Hip Arthroscopy Recovery Diary: Week 6

So you want to know how long it will take you to recover from hip arthroscopy, huh? Quite a while, that’s all I can tell you. Each person, each hip, each surgery is different. You need to talk to your surgeon and your physical therapist to know what you are allowed to do and when, because it will depend on what surgery you had, what your surgeon’s protocol is, and how your recovery is going.

However, if all you want is an example of what to expect, here is a hip arthroscopy recovery timeline for one person:

How I’m Doing

I’m annoyed. I had my right hip done back in January, and it has been so irritated this last weekend, that I have to think about which side to protect when I’m using a crutch or going up and down the stairs. The right hip has had its challenges throughout, but was at least moving forward until about September.

The left hip is doing pretty well, though. I am down to minimal use of the crutches, and it’s starting to get easier to lift the left leg in bed. Too bad it’s getting harder to lift the right leg into bed!

Progress

  • Very little need for the crutches. I’ve used one for slightly longer distances over uneven ground, or when going into the gym, because I am sometimes kind of tired when I get out of the pool!
  • I’m up to 10 minutes of slow walking. Five minutes out, five minutes back. Pain is decreasing and the way I walk is starting to look a little more normal, but did I mention slow?
  • I’m starting to step a little more up and down steps; mostly the steps in and out of the pool with the water and the railing helping, but also some super short steps around my home.

Precautions

  • Careful with walking to avoid twisting or rotating while standing on that hip.
  • Avoid movements that cause pinching.

What I’m Working On:

  • Trying to be patient with going slow. It’s great to not have to use the crutches much, but I still start to limp if I try to go too fast.
  • Hip flexor stretches and more hip flexor stretches.
  • Trying to do more around the house to build up at least some stamina for returning to work.
  • Still trying to avoid excessive sitting. The angry muscles on the right don’t like it, and there’s no reason to make lefty more angry.

Exercises

  • Psoas stretches
  • Iliacus stretches
  • Rectus femoris stretches
  • Hands and knees rocking (being on my hands and knees with my back flat and moving my hips back toward my feet)
  • Cat/cow
  • Tall kneeling- some balance with turning my head, some moving the pelvis and shifting weight.
  • Bridges.
  • Bridging on a ball.
  • Hip hinge.
  • Standing “skaters” (hate the name of this one, because I don’t really think it’s very descriptive of the exercise, but I didn’t pick the name and it’s a good exercise).
  • Modified “supermans”; an easier version, but getting those back muscles going.
  • Some very small beginning activation of hip rotators.
  • Crawling. Yeah, you heard me. On my hands and knees. When this is done very slowly with the opposite arm and leg lifting from the floor and landing at the same time, it’s a great way to activate some core stabilizers.
  • Core activation. (Not technically one particular exercise, but rather being sure to engage during walking, pool, and yes, a few exercises where it is a little more of a focus.)
  • Bike (upright stationary)
  • Pool- Aiming for 2 times per week, walking forward, backward sideways, some standing hip movements and core activation, a little stretching. No hot tub due to COVID, so that’s about all I can take before I have to go warm up!
  • Calf stretches, toe extension stretches, foot strengthening (I know, foot and calf don’t SEEM like they would make a big difference to the hip, but they do. They really do.)
  • Continuing wall push ups and doorframe pulls for my arms.

Notes

  • I am annoyed and a little concerned about my right hip, but it is also very normal to have increased pain in the previous surgical hip if you have a second hip done. Of course I overthink it, but my current assessment is probably some flare up of the hip flexor tendons (specifically psoas and iliacus) and the adductor. Since I’m 6 weeks out and it’s the non-surgical hip this time around, I’m thinking some dry needling is in order.

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