Well, hello again! I was doing so good with updating here, but then school and life (aka we’re looking for a new apartment) really kicked into gear, and all of a sudden I’m reading a bazillion pages and studying and certainly not blogging. Also, I’ll admit, recovery has certainly been going well, but daily changes aren’t really there anymore, so there’s that.
As of today, I’m officially six weeks out from my labral tear repairs. Can you believe it was six weeks ago? It seems like so long ago, but also just like it was yesterday. At physical therapy this morning, my PT said, “Remember when you could barely move your legs? You’re doing great!” It’s really kind of crazy. Major improvements since we last spoke include:
No more crutches! I used one up through about post-op day 30, but most at the end it was to keep people away from me and not because I felt like I truly needed it. I took stairs one at a time through about week 5, and I can go down stairs normally now. As for walking, I’ve felt my stride slowly get a little more range of motion as we go, but I’m definitely not back to my usual fast walking speed. But I’m not a snail anymore!
As for general activities (activities of daily living, for all you health care readers!), I can do most things. I can get dressed and such without any help. Putting on skinny jeans for the first time made me a little nervous, but everything went well! Shoes aren’t necessarily challenging, but not super easy. Instead of bending at the hip and knee to bring my foot up, I bend over to reach down to my foot, which puts less pressure/bend in my hip.
I’m still cautious with lots of things – I don’t bend down to pick things up too readily, and when I go to the grocery store, I limit myself to about five items. (Don’t want to carry too much weight.) I got on and off the floor for the first time by myself, which involved a lot of death-gripping onto furniture to help get myself back up. (Getting down to the ground is easy, thanks gravity.) However, I do find that I’m able to do more things without thinking about them as much as I did before. I still pay attention when in sit down/stand up or get in and out of bed, but it’s not nearly as mentally stimulating as it used to be. Definitely still have trouble getting in or out of cars (…cabs, in my case). I have to sit down perpendicular to the seat then swing both legs in.
I attribute that problem to the fact that my external rotation is still somewhat limited. I’m definitely getting better, but the motion of putting one leg in a car and then swinging the other in is hard! Otherwise, not too bad. My range of motion is all other planes is definitely getting better – I can lift my legs up into bed without a problem. I sometimes go to cross my legs when I’m sitting, and that’s not very comfortable. I’m definitely a side sleeper, and that’s not as comfortable as it used to be either. (Pillow between the knees, please!)
One big thing that happened is Betsy’s wedding! When I was talking to Betsy about surgery, she first asked if I’d be able to run with her the morning of her wedding (noooope), and then asked if I would be able to dance. My PT made me promise to not wear heels (which I don’t wear anyway, and the wedding was on a farm, so flats for all!) and to be careful. I’m not the best dancer anyway, but we stayed on the dance floor most of the night (minus a break for pie….because…..pie). It’s the only day I’ve missed doing my PT exercises out of all six weeks, but I think dancing-ish for hours makes up for it.
Also, probably most hilarious wedding moment I’ve experienced yet – a goat from the farm was bahhhhing/screaming throughout the vows. I thought it was funny, I hope they did too.
We were sitting at the wedding dinner with some other runner friends (of Betsy’s), who I had heard lots about but I had never met. One asked if I was doing any races this fall, and I mentioned that I had surgery and wouldn’t be running for awhile. It’s nice that I’ve reached a point where people can’t tell anything happened to me, and I’ll admit I also have moments where I forget that I had surgery. Like I said earlier, I don’t have to think about everything quite as much, and I can do most things. Of course, my workouts are still quite limited and running isn’t a thought yet, but most of my life is pretty normal. (As for work, I still can’t quite imagine bending down to help a patient or transfer a patient from bed to stretcher, etc, so I’m happy to have such generous leave.) But overall, I really do feel good, and I’m so happy for that.
Physical therapy has been moving along as well. Week five didn’t bring anything new, but the six week mark is a big deal! You move a little bit away from protecting the joint and are able to start stressing it more. Still avoiding any pain, but we’re allowed to do more exercises. The list is getting long! My PT session usually start with massaging my quads, hamstrings, and butt. Then stretching my hamstrings (PT does this while I lay on the table) followed by bending my hip at 90 degrees and my knee at 90 degrees and having the PT rotate my hip internally and externally. Gets a little better each time, if you ask me. 10 minutes on the bike with resistance, and exercises. Here’s what I’m up to as of week 6!
