I promised I would write about my hip issues…so here goes.
I started having hip issues almost two years ago. I was an avid runner and used to do a lot of yoga and pilates. Let’s just say that I was active. It initially began with a sprained ankle which bothered me for a bit and forced me to take a break from running. Then, one day, I went to a dance class and felt something wasn’t right during the class but pushed through. The next day, I couldn’t bear weight on my right hip. Since I was alarmed, I went to the doctor and we both assumed that I had pulled and injured my illiotibial band. I was diagnosed with illiotibial band syndrome and was sent to physical therapy (PT). I spent close to five months in PT with the symptoms and pain getting worse. It got to the point where walking and sitting became excruciating and my physical therapist was afraid to touch my achy muscles because I would instantaneously have pain. After trying everything we could in PT, it became clear that there was some serious problem with my right hip and I was referred to a sports medicine doctor. It took me a few months to actually get to see him because he is good and very busy, so in between I got an MRI, which confirmed that I had a labral tear on my right hip. It was likely that this was causing all the pain I had been in.
When I finally got to see the doctor, he did a physical exam on me and it became really clear to him that the labral tear was what was causing all of the pain in my hip. He gave me the option of getting a steroid shot, which would ameliorate the pain, or having hip surgery to fix the tear and the pain. After doing some research, and also because my PhD thesis work has been done studying how pharmacological steroids affect the immune system, I decided to skip the steroid shot and get surgery.
In May, I underwent my first labral hip tear repair. I was so nervous and anxious because this was the first time that I had surgery. I was also annoyed at my body because I am in my twenties and never expected to injure myself in any way that necessitated surgery. The surgery went well and my doctor was able to fix the tear. While he was in there he also fixed some bony abnormalities of my femur which might have contributed to me tearing my labrum in the first place (FYI- I was not diagnosed with FAI if you are wondering).
After surgery, the recovery was tough. I couldn’t really walk, not even on crutches, for the first two weeks. I had to force myself to walk because PT starts a few days after surgery. I also had an adverse reaction to the pain meds I was given which did not help. I essentially just survived those first two weeks and as I got the hang of how to manage pain, how much I could move, how much pressure I could put on my hip, everything got better. I started going to PT regularly and things seemed to be getting better.
Then after a few months of PT, my left hip began hurting. The pain was transient at first and I attributed all of it to overuse of my left hip. I was on crutches for two months after all and after that I depended a lot on the left when the muscles on my right hip weren’t firing/contracting properly. I figured it would resolve itself especially since I had begun active release technique therapy (ART) with a chiropractor that was recommended to me by my doctor. Briefly, ART is a manual therapy technique where the doctor finds spots of scar formation which may be causing problems with muscle function and he gives a deep tissue massage that helps release these. ART was extremely helpful in getting my right hip working properly, but it did nothing for my left hip.
After much complaining to my surgeon/doctor when I went to see him during followups, he finally decided to send me to get an MRI of my left hip. I got the results the same week and it turned out that I had another labrum tear on my left hip. It was likely that this was causing the pain I was experiencing. The pain in my left hip was so severe that during November, I remember having one week without pain. The rest of the month there was excruciating pain which I could only control with NSAIDs like Aleve.
Given these results, my doctor gave me the option of having surgery or getting a steroid shot. I again, chose to have surgery. I had surgery a week ago and, suffice it to say, it has not been easy traveling this path again.
This is the beginning of the story. I will write later about how things have been since getting this second surgery.
Let me know if you have questions!
And here is a photo of me post surgery #1….I went to Governor’s Ball music festival..it was crazy, but so fun.