Category Archives: Hip Labral Tears

Femoroacetabular impingement (F.A.I.), or hip impingement syndrome.

Second Anniversary for Scope 2

xmaslogoI almost forgot that today marks the second anniversary of my second arthroscopic hip surgery, on my right side. (The left hip was scoped in July 2011.)

And except for an occasional slight discomfort in the left hip-groin area (usually after a longer- or faster-than-usual run, or an all-out, kick-ass spin class) I am, gratefully, feeling oh so normal.

My hip surgeon said it would take a full year to start to feel myself again. He was right, especially for the left side, which was a lot more damaged than the right.

While the first year for either side was spent essentially recovering from the surgery, the second year was largely devoted to rebuilding my fitness to the level (or close to the level) before I became injured during marathon training. And that includes routine 10-mile runs, and, yes, even plans for a half marathon.

For all of you “hipsters” at the beginning of this process, I just want to urge you not to lose hope. Yes, recovering from FAI (a k a femoroacetabular impingement) and be challenging, fraught with many triumphs and setbacks, it’s important to just forge ahead knowing that time (and vigilance) does heal.


On this Thanksgiving holiday weekend, I thought it would be fitting to list everything that I have to be grateful for – at least when it comes to my recovery from FAI, a k a femoroacetabular impingement:

1. My wonderful hip surgeon who repaired my two torn labrums and shaved down my bone spurs (which caused the problems in the first place).

2. His physician assistant who looked after me after the surgery and answered my many questions.

3. My fabulous physical therapist who helped to rebuild my strength before and after each of my two hip scopes.

4. My family and friends for their constant support during my very long ordeal.

5. My regular running buddies who gave me the motivation to keep going. (I’m now doing 10-mile runs!)

6. Anyone who has ever read or commented on this blog: It’s so nice to know that we are not alone.

Thank you, thank you, thank you!


More Milestones

logoI ran 10 miles yesterday – my longest run yet since my first arthroscopic hip surgery, in July 2011. (The second was five months later.)

And so far – knock wood, fingers crossed, breath held – I am feeling pretty good. In fact, just for good measure, I took some anti-inflammatories and spent this morning doing my physical therapy stretches and exercises. I also plan to take a break from running for a couple of days.

It wasn’t a fast 10-mile run, mind you, but I covered the distance with relative ease on a gloriously cool and sunny Sunday morning with my old running/training buddy. Just like old times.

Interestingly, later this morning I received an e-mail from the Hip Preservation Registry at the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York, which has been following my recovery, asking me to fill out another survey about my hip mobility and present condition.

“Can you bend down and tie your shoes?“ “Get in and out of a car without difficulty? “Walk at least a mile?” You betcha.  But where was the question about running 10 miles?

The other milestone in my hip recovery was equally important: For the last several days I’ve been wearing high-heels to work!

A Year Older. A Year Better

hikeI celebrated my birthday today with a vigorous eight-mile run – my longest distance since my first arthroscopic hip surgery, on my left side, in July 2011. (The second scope, on the right side, was in December 2011.) And other than some very slight soreness in my left groin area I’m feeling pretty good.

To many die-hard runners this might not seem like much in the way of distance, but it’s another milestone for me. For my birthday last year I only covered around three or so miles, but I was just as proud of that accomplishment, too.

My recovery has been slow and gradual, by design. For these past couple of years I’ve been testing the waters, so to speak, adding mileage or new activities. Then, forging ahead or backing off as my body reacclimates to being active again.

I’ve added hiking to the mix, and as you can see from my exhausted, celebratory pose in the recent photo above that was a success as well.


Walking With Crutches Revisited

Exactly two years ago — and one week after my first arthroscopic hip surgery, on my left side — I posted this amateur how-to video on the proper way of maneuvering around with crutches after arthroscopic hip surgery. It was actually created for a grad school class I was taking at the time, but it’s gotten a fair number of views on YouTube. Maybe it might help someone today about to undergo a hip scope. (I watched it again myself after my second surgery five months later, and cringed a little at how awful I looked.)

The technique I used was from the physical therapists at the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York, where I had both hip scopes done. You can also read the directions here.


Year No. 2 for Hip Scope No. 1

logoWhat a difference a couple of years can make.

Exactly two years ago today I was in the hospital having my first arthroscopic hip surgery, on my left side (the right hip was scoped five months later), wondering if I’d ever be able to participate in all the activities that I so loved.

This morning – probably around the same time I would have been in surgery – I was in the park doing a leisurely three-mile run. I opted to take it a little easier after an active weekend of running, spinning, swimming, lifting and stretching.

Yes, I can report that there is life after arthroscopic hip surgery. Having my torn labrum repaired and the bone spurs that caused the tear in the first place shaved down, my pincer-type hip impingement has been fixed. And my surgeon has assured me that the chances of the bone spurs growing back and causing another impingement were slim to none.

But, as I’ve said before, this road to recovery has been a long, arduous one, filled with milestones and setbacks, frustrations and triumphs. My doctor told me that it would take a full year to be back to normal. For me, it’s taken two.

And I’m not completely back to normal, either. While I’ve been able to ramp up my mileage running and my workouts in general, I find that if I take it too far, too fast, my body revolts. That discomfort in the left groin area (my right side is back go normal) returns. It’s more of a dull ache, really, but just enough to let me know that I’ve overdone things.  So then it’s back to the physical therapy exercises that helped me so much in my early recovery. Back to icing. And back to taking a day or two off.