- Flat back/pelvic tilt. Laying on my back, pushing my lower back into the table. Hold for five seconds, repeat thirty times. Helps core strength.
- Quad set. Legs flat on the table, push back of knees into table. Hold for five seconds, repeat thirty times. Helps activate quads.
- Quad stretch. Now that I can lay on my stomach, I lay on my stomach and pull my foot to my butt. Thirty seconds x 3 on each side.
- Hamstring curl. I stand next to the table and put a lot of weight on my hands (because of my weight bearing status), then bend at my knee to bring my foot to my butt. Three sets of ten on each leg with ankle weights.
- Resistance band wrapped on one foot and held with hands, point toe. Have someone hold resistance band on foot away from your foot, flex toe. Repeat 30 times, each leg.
- Sit on edge of table (reclined because although I can sit at 90 degrees, it’s not the most comfortable) with knees hanging off table. Lift foot to create a straight leg. Three sets of ten on each leg with ankle weights.
- Quadruped hip rockers. Video here. I got on all fours (like table top position) and slowly rock back, bending at my hips. It’s like aiming toward child’s pose, but definitely not that deep (yet?). Thirty times.
- Ball between the knees squeeze. Lay on my back with feet flat on the floor, ball between my knees. Squeeze and hold for five seconds, thirty times.
- Oblique twist/wood chopper with resistance band. Video here. Keep core stable while pulling across the body with the resistance bands. 3 x 10 on both sides. Ab work!
- Straight arm lat pull downs with resistance band. Video here. Keep core stable and pulling down with straight arms bringing hands to hips. 3 x 10. Ab work!
- Side lying hip abduction/leg lifts. Video here. Lay on your side, lift up your top leg! I’m not supposed to go very far (only a few inches), but it’s exciting to do something involving lifting my leg. 3 x 10 on each side. Works the glutes.
- Side step. Step one foot out to the side, then bring the other foot to match it. Walk back and forth three times. Week 6 – added a resistance band around ankles.
- Walk backwards. Week 6 – added hurdles to walk backward over. Out and back three times.
- Standing hip abduction. I stand, point my toe slightly in, and move it out to the side. 3 x 10 on each side.
- Prone leg lifts. Lay on stomach, left and extend one leg up, squeezing butt at the top. (Video.) 3 x 10 on each side.
- Bridges. Double leg. Squeeze butt at the top. Three sets of 10.
- Wall squats with stability ball. 3 x 10.
- Leg press (on machine). 3 x 10, used 60 pounds of weight.
- Balance board with balancing side to side and front to back. 90 seconds each.
- One leg balance on foam. 3 x 30 seconds, each side.
- Contra kicks with green resistance band attached to stationary object. (Also known as hip flexion, extension, abduction, and adduction with resistance band. Seen here.) 3 x 10 each direction and each leg.
- Single leg mini squat. (Not sure how to to call this.) Stand on the edge of a mini step (about three inches) with one foot on the edge and one off the step. Lower standing leg to place other leg’s heel on the ground, then stand up. 3 x 10 each leg.
SO MANY EXERCISES. I was at physical therapy for over two hours this morning. Oof. Don’t get me wrong, I’ll do what I need to do to get better, but it is definitely time consuming. A few times I week I’ve been getting on the bike trainer – up to 30 minutes at a time, but that just adds to the time. Sometimes I can study a bit on the trainer, but it’s not the most comfortable.
My next time to see the surgeon is at the eight week mark – I’m going to ask about returning to running at that point. I asked my PT this morning and she said people don’t usually go back for six months. (My jaw may have hit the floor, I pretty sure the protocol says 12-14 weeks.) Of course, I understand that running at 12-14 weeks means running for one minute, maybe, so maybe that’s what she said. I figured I’d hold onto all the good steps I’ve taken so far and see what the doctor says in a couple weeks. But if it is 12 weeks………I’m halfway there!
Of all the things I’ve been through in the past six weeks, I will say I am incredibly grateful that I really haven’t had much pain. I took some Percocet in the first few days after surgery, but for the most part that was because I was scared of being in pain or wanted help to sleep. I don’t have the best range of motion, but I really don’t have any pain, and that is amazing. I’m part of a Facebook group for labral tears, and reading there is enough to scare you out of ever having this surgery. I won’t say it was easy because those first few weeks were really tough, but I feel so much better. I don’t have any aching pain in my hip, which I had at rest leading up to surgery. Hopefully it stays that way. One day at time!