About This Blog

How the heck do I start this blog?  I’m not a writer.  I’m just someone who, when faced with the prospect of hip arthroscopy to fix his FAI, read a lot of blogs on the subject.  If you wrote a blog about surgery for FAI, I read it.  Seriously, I read them all.

I’m not sure if reading all those blogs made me more or less scared of having surgery, but it did make me want to share my own experience.  I can’t promise that this will be helpful for you OR for me, but I’m hoping for both.  Anyway, I’m writing this post just one week before my FAI surgery, so here is the story of how I got to this point:

I’ve always been a very active recreational athlete.  I don’t participate in races (running in a straight line is boring), triathlons (running AND swimming? Pass), or weightlifting competitions (I’d love to, but I only weigh ~135, and I don’t think they make weight classes that low), but I do go to the gym 4-5 days per week, and am often involved in multiple recreational sport leagues at any given time (these include competitive sports like flag football, dodgeball, and volleyball, and more recreational activities such as softball and kickball).  As an agile 26-year-old, being able to sprint/jump/move fast in general is very important to me.

A few months ago (Jan. 2013), a volleyball match left me with a lot of discomfort in my left hip/groin.  I thought I must’ve strained my groin and took a couple weeks off (incidentally, I was scheduled for LASIK surgery on January 10th, so that made taking a couple weeks off a little easier).  Unfortunately, the pain would go away with rest, but come right back with activity.  At worst, I would have trouble walking, though could still do it, and at best, my hip was uncomfortable but I was still able to run effectively (i.e. play flag football).  High-impact sports such as volleyball, and high range of motion activities such as squats, were pretty much out of the question.

And that’s how it’s been in the few months since early January (it’s April 2013 as I’m writing this).

In between, I tried physical therapy and a cortisone injection.  The PT seemed to help, but only because I stopped other physical activity at the time.  Once I returned to sports, the pain came right back.  And the injection only provided a small amount of relief for a couple of days.  At that point, it was time to think about surgery.

The decision to have surgery was a difficult one.  On one hand, I can still play many of the sports I love at a high level (I played flag football today, in fact).  On the other hand, I have certain limitations in the gym and in high-impact sports, and I don’t particularly enjoy the sharp pain in my hip after activity.  Additionally, many surgeons I met with talked to me about the long-term prospects of someone with untreated FAI, and it seemed that I would be headed for an early hip replacement if I didn’t do something.

Once I decided to pursue the hip arthroscopy for FAI, I set out to meet all of Richmond, VA’s hip surgeons (or so it seemed).  Ultimately, I had consultations with 4 different surgeons before settling on one and scheduling my surgery for April 30th, which is 8 days from today.

So that’s my hip story.  Here are some additional notes about my preparations for surgery and recovery:

  • My surgeon said he didn’t typically prescribe PT, which goes against all of the blogs I’ve read about FAI.  However, he didn’t argue with me when I told him I’d prefer PT, so I met with a therapist I’ve worked with before, and I’ll be seeing him about a week after surgery, with regular visits to follow (probably 1-3x per week).
  • I’ve read a lot about people using Continuous Passive Motion machines and ice machines, such as the ones made by Game-Ready.  My insurance will not cover either, but I think I will rent an ice machine if I can, on the recommendation of a colleague
  • My surgery is on a Tuesday, so I’ve taken the rest of that week off.  Only one week off may be optimistic, but I have the ability to work from home, so hopefully this will help me return to work sooner.
  • My girlfriend is learning to drive a manual car so that we can switch vehicles for a few weeks, which will allow me to drive sooner (it’s my left hip that’s being operated on).  I tried to teach her, but she fired me.
  • I’m doing a lot of physical activity in the weeks leading up to surgery, in some sort of “enjoy it while you got it” way.  In the last 10 days, I played football twice, softball once, dodgeball once, and went hiking out west in Zion Canyon.  This is reinforcing the fact that something is wrong with my hip.
  • I’m trying to keep everything in perspective – there are a lot worse things than a hip scope, and I know I’ll need to remind myself of this a lot during recovery.

If you’ve had a hip scope for FAI, I’d love to hear from you.  And if you’re like me, and facing an upcoming surgery, feel free to keep coming back to follow my story.  I’m planning on making this one of the positive FAI stories out there.  I know people really only tend to share their negative stories on the internet (misery loves company, after all), but seriously, it gets exhausting reading about all the bad things that can happen.  I’m determined to experience, and share, a positive outcome.  My goal is to return to pain-free recreational sports and weightlifting, and I will reach that goal.

Looking forward to hearing from you!

Brian

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19 thoughts on “About This Blog

  1. Last post, promise lol. Im also in Virginia (VB) and had located a surgeon at Tuckahoe Ortho prior to finding one local. I know Richmond has a lot more to offer but I really can’t sit long with the detached labrum and torn glute, so local it is. Only 5 weeks until surgery and going to do my best to live it up – granted I’m 20 years older so no football/dodgeball ha.

    I’ve been told 3-4 weeks no driving, was this your same experience?

  2. I have surgery on Monday to repair a torn labrum in my left hip. I’ve been trying to find a good blog about someone who has had it done (not one complaining about all the complications they had)… just about what I can expect for the first couple weeks. This was perfect. Thanks for sharing your experience!

