Hip Arthroscopy: 1 Year Post-Op

This update is a long time coming, but even though I’m actually 16 months post-op, I’m calling it a one-year update.

Keep in mind for everything below – before my injury and surgery, I was extremely active. This meant working out in a gym 4 days per week, in addition to multiple recreational sports leagues (flag football, dodgeball, volleyball, etc.). Three months after my surgery, I moved to Germany, meaning my activity level has changed. I am not participating in sports and I don’t workout with free weights like I used to. I do, however, maintain an active lifestyle in other ways, which I’ll describe below. What this means is, I still don’t know how my hip will handle playing football, for instance.

Day-to-day, I typically feel pretty good. There are still days when I can tell that my hip isn’t in its out-of-the-box condition, but most days aren’t like this. And when I do get a day like that, I’ll stretch a bit extra, or move my hip around to warm it up before I get out of bed in the morning. To be honest, it looks like I’ll have to live with days like this; and I’m ok with that, as long as I can still maintain an active lifestyle close to what I had before. I’ll deal with soreness if it means I can play weekend-warrior sports at my previous level. And I’m hoping to find out soon, as I’m moving back to the US this fall!

As for my activity level over the past 10 months, let’s just start by saying that things are different in Germany than they are back in the US:

  • For starters, I ride my bicycle everywhere, and even did a 30km ride in Switzerland (well, ok, I walked for significant portions of it, but that was to do with my legs not being used to such distances and hills, and nothing to do with my hip).
  • I gave walking tours almost daily that required me to walk on cobblestone streets for up to 2 hours at a time (which felt absolutely fine in good sneakers, though some low-quality shoes bothered my hip a bit).
  • And I did a lot of hiking, since it’s basically a national pastime in Germany. These weren’t long hikes, mind you, but anywhere from a couple kilometers to as many as 10km in a single day. And not always on flat ground. In fact, last weekend, I hiked between all 5 towns in Cinque Terre, Italy. And now the best news – I rarely have any problems with my hip as a result.

To sum up my condition at 16 months (and 12 months, really), I’d say this: If I didn’t care about playing sports at a competitive weekend warrior level, I’d by 95% satisfied. I feel like I can say that my life will not be negatively impacted by my injury. I walk, hike, ride my bicycle, and lift things when needed, and generally move around without problem. The missing 5% stems from the fact that there are still the days when I have soreness that didn’t exist before, as I mentioned above.

But as I also mentioned above, I’m still waiting anxiously to see how my hip responds to high-impact sports. But that’s an update that will have to wait a while longer, unfortunately.

Are you recovering from surgery for FAI or a torn labrum, or considering it?  I’d love to hear how you’re rehab is going – feel free to post a comment or question below!

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15 thoughts on “Hip Arthroscopy: 1 Year Post-Op

  1. Any suggestions for ways to prepare for the hip scope prior to surgery? I’m having a scope for FAI in about 10 weeks and can’t help but wonder if exercise, etc. would be beneficial in these next two months. Any thoughts?

    • Hi Chelsea,

      Unfortunately, I didn’t have any experience here, as I was still exercising and playing sports (somewhat painfully) until a week before my surgery, and I don’t have any idea if it helped or hurt. You might try asking your doctor or posting your question to one of the FAI Facebook groups? I know they are pretty active.

      Good luck!
      Brian

    • Hi Chelsea. You might wanna try quadriceps femoris muscle strengthening exercises. My physio and doctor advised doing this before the op as it speeds up recovery. Strengthening the QF is part of the rehab. So the stronger it is beforehand the better. It’s 4 weeks since my op now and it seems to have helped. All the best…

  2. Hey Brian, as a fellow flag football player I’m hopeful to be able to resume playing as well. I’m 11 weeks post surgery and have x-rays scheduled next week to make sure no stress fracture has occurred. If all goes well I expect to take the next step to the higher impact exercises you have described.

