Hip Surgery PreHab & ReHab

Day 6 after a hip arthroscope and labral tear repair - I am a tad stoned so please excuse the ramblings.  I felt the need to record my experiences as an exercise scientist and apply my findings towards my own rehab clients.


A year ago I developed severe left hip pain, as a fitness professional the show went on and in the background, steroid injections, MRI's, physio, drugs and tears. On the 27th December I underwent a 3 hour operation to debride my left hip. The procedure went well according to the consultant and the tough work is ahead now.

A combination of Tramadol, Co-codamol and Ibuprofen. I am on crutches. The first few days were tough as the reaction to the general anaesthetic made me suffer many symptoms including sickness, itching, headaches, drowsiness, severe fatigue and pain.

I am weight bearing. When climbing stairs I lead upwards on my strong leg and walk downwards on my weak leg. I use Pilates breath and basic patterns in everything I do.

Tony assists me with my range of motion exercises. My core is strong and with focus I can flex the hip and knee, I can not abduct without assistance. The aim at this stage is to gain leg control, avoiding pain in range of motion, normalise hip control and gait. Thank goodness for Pilates.

I won't dwell on the past few days as there were times I was in hell, shaking, crying and in agony, there were moments of love and thankfulness as my family and friends helped me through the dark days.  I'm not sure, but probably put down much of my reaction to the anaesthetic, especially the sickness and vertigo!

The journey is still new and this will take months.

Finding balance with the meds is the challenge as tonight I feel pain free, so much in fact that when I went to the loo at night I forgot to collect my crutches after I washed my hands, I took two steps out of the bathroom when my leg gave way! In my naked and fragile state I was whimpering, eventually Tony came and rescued me. My stupid independence stopped me waking him up for help!

It has been made clear to me to stay on top of pain relief and I now understand that message. Mentally set back 2 days.

The range of motion exercises today continued with external hip rotation and short walk to the end of my road and back. Focusing on gait and symmetry, engaging glutes and rolling through the foot with each step.  I am not sure If I will ever be able to sit cross legged again.

Tomorrow I plan to visit my club for the first time and sit on my exercise bike. Pre-surgery I could only manage 3 minutes. Lets see what happens. My physio wants me to pedal for about 3 minutes but be flexible. In my head I am planning how I mount the bike. In addition I shall be working on my GRAVITY GTS unit for squats.

I only did 90 seconds! No resistance and RPM 24! I felt broken. Even though gym users clapped when I finished. In my defence I also climbed a fight of stairs to get there.

Those who read my ramblings may be considering this surgery or indeed a trainer or therapist working with hip clients. 

Today, I need to perform a few pelvic bridges and external rotations before bed with 1 x Tramadol. It is hard but I did it and every hour in the day, I work through mobility movements. 

11 days after the hip arthroscopy I came back to teaching Pilates (albeit slightly adapted for me). Under guidance of my orthopaedic physiotherapist I performed regular low repetition movements to mobilise the hip joint. Now I am not a normal person. I am strong and have great healing qualities, my mindset and determination is extremely strong. Don't get me wrong, it hurts and I rest but I am moving in the right direction. Maybe if I didn't have a business to run then I wouldn't push myself but the REHAB is essential to get my physical strength and will back. 

That was in January - In May I repeated the surgery on my right hip which wasn't as chronic. This time I was even more prepared, this time I trained the damaged side in advance, learning movement patterns and sit targets. After 3 weeks and 6 days I taught a Zumba class. In panic I called my consultant Mr Fern at The Duchy Hospital to his delight he said "crack on and keep doing the great rehab. If it hurts tone it down!"

And the moral of the story? You only have one body and one life. You choose how you are going to live your life. No matter what is thrown in your path, you can learn, grow and evolve to adapt to your changes. I am thankful I can teach and would even say that I move much better as I have restored my body. I have learned to respect my body as I grow older. I am kind to myself and choose not to punish myself with my training. I nourish myself and am mindful. 

Pilates stabilises the body and restores balance. Train (Pre-hab) before surgery, as it sets strong foundations for post surgery. Have great positive mental attitude and determination when you enter into a surgical procedure, pace yourself and do restorative work, especially PILATES.

Having lived this experience helps me with connecting with clients going through similar procedures. The stronger you are going into the surgery the quicker and more focused the recovery. 


Helen TiteComment