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Herman & Wallace Blog

Resurfacing after Hip Labral Surgery

This post was written by H&W instructor Ginger Garner. Ginger will be presenting her Hip Labrum Injuries course in Houston in March!

Ginger Garner

Lots of you have reached out with questions about “best care” practices after hip surgery. There isn’t a whole lot in scientific literature written about rehab, and over many months of fielding questions on my closed HIP LABRAL PHYSIOTHERAPY FB page, I am finally ready to share what Best Care Practices after Hip Labral Surgery may look like.

Today is Post 1 of this series, which will follow me day-by-day, week-by-week, through the highs and lows of my recovery and rehabilitation. Here we go!

First, “What IS Hip Labral Surgery?”

A relatively new term, the surgery is presently called “Hip Preservation.” However I like to call a spade a spade – this surgery is a bona fide hip reconstruction.

This surgery is a major undertaking for surgeon and patient and is constantly charting new territory in surgical techniques and discoveries. A brilliant way to preserve the hip joint, a surgeon is charged with essentially piecing the hip back together and reshaping it to work better than before surgery. It comes with risks AND benefits, many of which I will address in posts to come. It requires serious dedication and a wicked good physical therapist to get you back to fighting shape after surgery. But success begins with choosing a good surgeon who is a specialist in this type of surgery (more on that later).

Not a hip replacement, hip labral surgery rarely ONLY consists of repair of the labrum. Most of the time, a torn hip labrum is an issue secondary to a whole slew of hip disorders that make up a quagmire of highly technical and complex systems that converge during hip reconstruction. Whew, that was a mouthful.

A few of those technical things include hip dysplasia, impingement syndromes (and oh are there lots of different kinds we will be discussing), tendinosis, bursitis, pelvic pain, sexual dysfunction, snapping hip phenomenon (internal and external), anteversion, retroversion, and well, that’s enough to get us started.

Passion for Hip Labral Rehab

Let me tell you that this surgery was everything I thought it was going to be, and a hell (there’s just no other way to put it) of a lot more. I would have LOVED to avoid surgery, and heck, to avoid the injury that led to surgery – because I don’t know a single person who would prefer to gain clinical expertise by actually suffering through the injury or surgery. But alas, adversity is often what makes us better.

As you may guess, I did experience a single traumatic injury – which then proceeded to give birth to a perpetually poorly behaved, havoc-wreaking monster of a chronic condition. The funny thing was before the injury, my area of clinical expertise was ALREADY orthopaedics and women’s health. You can see I was kind of in for a colossal butt-kicking lesson from the universe. Oh the irony…

I did try to prepare myself for the road to recovery though. Read my post on Shutting Down to Move Forward: The Therapist Becomes the Patient.

But trust me, I would rather NOT have gleaned clinical expertise on hip labral and pelvic injury through personal tragedy.

Nonetheless, I knew that my journey from hip reconstructive surgery back to health, was going to help more than just me. I could use it to help so many others who wrestle with that same monster.

But yea, there are a few challenges to recovery:

  • I am mother. Of three boys. Ranging in age from 3-9.
  • I was/still am trying to finish my doctorate.
  • I completed a book chapter for a colleague’s new text on Fostering Creativity in Rehabilitation and a research manuscript during early post-op.
  • I had to maintain a full teaching schedule that required walking and stair climbing (which I couldn’t do) and lots of standing (which I also could not do).
  • The final straw was, midway through rehab, my oldest son received a special needs diagnosis.

Nevermind having clean laundry and healthy meals to foster healing (and maintain sanity). I mean, a human can only do so much. The point is – I didn’t live tweet or post about my recovery in real time.

The Bright Side

The good side though – is my delay in posting has given me much needed time to reflect on what variables are most critical to the recovery process.

If you are considering hip labral surgery, please read Top Five Must Have Hip Labral Surgery Tips to help you prepare.

Other colleagues I know have released blog series in real time, a chronicle to their injury and recovery. Shelly Prosko and her traumatic Achilles Tendon rupture, is one of those colleagues. Also a physioyogi, I highly recommend Shelly’s series on her recovery. Read here or cut and paste: http://www.gingergarner.com/2014/10/28/medical-therapeutic-yoga-achilles-tendon-rupture-missing-link-rehabilitation/

Now onward and forward, I am (finally) sitting down to write, 5 and a half months AFTER my surgery.

I hope you’ll join me on my journey through Hip Preservation, er, Reconstruction Surgery and that, most of all, you’ll find something that will inspire you to more complete healing and recovery.

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