your recovery.

  6. I’m currently 4 weeks post op from FAI/labral tear surgery. Unfortunately my MRI showed I had 2 labral tears. I ended up using crutches for about 10 days and still use them if I have to walk longer distances. Like Meredith I started bike at PT the day after my surgery. My surgeon gave me an 18 week rehab guide and I have my first appointment with my physiotherapist to check my form today. Am hoping she can massage my glutes to release some of the tension in them.

    All the best with your recovery 🙂

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  8. I am so glad I found your blog! I had this same surgery in 2012. It’s funny because I had the exact same reaction to the bandages…I got horrible blisters! Because of the extra bone shaving that had to be done, I was on crutches for 5 weeks and did not feel 100% for 6 months. Even though it was a long road, I am SO GLAD I did the surgery because I am pain free now and am back to my active lifestyle! Thanks for sharing your story!

  9. Hi, I stumbled across your blog through Skinny Runner, and I have been catching up on you and hip surgery. I can totally relate to you, as I am an active 35 yo female who was diagnosed with FAI last September, supposedly due to crappy, ill formed joints. Unfortunately, my labrum was already torn and I had no cartilage left, surgeon said I had about a half inch of bone already gone from the grinding occurring in my joint. Therefore, my only option was to have a hip replacement, which I had done on March 2. I am going stir crazy now, from being on physical restrictions that prevent me from working out, so I was finding patience through your recovery journey! Unfortunately, I do not have involvement of PT, everything is “me driven”, so I have really been trying to push myself to get through this, which had led to a painful, can’t get comfortable kind of night!
    Anyway, sorry for the long comment, but I have found few younger people who have gone through something like this that I could relate too. I’m so happy to hear that you’re progressing so well, and these sunny days here in Charleston, SC, have me itching to be out running, but I am trying to stay patient! I wish you continued success, and can’t wait to read about your first run!
    -Kristie F

  10. Hi, so I think I have the same thing you had….a pincer impingement…possibly cam too. Your story and feelings for running seem to be exactly like mine. For 8 years, I chased every solution and was put in every direction…pt’s, chiros, yoga, strengthening, stretching, acupuncture….and on and on. Well, finally, just a couple days ago, I went to an orthopedic, after a simple x-Ray, he now wants to send me in for an MRI. My minimal pain, and sporadic tightness that jumps around throughout my lower half, makes me fear that I will get the same response as you—meaning, 4 professionals will look at my MRI and will tell me nothing is wrong and that maybe running just isn’t for me (which I’ve been told many times in the last 8 years)….but I truly feel that this hip impingement IS the issue…simply because I’ve exhausted everything else…many times over 8 years! Many parts of your story are EXACTLY like mine….especially tightness in the hamstring just above the knee!….so, after rambling on now—here’s my question….did you have contrast injected into your hip before MRI or no?…
    Thank you, and thanks for your blog!…I think you may have helped me more than anyone else in the last 8 years by just telling your story.
    -j.

  11. I’m 4 weeks post opt from my surgery. I do ok doing the day but when I go to bed I’m in so much pain, from my hip down. I can’t sleep at night. I have tried the pillows, pain meds make me sick.
    Is this normal? Can someone please help me out I’m going into a depressed stage.

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  13. Hi there. I was just diagnosed with a labrum tear in my hip. Did you have to take time off work to recover from the surgery? Are you awake while they do the surgery? I meet with my doctor on Monday to discuss my options and I’m really nervous. Do you think the surgery was with it? Thanks for the blog!!

    • I had hip impingement, but didn’t have a labrum tear. It was wrinkled and a cyst developed from the friction.
      I was off work for the winter, so I’m not sure about how much time you might need to take off. It depends on your type of job. If you’re sitting at a desk I would say not too long. I was put under GA for surgery, they wouldn’t allow a local. And yes, the surgery was 100% worth it!! I had one of the best surgeons & anesthesiologist which made it even better. Good luck and feel free to reach out with any other questions!

