Why I Needed Hip Surgery at 27 Years Old

Hi friends! Happy Leap Day!  Hope you had a great weekend.  Thanks for the wonderful feedback on my new blog design.  Glad you love it as much as I do!

Today I want to talk about my hip surgery in January 2015.  My blog’s subtitle is “Healthy Living in a World Full of Food,” and lately we’ve been talking an awful lot about food and not so much about how I’m staying healthy. The way I work  out has changed A LOT since I injured my hip and later this week I plan to talk about where I am fitness-wise.  In a couple weeks I will share some of my favorite hip strengthening moves and stretches.  For right now though,  I thought I’d fill you in on why I needed hip surgery at 27 years old.

Why I needed hip surgery at 27 years old

Back in September 2014, I wrote a quick summary of the pain in my hip started:

The whole right side of my body has been broken since March. Not literally broken, but enough so that I haven’t been able to go to yoga or ride my bike. I’ve been in physical therapy since June. The other day, the therapist told me my hips were out of alignment and that one of my legs was longer than the other. So he pulled it really hard (my leg, not my hip) and told me that he fixed it. I was very confused but it actually seemed to make my leg feel better so I’ll take it.  What did I do to my leg, you ask? I have no effin clue. The right side of my knee started bugging me a week before my birthday in March, and then my hip and lower back got all wonky, and then my calf started hurting and there you have it. I had an MRI on Friday and my doctor seems to think it’s ITBS. But I guess we’ll just have to wait and see. I’m obviously 95.

A couple posts later, I gave an update on my mysterious injury:

All of the other appointments had to do with the mysterious injury that’s been plaguing me since March. My knee MRI came back normal and I finally decided to get a second opinion from another sports medicine doctor because the first one told me that if it isn’t my knee, then it’s absolutely rheumatoid arthritis and I thought that was completely ridiculous. The new doctor thinks it’s my back and ordered ANOTHER MRI, which I had at 8 on Friday night.

So I have a follow-up with that doctor on Wednesday. He thinks I have a pinched nerve in my lower back and it’s causing sciatic nerve pain down my leg. That seems to make a lot more sense to me.

Meanwhile, I went to my foot and ankle doctor on Thursday just to make sure it’s not my shoes or orthotics messing me up. THIS doctor told me I have Achilles Tendonitis and gave me this ridiculous splint to wear on my foot while I sleep. It keeps my foot in an upright position, which makes it really difficult for the cat to sleep on my feet in the middle of the night. So maybe that’s a win? He told me that even if my back is causing my other leg pain, the tendonitis is not related at all, and prescribed me 500 more weeks of physical therapy.  Moral of the story: I’m going to be in physical therapy for the rest of my life.

And then I stopped blogging because life was completely ridiculous and doctors were driving me insane. So the follow up to that update is that I had about 3 million more tests and got to the point where I could barely walk without excruciating pain before my doctor decided to do a simple X-ray of my hips, and TADA, mystery solved! Well, almost.

The X-ray showed that my hips are shaped abnormally, which apparently is something that you can be born with and is fairly common. Basically, the hip is a ball and socket joint and mine don’t line up evenly, which causes the bones to rub against each other and sometimes cause cartilage damage.  A lot of people can go their whole lives and never have any problems with this, but problems do occur more frequently when you’re very active, especially with activities that involve your hip: yoga, cycling, running, etc.  Basically everything I loved to do.

Sidenote: Flashback to when I was dealing with ankle tendonitis in 2010 and specifically remember the doctor telling me that it wasn’t my ankle, it was my right hip! Why didn’t I listen then!?

Anyway, my doctor sent me for an MRI but he was almost 100 percent sure I had a labral tear. The labrum is a rim of cartilage that surrounds the hip joint. My MRI results came back and, sure enough, he was right. I finally had a diagnosis…and an appointment for hip surgery on January 12, 2015. More specifically, Hip Arthroscopy: a procedure that uses a small telescopic camera to see the joint and arthroscopic instruments to fix any problems. This type of surgery is far less invasive because it involves making smaller incisions instead of cutting the whole area around your hip open. A year later and my scars are barely noticeable.

So I went in for surgery on January 12. While the surgeon was in there poking around, he realized that it wasn’t in fact a full labral tear, but just mild fraying and inflammation. So he did a debridement, which involved smoothing over the part of the torn/frayed labrum and clearing out the inflammation. Because he didn’t need to do a full labral repair, I was able to get off crutches a lot sooner than anticipated. I was still in PT for three months post-op.

Believe it or not, that’s the short version of the story.  I could write a book detailing all the different doctors appointments and all the different tests and all the different ridiculous diagnoses I got before we found the right one.  I could also write a whole book about the recovery process itself. Let me just say that I never really appreciated all my hips did for me until I could barely walk. Getting up stairs for the first time without crutches was easily one of the proudest moments of my life.

So, how do I feel now? About a million times better! I’m so happy I had the surgery. I still have a bit of hip pain from time to time, but more on that and how I deal with it later this week!

What’s the worst sports injury you’ve ever had? How did you deal with it? Let me know in the comments!

Have a great Monday!

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  1. I’m glad you’re feeling better, but ugh – what a process!! No fun! I have some sort of misalignment, and within the last few years, my arches have fallen. It makes running much less fun, but I’m still at it… sort of. ;P

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