  3. Hey Brian!

    I have been needing an FAI surgery + Labrum repair for over a year and putting it off. I have excellent insurance now… so it’s time to bite the bullet and have it! I am sched. for December 9th.

    I have so many questions for you… but I don’t want to overwhelm you. I just want to let you know that after reading all the doom and gloom out there, I am SO THANKFUL to have found your blog with a positive vibe.

    I am a weightlifting athlete and a runner so… I am scared. Not gonna lie. I planned to do a relay race (3 legs of 7 miles) 9 months after my surgery (I’d need to start training 5 months post surgery). I am curious, with how you feel.. would that be something that sounds too ambitious to you?

    I really, really appreciate your story. I am seriously hoping that mine will be similar!

    Thank you again.

    • Hi Erin,

      Thanks for reading. Your question is a hard one for me to answer for two reasons. First, everyone seems to be different. But secondly, I’ve never been a distance-runner, so it’s hard for me to say. I’m at that 5-month mark right now, and while I can run short distances without too much trouble (for example, if I’m about to miss the train), I really have no idea how my hip would hold up after 1+ miles. And even if I tried, I really don’t have a history of running to compare it to.

      I’m sorry that I couldn’t provide a better answer. My surgeon told me it would be up to six months before I felt totally normal (and so far, he’s on track, as I don’t feel totally normal yet), and it seems many people take even longer. I think you’ll be able to feel what’s best for you when that time comes.

      Good luck with your surgery, and feel free to ask any other questions you have!

      Brian

  4. Hi Brian. I was recently diagnosed with FAI and a labral tear in my right hip, and I was wondering if I might be able to email you and ask you some questions. I’m considering surgery, but haven’t made a decision yet, so I’m trying to get a feel for how some other people who have been through it decided on surgery, whether it was worth it, advice you would give me as I weigh the pros/cons, etc. Would that be possible?

    Thanks! Hope to hear from you!

  5. Great blog Brian, thanks so much for taking the time to record your journey. Im about to have my second hip scope, this one for FAI (the first was for a torn ligament), am trying to understand what the recovery might look like as I want to go travelling. I think it will be a longer recovery than the surgeon is letting on, but I guess it depends on what he finds. Fingers crossed its an easier surgery than last time.

    Qu: Did the surgeon address the impingement as well as the torn labrum? Or was your surgery for torn labrum?

    Hope you are doing well now,
    Kind regards
    Julia

    http://www.healinghips.wordpress.com

    • Hi Julia,

      My surgery was mainly to fix the impingement, and if the surgeon found damage to the cartilage/labrum, he would repair that, too. He did end up finding the labrum torn, so he sewed it back to the bone (basically). I hope your second surgery went well!

      Brian

  6. Hello,

    I’m currently 10 weeks post op hip arthroscopy- repaired labrum, shaved bone, released tendon. Also a college bound soccer player and I leave in a week..
    Overall it’s been a decent but slow recovery. Have some questions…

    Did you have sharp pain within near groin area/outer hip area when bringing your knee to chest while laying down? ( it’s a stretch I do I therapy)
    Any problems with single leg raises?? I feel though as if I have a deep grabbing pain in groin area when doing leg raises.
    Lastly, I’ve had consistent groin discomfort, it’s an annoying nagging pain that just won’t seem to go away. I start jogging soon but I am nervous due to groin discomfort. I can tolerate the pain but it’s very annoying and uncomfortable. Did your groin discomfort eventually subside? Did it take some time?? Please email me

    Thank you

    • Hi Jay,
      I occasionally have groin discomfort still, and it was consistent during my initial recovery period. Now, it’s less frequent, and I’ll often have many days in a row with no discomfort. That said, I’m also not a college athlete, so I probably put less stress on my hips than you do.
      Brian

  7. Hi Brian,

    I just read your blog.
    Last week i got hip surgery too.
    I think it’s a very good decision, although I will move to Australia within 8 weeks.
    Coincidentally i saw you moved to Germany. Did you managed to do your exercises etc?
    I’d really like to hear from you.

    Kind regards,

    Jop

    • Hi Jop,
      I did continue doing my exercises (and still do!), but they don’t require any equipment, so it’s easy. I didn’t move until 12 weeks after surgery, and was glad for as many days and physical therapy appointments as I could have before moving.

      Good luck to you!
      Brian

  8. Hi Brian,

    I am 7 weeks post-op from FAI and labrum repair surgery. I read your entire blog before my surgery and I’ve continued to mine your blog for information after my surgery. So far, my experience almost perfectly matches yours. Thanks for writing! Your blog was incredibly helpful!

    Mike

    • Mike, thanks for reading and good luck to you! I’ll have you know that I ride my bike just about every day as my primary mode of transport, dodgeball season starts on Thursday, and I’m about to head to the gym for a workout consisting of rowing and kettlebell swings, among other things. Lots of possibilities ahead, Mike!

      Brian

  9. Hi Brian,

    Thank you for sharing your experience. I wish you all the best. I wonder did you have the cam impingement or pincer? And do you have FAI with your right hip? I have FAI on both hips. I wonder if it is possible to avoid surgery for both. Thanks.

    Shelly

    • Hi Shelly, I think it was cam impingement, but five years later, it’s hard to remember. For me it was just the left side, but I bet I would have developed it on the right if I had continued improperly lifting weights (just a hunch though). Good luck!

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