    So far the hip exercises and riding the stationary bike (slowly increasing resistance over time) have felt good, some minor soreness but overall no problems yet. My goal is to get back to flag by the spring season w/ the hope that the groin, hip, and lower back pain that I had is greatly reduced. Best wishes in your recovery, and thanks for sharing your experience.

    Will

  3. This blog is great. I am 8 weeks post op on Thursday and have bene walking for 2 weeks now. I totallu understand the good day and bad days thing. Friday I felt great and then Saturday it was really sore and felt like I too a major step back. This is a mental grind more than anything. I just keep doing the PT and listining to the doctor and hope to be back to “normal” one day

  4. Wow – great blog, Brian! I went through my own FAI struggled from 2011 – 2015 or so and I don’t know how I never came across your blog!

    How are you doing these days (2015)?

    I relate to your story a lot (about always wanting to maintain your active lifestyle!) This was my driving passion when I was trying to fix my hips from 2011-2015.

    I was a soccer player and did Olympic weightlifting until the FAI thing damn near ruined all that for me.

    My story is a little unique I guess because I become utterly obsessed with fixing my hip WITHOUT surgery and am grateful to say I was successful. I chronicled my story in this video if you care to check it out:

    “How FAI almost ruined my athletic career”

    Let me know what you think and how you are doing!

    -Shane

    • Shane,
      That’s great to hear that you’re doing so well!

      These days, my lifestyle is pretty active – I commute on my bicycle on a daily basis, my job involves being on my feet quite a lot, I go to the gym 5 or so times per week, and I’m competing in a dodgeball league, so not bad, I’d say!

      Good luck with your continued journey!

      Brian

  5. Thank you for the blog. 1st of July 2016 will be 1 year since my op and I still have discomfort as you describe above. My doc says it could take anything up to 18 to 24 months recovery but my high impact sport, training and Softball/Baseball is forever gone. So walking, cycling, swimming, weights, yoga, pilates and stretching is all I can do now. I am grateful that I am still able to do some exercise and some activity. Hope you have recovered nicely now.

    • Hi Alan, congrats on making it to one year! Your comment spurred me to read my 1-year post for the first time in nearly two years, and I’m struck by how I’ve improved since then. Meaning, at 1 year, I was not yet fully recovered, even though at the time I thought that was a good as it would get. I very rarely have bad days (unless triggered by something specific, and even then, they aren’t as bad). High-impact sports are still not what they were, so I rarely participate, though when I do, I can say for sure that my hips don’t hurt as bad the next day as they did pre-surgery. And I spend a lot of time on my feet and on a bicycle without problems, even more than I did at 1 year post-op. Continued success to you, Alan!

      Brian

  6. Hi, I stumbled across your blog and just wanted to say thanks for sharing. I had an op in January this year to repair a labral tear in my left groin and impingement surgery, 6 post op I was still receiving severe pain in my groin resulting in a further mri scan – the surgeon stated there was still signs of the impingement resulting in a further tear. In September I went through a further op and now recovering from this. I was on crutches for 3 weeks, and things seemed to be progressing well, im at the 8 week stage and can manage walking, driving fine, i can manage the exercise bike at slow resistance, along with all the strength building exercises you mentioned, lunges etc. the main issue im having is during when I twist/turn suddenly, turning to pick up a cup after putting the kettle on for example, im getting a sharp shooting pain in my groin, this only lasts for a matter of seconds but its enough to knock me off my track for a bit – this happens 10/11 times per day. Just wondering if you experienced anything like this? Like yourself I was very active pre op – I no I need to take things slowly, its just frustrating. I have my 8 week follow up apt on Wednesday so we’ll see how that goes.

    Many thanks again for this blog.

    Richy (Newcastle, UK)

    • Richy, I can’t say that I experienced frequent sharp shooting pain. I’d say about once every few months (sometimes even less than that), I get an audible pop and a sharp pain if I twist the wrong way, but I don’t know what that’s all about either! Sorry I can’t be of more help!
      Brian

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