Double Surgeries for Hip Labral Tear and FAI With Successful Return to Activity

What is your story about?
I was diagnosed with FAI and a hip labral tear. I underwent two surgeries at ages 28 and 30, ultimately resulting in a complete replacement of my labrum. Several years later, I still have a successful outcome and am active 7 days a week.
What is your hip injury history?
I was born with a congenital malformation of my hip joints and they corrected it using a brace when I was an infant. Flash forward to 28ish after 23+ years of ballet and sports and I was struggling to move my hip from a seated or flat position without physically moving my hip. It felt ‘stuck’. After getting X-rays and MRIs and the opinion of four different surgeons, the consensus was the brace I wore as an infant over corrected my hip so my socket covered more of the ball of the join than it should and created both types of impingement. The years of dance and sports meant I was constantly ove ...(more)
What surgery did you pursue?
I settled on a surgeon who worked with our local college and professional teams who opted to do the arthroscopic version of the surgery. However, once he got into the joint, he realized my labrum was destroyed completely. He salvaged and repaired what he could, and resurfaced my ball and socket. He came out of the surgery immediately telling me I would need a complete labrum replacement within 1-2 years, as there was just too much damage.
What was the recovery process like?
The recovery wasn’t bad. The first week stinks as far as pain. It’s not unbearable, I was off regular pain meds within a week. I was on crutches for 2-3 weeks, PT for a few months and back at the gym (modified workouts) within 2 months. From there I was great for about a year and a half and slowly the symptoms returned. So, 2 years ago in 2017, I had a second surgery. He shaved a bit more around the joint and replaced my labrum with cadaver tissue. This recovery was a little harder as the traction they place your leg in overstretched some nerves so my foot was numb/pins and needles for nearly ...(more)
What was your experience with rehab?
PT wise, I did a lot of ROM exercises at first and then moved to exercises like single leg lifts while lying down with my foot forward as well as flexed and turned out, squats and band work to build back the stabilizing muscles. I also did dry needling and the scraping thing (Graston) post PT to break up some scar tissue. This was key, according to my doctor, as scar tissue can hinder the success of the surgery itself.
How is your condition now?
It's going on 3 years with no issues and nothing re-torn on my yearly scans. I’ll just never be the fastest in class haha! I have no issues other than pop jacks are a no go and I seem to get bursitis more often than I did prior. I use CBD cream on my hip and that seems to solve inflammation. Right now, I go to OTF 5-6 days a week and hike, bike or do yoga the other days. Performance wise, I have increased my speed and strength beyond what they were pre surgery.
Do you have any tips for recovery?
  • Set up your recovery area(s) ahead of time. I had an area in the living room and my bed with blankets, pillows, water bottle, activities (books, coloring books, iPad/computer, etc). It will be tough to cart things back and forth on crutches.
  • Stock up on ice packs ahead of time, you will cycle through them frequently the first few weeks and for me, ice packs helped with the pain/swelling immensely. You don’t need anything fancy and you can actually make your own using water, ziplocks, and rubbing alcohol.
  • Have someone stay with you the first couple days. I was incredibly out of it the f ...
What advice would you give others with your condition?
My biggest piece of advice is to be nice to yourself. As an athlete or even an active person, this surgery is a mental challenge. The first few weeks are tough. You need help, you’re weak, your body is tired/sore, etc, you won’t feel ‘good’ mentally, physically or emotionally. The second time around, I knew ahead of time I would struggle so I pre-planned what books to read, shows/movies to download/stream, and I scheduled friends and family visits for lunch/dinner to keep me feeling busy. I also used meditation a lot (Calm app).