Truth be told, the recovery from FAI surgery is long and arduous. In general I was pretty much glued to my CPM the first week. I went back to work after 10 days, flew home for the holidays at 3 weeks (don’t recommend that to anyone ever!), and was driving (a manual transmission) at 4 weeks. I eased off crutches at 5 ½ weeks and was walking normally and feeling somewhat normal at 6 weeks. The first 2 weeks pretty much sucked so you can count on that, but after that I saw progress everyday so that certainly helped with the motivation.
Below is a window into my experience during the first 3 months. All excerpts are taken from my online training blog and were written in the moment on the day noted.
The First 3 Months
December 9, 2012 – Surgery
December 16, 2012 – Just got to 80 degrees on the CPM! I am now 1 week out on my pretty massive hip “preservation” surgery. I got the full gamut – femoroplasty, acetabuloplasty, labral repair, capsular repair, and iliopsoas tendon release. The head of my femur essentially went from nasty shag carpet to gorgeous hardwood floors.
December 20, 2012 – Happily cruising the CPM at 90 degrees now. I crutched about a mile at work today. [Went back to work on 12/19/12 - 10 days after surgery]
January 5, 2012 – Got up to 60 RPMs on the bike with ZERO resistance today – stoke! The (only) cool thing about recovering from surgery is that I get to see improvement every single day.
January 13, 2012 – Only 5 weeks post-op and I already have normal range of motion, which is better than I can say for the non-operated hip. Began crutch weaning yesterday. Turns out walking is way harder than I remember it. Baby steps.
January 17, 2012 – Ditched the crutches today Thinking that will speed up recovery since I am able to regain some semblance of my normal life back. Was able to carry my coffee into work today – yay!
January 18, 2012 -Totally overdid it with the walking yesterday. Found myself huddled under my desk in the fetal position for over an hour with the worst back cramps of my life by the middle of the afternoon. Feeling better after intense PT sesh this morning. As for good news, I get to start adding resistance to my stationary biking. Goodbye level zero!
January 20, 2012 – 6 weeks down!!! That means only 6 weeks left until I can return to “normal activity.” AM: 3.5 on the bike & PT; PM: 5.5 on the bike & 5 super awkward minutes on the elliptical – it’s a start!
January 27, 2012 – Best morning ever! Woke up in the back of Rubes (my car) to views of the Colorado River and then tested out my new bike on the Potash Road. First time in 7 weeks I got to do any form of outdoor recreation and I couldn’t wipe the smile off my face – actually it was frozen on there since it was only 37 degrees. Total biking miles: 11.5.
February 4, 2012 – Biggest day yet! 35 min biking, 15 min elliptical, 30 min of my pool running kick board routine, and hip strengthening workout
February 15, 2012 – Was going to get to start running this week, but bursitis in the non-op hip has gotten in the way of it. Trying to stay stoked, but sometimes that is hard
February 20, 2012 – Running!!! The PT let me take my first post-surgical strides this morning. I have to admit that I was very scared, but mostly because I am scared of treadmills. I had very little pain and just some tightness in my hip flexor, which is to be expected. My PT literally had to tear me away from the machine – I didn’t want to stop
February 21, 2012 – AM: Ice & ibuprofen. Holy hip flexor! Didn’t know it was possible to experience so much pain from one 6-minute run. Stokage melting…
February 22, 2012 – AM: Biking and supervised RUNNING at PT. Feels so good – oh yeah! PM: More biking, hip exercises, and restorative yoga.
It wasn’t until two gigantic tears plopped down on my yoga mat tonight that I realized how depressed I have been since I injured my hip last year. It has been nearly 7 months since I sat on that mat.
Multiple doc visits and opinions, hundreds spent on chiropractors, cortisone shots, indecision about surgery, surgery, vomiting all over myself, 6 weeks on crutches, 2 hours a day of PT for 8 weeks now, endless annoying theraband exercises, and having to deal with the idea that I will probably need to go through this all again with the other hip. This sucks!
I find it ironic that a few days before the initial injury I journaled about how happy I was. It was the happiest I had felt pretty much ever and I tried to identify why. At the top of the list was running lots and my Wednesday night yoga class along with feeling hopeful about my future and eating lots of fresh veggies from the Farmer’s Market
I thought I was strong and resilient but honestly healing and dealing with this hip thing left me with little energy for anything or anyone else. My mental health is so intimately wrapped up in my physical health that this whole ordeal left me depressed, overwhelmed, and not a whole lot of fun to be around. I couldn’t even see how dysfunctional and depressing my whole outlook became until now that I am finally snapping out of it.
I know I still have a long road, but I am committed to doing the physical and mental work I need to do to recover completely. I think for the immediate future I might focus a little more on my mental healing than on those darned clam shells. I am easing into running and I am back to Wednesday night yoga so that is going to help a little too.
*End of Rant*
February 24, 2012 – Lots of milestones this week – first attempts at running, back at yoga, and a spin class! Think I will take a rest day to keep from overdoing it. Heading to Canyonlands this eve for a lil’ desert healing.
February 29, 2012 – AM: 30 minutes on the bike; PM: Ran a mile. Yup a whole mile! I am by far the most smiley person on the treadmill. Then did usual hip stuff followed by happy, restorative yoga class.
March 2, 2012 – 12 weeks post-op today so that means no real restrictions from here on out. These 3 months actually went pretty fast, but pretty slowly too – kinda like the best of times and the worst of times all wrapped up into one.