Maybe this is the New Normal.

Another Blog Birthday

My little blog is now 2 years old, as of May 24th, actually. I haven’t been tending to it too much lately. Work, grad school and prolonged dental work have occupied a great deal of my time – along with half-marathon training.

Yes, I did say a half marathon, didn’t I?

Two years ago – while awaiting my first hip scope (on my left side) after injuring myself training for my 10th full marathon, in New York – I wasn’t certain I’d ever be running again. At least running without significant pain. Then came Hip Scope No. 2 (on my right side), just five months later.

The subsequent months in physical therapy were largely devoted to getting my body ready to be active again – and unlearning some bad habits (I was a terrible heel-striker). I learned some essential exercises to strengthen my core and stretch the muscles and tendons. But it was slow going, as I sought to regain both muscle and muscle memory.

Last year at this time, in fact, I reluctantly abandoned plans to run a simple 5K race, because I felt I wasn’t ready. I had been going to the local track and trying to add laps on each new visit, but quickly grew frustrated by what seemed like a lack of progress. I gave up on the track – I found it not much better than a tedious treadmill – and decided to just head out my front door and run my regular three-mile route. I’ll run what I can, and if I need to stop and walk, so be it.

That strategy has worked, and since then, I’ve been gradually extending my distance and running days. I am now up to running at least three times a week and up to six miles at a clip. On the days when I’m not running, I’m taking a spin class, weight-lift at the gym or ride the stationary bike in my sun-room. I also try to incorporate the PT exercises into my weekly routine.

The road to recovery over these last two years has been a bumpy one, filled with setbacks, both large and small. At times I felt as though I was taking a couple steps back for each step forward.

But right now I am feeling the best I have felt since before my surgeries. And for that I am grateful.



Checking In

On this last day of April, I wanted to keep the commitment I made to myself when I started this blog nearly two years ago (just before my first hip scope – on my left side) to post at least once a month. (Whew, just made it!)  I also thought it was about time that I check in again.

I’ve been swamped with grad school lately. This has also been a challenging spring – but not because of any problems with my hips. Or knees. Or anything orthopedic, for that matter. My (now-former) dentist did a poor job putting in a dental bridge a couple of years ago, so I have to have the work redone, along with root canal therapy, which I just completed today.

I continue to recover well from my two scopes. These surgeries, I’ve learned, leave us vulnerable, which is why I have been extra careful not to overdo my workouts. I am running three to five miles at a clip, at least three times a week, take a spin class and lift at least once a week; and so far I’ve been just fine. (I also try to squeeze in some of my PT exercises each week.) The plan now is to up my mileage ever so gradually this summer.

My thoughts and prayers, meanwhile, remain with the victims of the Boston Marathon bombing. Boston happened to be my very first marathon – I ran the 100th running in 1996, the one year they opened the race to nonqualifiers. So it will always have a very special place in my heart.

I promise not to wait too long to write again.

Hip-Scope Recovery, Gaga-style



© Tumblr / Terry Richardson

No two recoveries from arthroscopic hip surgery are alike. Healing times will vary – as will triumphs and setbacks, not to mention ways we choose to pass the time just after the procedure. I spent the first three weeks after Surgery No. 1, on my left hip, working from home and doing graduate-school assignments. In the weeks after No. 2, on my right side, I wrote out holiday cards, learned Photoshop and watched film classics.

Kind of boring, I know, especially when compared with someone like Lady Gaga. As you probably know, the pop star underwent a hip scope in February to repair a torn labrum in her right hip joint. The painful injury forced her to cancel the remaining dates on her “Born This Way” world tour. (It caused me to cancel my tour of the five boroughs via the New York City marathon.)

I don’t know how La Gaga’s physical therapy is going, but I do know from various media accounts that she has chosen to pass some of the time away gazing at her new monster fish tank filled with over two dozen koi carp imported from Japan. (Sure beats old movies.)

And she’s getting around in a wheelchair made of 24-karat gold plate and lined with black leather; it even comes with a removable leather canopy. This one-of-a-kind device was designed by Ken Borochov of the luxury brand Mordekai. Borochov, more accustomed to designing jewelry for the likes of Nicki Minaj and  Kanye West, told the New York Post that he has “never done a wheelchair but am always up for a challenge and was thrilled to create what I affectionately dubbed the Chariot, a chair fit only for a queen.”

Here’s to wishing the pop queen a speedy recovery!

UPDATE: Lady Gaga has since traded in her golden chariot for a customized Louis Vuitton version. Why am I not surprised?

Silver Linings

The recent nor’easter and a recent bout with norovirus (a k a stomach flu) have, oddly, helped to speed up my recovery from last month’s setbacks (double workouts, severe spinning were the culprits). I guess my aching body (or, rather, aching left groin area) just need to rest some more, and with the bad weather outside and feeling under the weather inside, there was not much to do but convalesce.

I have since resumed spin classes, though my level of riding is down a few notches, and I am back to three-mile runs a couple of times a week. I also have dusted off my PT routine of stretching and core strengthening. (Memo to self: You must keep that up!)

This cold weather, though, is not exactly kind to those of us recovering from arthroscopic hip surgery(ies). I was feeling so much better in the warmer fall months.

Counting the days to spring.