  14. Glad to hear that all went well with the surgery and thank you for sharing your story. I recently had the misfortune of having to under a pretty intense surgical procedure. I had to undergo some reconstructive surgery in order to correct a severe trauma. The whole process leading up to the surgery was traumatic for obvious reasons. I don’t want to go into too much detail but during my surgery, my team used a FAW blanket and it helped so much with my post surgical recovery. I credit my super quick recovery to the blanket. Here are some facts about the system http://www.truthaboutbairhugger.com

  15. I came across your site on google to see if I could find other’s with this condition and what their experiences were. I got on the floor, cross legged, in my office to work on a computer problem in Aug. 2013. When I stood back up, my right hip started hurting, thus the beginning of my journey. My diagnosis didn’t take very long. Just by looking at my x-rays, my orthopedic specialist could tell that I had hip impingement. A MRI couldn’t confirm that I had labral tears. In November 2013, I could no longer handle the pain, after a series of more x-rays, I went in for surgery. Indeed, I had a major labral tear. My doc also confirmed that I had impingement in my left hip as well. During my recovery, (9 weeks on crutches, and 12 weeks of PT), I tore my left side. The right hip surgery was successful. Due to a dispute with my ins company, I couldn’t have my left hip repaired until Nov 2014, almost a year to the day of my right surgery. Unfortunately, the surgery was a failure and to this day I have to use a cane to walk. Six months ago, I just gave up after the doc told me there was nothing more they could do. After 2 years, I was so tired of these hip issues I just took a break from dealing with it. During that time, I have either re-torn my right side, or there is another problem since pain has returned. I am about to start with another doc over 100 miles away from my home, because there is no one else in my area who deal with this. I can still do most of what I want, still work, and do my best to not let this affect my daily life. I am just a little slower :). I am more determined than ever to get my life back! I hope your recovery and anyone else’s recovery that reads this goes well!

  16. Going in for this surgery on the 21st of April. Hopefully I can make a speedy recovery. Are you 100%? Also thank you for the article. It kinda goes me an idea of what I could be going in to.

  17. I have recently (April 4, 2016) had right hip arthroscopic surgery. It sounds like my Physical Therapist is a bit more conservative than yours. It took me about 2 weeks of strength exercises to get to the point where there put me on the bike. I’m just frustrated about the weight gain after I had this surgery, and not being able to be active. It’s not much 6-8 lbs but it’s enough to make my clothes too tight. I’m 5’1″ and 119lbs right now and I have a petite frame so I guess 6-8lbs is a lot for me. I like to be between 108-115 that’s when I feel my best. I use to workout 3 times a week. I feel this surgery has been such a set back. Anyways does anyone have any advice on how I could maybe lose weight while recovery or at least help me maintain my muscle mass so it does turn back to flab. (Which it has pretty much already done, 5weeks post op)

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  19. HI!
    Thank you for this blog. Sure helps me feel like I am not alone in this. I had FAI (pincer type) with a labral tear surgery in March 2016. It has been a slow recovery. The dr says I was born with a structural abnormality that became an issue through overuse from exercise. I did 2 ironman races- so that’s prolly what pushed me over the edge. I am 2 months post op right now and I have just as much pain as I did before the surgery. Is that normal? What is everyone else’s experience with this? I am worried that the surgery was not successful. Dr said that at 6 months I should be 100% but I don’t know if I believe it at this rate.

    • My 16 year old son had labrum tear – hip impingement surgery 8 weeks ago. He still has bad inner upper groin pain on that side. I really hope it goes away and he is feeling discouraged!

    • Would like to know your outcome. I am in same situation being told scar tissue at 10 weeks. Same pre op pain or worse. Doing therapy and water therapy, slooowly getting stronger but pinching while and n groin and night pain are still major.

  20. I also had this surgery done. Expect it was open surgery, so I have about a 15 inch scar down my leg. Had the surgery done 5 years ago and have been in the worse pain ever. My hip locks up so much and laying down causes it to lock up the most. About 2 years ago I went back but before I did I had to get xrays. So I decided to look at the x-ray (I was never shown the xrays after) on the xrays I seen screws so I called the hospital and explained I must have got someone else’s xrays. They informed me that they was the right ones. When I went to the doctor and asked why I have screws in my hip he just told me that they had to reset locate my hip. Also after this surgery my leg is about 1/4inch shorter now. Yes that don’t sound like much but has now caused tons of issues with my back and knees. This doctor then told me that I must be lying or it was shorter before the surgery because there is no way he could have caused it. But I guess you have to be very careful what doctor you use because some doctors just don’t know what they are doing.

  21. Well, my surgery is in 2 weeks. I have this ridiculously huge brace I will be wearing and I am having trouble finding anything to fit over it. I was told I would be wearing it for 2wks.
    Anyone have ideas, suggestions, things that have worked for them?

  22. Jacqueline, I met with dr Sampson yesterday, really nice man. I live in San Francisco and would love some feed back from you in your experience and how you are currently doing..great blog, thank you?

  23. I had a right labral tear repair in March of 2014 after years of hip pain. On MRI it appeared I had a huge tear from anterior to posterior. However, when my ortho got in there, I actually have a large cartilage defect (most likely born with) and a small tear anteriorly. He repaired my tear and I was non-weight bearing for 8 weeks and then limited weight bearing for a couple more. Approximately 4 weeks after surgery I began having pain again (I literally had no pain after surgery) in my anterior and medial hip region. With every attempt at hip flexion, I have pain. I finally returned to my ortho in March of 2016 who suggested a steroid injection in my psoas muscle. I did this and did have some relief for about 6 weeks, but then it returned. I just had another steroid injection without any relief. I am seeing a PT who tends to be more manual (also one of my instructors from PT school). We are both completely bewildered at what is causing my pain. Has anyone else experienced this?

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  25. Hi, I’m having this surgery in June and am happy to have found your blog. I’ve been scrubbing the internet for any information I can get about how everyone elses recovery has been and it seems like yours was tolerable. Thanks for sharing!

    • As long as you have a fantastic surgeon, you will do great. I’m so happy I did it.

      Also cycling & physical therapy post op is imperative in recovery.

      Let me know how it goes.

      J

  26. I had my FAI surgery back in April and unfortunately my hip is worse than before. At 48 they say I’m too young for a hip replacement.

      • No I have not. I have been offered a revision surgery but I declined. At this point any further procedures would be experimental, and I don’t feel like talking 8 weeks or more to recover.

  27. Hi Jacqueline,

    I wanted to tell you that I have enjoyed reading your posts about your experiences with hip arthroscopy. I have been dealing with hip issues for quite some time and finally last year I was diagnosed with a labrar tear and cam impingement (left hip). After trying pretty much everything, I am now seriously considering surgery. I have seen at least 3 surgeons in San Diego and so far the one I feel most comfortable with is Dr. Catherine Robertson from UCSD Sports Medicine.

    I have done extensive research about this doctor and about the procedure itself. I am so scared to go through with it, especially because I don’t have any family members near me, so I would have to go through the recovery process alone. I was wondering if you know anything about Dr. Robertson or any people in San Diego who have had this type of surgery.

    Thanks again for your blog.

    Luis V.

    P.S. I really enjoyed your husband’s blog too.

    • My first FAI procedure didn’t have good results, I ended up worse than I was before I had it. The doctor wants to re scope the hip, at this point it would be an experimental procedure with the chances of getting better even less than before. Kind of at a crossroads.

    • Luis,

      I found this blog after looking into FAI, labral tear options. I have a labral tear in my left hip. Like most I am an active runner/cyclist. Pretty sure poor fit on the bike is what hurt me. In any case, I am in san diego as well. I’ve seen one orthopedic surgeon who laid out the options for me. At the same time Ive been going to see Jonathan Pierce, a manual therapist who’s working on mobility and strength. I’ve had ups and downs. Upside, core and glute strength has gotten way better. Downside is that even after a short run, the pain is there. Ortho gave me a cortisone shot and after it wore off the pain actually felt a little worse. So Im contemplating the next step. What led you to Dr Robertson? If he’s good I may want to get a second opinion. In any case, if you want to share war stories let me know. I’ve spent a lot of time trying to understand what’s the best route to take….

      • Hi John,

        Thanks for your reply. Sorry to hear you are also dealing with a labrar tear. Since you are also in San Diego, if you don’t mind, yes, I would love to share “war stories” with you. Feel free to e-mail me at luis.vega.cr@gmail.com.

        Luis

  28. Hi, thank you for your blog.

    Undergone surgery 4 weeks ago for the impingement and having what the physiatrics call as a speedy recovery. Typically no pain at all and feeling much better than before surgery where they even removed some loose body from my hip and my doctor told me that never so such a CAM FAI so bad 🙂

    Albeit feeling much better I’m still feeling sometimes a sharp pain in my groin in some movements, mostly during the physical therapy session. I feel that sometimes this pain is really similar to the one I had one year before surgery – when I was diagnosed with FAI.

    I’ve been very moderate on movements and putting weight on my operated side.

    I still have one week and a half to go for my next appointment with my doctor so not sure if I should stress with this sharp pain or not…

    Any experiences you guys with that?

    Wish you all the best…

    Bruno

  29. Thank you for your blog. Having hip labrim repair surgery on May 9. Scared.

  30. I had the exact same surgery done four weeks ago (cam resection, labral tear cleanup, ligament tightening). I was in a lot of pain for six months and was hoping that it’d fix the pain. The first couple of weeks were okay, I was in pain from the surgery but there was none of the pre-op pain. Now the pain has returned and I’m scared to death even though the physio keeps telling me not worry and that I’m ahead of the recovery curve for a woman my age (mid-40s).

    I know it’s still “early” but it’s difficult not to freak out when you’ve been in pain for so long.

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