The Three Ways Hip Surgery Has Changed My Approach To Fitness

The other day I decided since it’s March and March is technically spring that it can’t be cold anymore.  So I packed away all of my winter clothes just to make it really official.  Unfortunately the weather didn’t get the memo and last night, as it snowed, I found myself buried under two blankets, wearing knee-high socks, and surrounded by a pillow fort that I built, because I’m five.   I was also pretty much dressed like this:

Rosey Rebecca snow

Except imagine me with short hair and inside on the couch surrounded by a pillow fort.  I would have taken a  picture but I was too cold. So instead you get this glorious picture of me from six years ago. You’re welcome.

This is the exact opposite of how I felt Thursday morning at spin class, where I was dripping in sweat, with my hair tied back with a headband because I forgot a hair tie (don’t do that).  If you follow me on Twitter you might have seen this tweet:

Luckily I was in the back row and no one had to see my butt.

Speaking of spinning, I promised a post about my workouts lately and how they differ now that I’ve had hip surgery.  So enough talking about how I mooned everyone in spin class and let’s get to it, shall we?  (But first, if you haven’t seen this Flash Mob Spin Class Wedding Proposal, you need to get on that ASAP)

The Chocolate Moose, Greenville, SC

I’ve learned a lot about my body since it first started acting up in March  2014.  Up until then, I’d had my fair share of sports injuries but nothing compared to what I went through with my hip. I’ve been pretty active since I started my blog in 2009 and I’ve tried a lot of workouts: spinning, body pump, yoga, pilates, road biking, running, crossfit.  So I was beside myself when the right side of my body just stopped working all of the sudden.  What made it worse was that the doctors couldn’t figure out what was wrong with me for so long.  Working out is my outlet, my stress relief.  I’ve always struggled with anxiety and not being able to work out and not knowing how to fix it was really hard on me.

On top of that, the weight that I had worked so hard to lose when I started this blog in 2009 had crept back on and I felt like I couldn’t control it at all.  By the time my doctor realized I needed hip surgery it had been seven months and I could barely walk, let alone work out.  I was really mad at my body. I felt betrayed by it  and as though I was being punished.  I thought it was unfair that I was stuck in my predicament despite the fact that I tried to do all the right things to take care of my body. Even though these weren’t rational thoughts, it’s how I felt and I couldn’t control it.

Physical therapy after surgery was very humbling.  Three times a week for three months I learned how to use my lower body again. I felt my hip get stronger with every session. I felt almost back to normal.  I celebrated tiny accomplishments like I’d completed a marathon.  Fitness goals for me then were SO different from what they were before I injured my hip.  All I wanted was to feel normal again, like my body wasn’t working against me.   So a year out from surgery, the way I think about workouts is very different.  My main goals now are to lose the weight again, but also to prevent hurting my hip again (and other injuries) and to feel strong enough to do normal, everyday things, like bending down to pick up a box or walking for even half a mile.

There are three very important ways in which I work toward these goals and I want to share them with you because I feel like they’re helpful even if you haven’t had hip surgery.

The Three Ways Hip Surgery Has Changed My Approach To Fitness- roseyrebecca.com

I LISTEN TO MY BODY AND UNDERSTAND ITS LIMITS

If I didn’t understand this before, I definitely do now.  My body is much more sensitive post-surgery; It speaks to me and lets me know when I’m pushing too hard or if its had enough. I struggled a lot with this before I hurt my hip.  Part of this is accepting that there are some things my body just isn’t ready for or straight up can’t do anymore.  For example, my hip completely rebelled last month when I was doing BodyPump a few times a week, so I stopped going.  As much as I love BodyPump, my body just isn’t there yet. I’ve also accepted that there are some yoga poses my hip just doesn’t like anymore. Spinning is OK for me because I can control the resistance on the bike and take breaks when I need them.  Jillian Michael’s 30 Day Shred is OK some days and not others.  My hip LIVES for rest days. and, as a whole, my body ALWAYS feels better when I listen to it.  Listening to my body has made not care as much about what other people are doing in the gym. I know what is working for my  body and that’s all that matters.

I ASK FOR HELP WHEN I NEED IT

Part of the reason I love group fitness classes so much is that most of the time I have no idea what I’m doing.  I absolutely adore my yoga and spin instructors at Gold’s Gym. They all know about my hip surgery (my spin instructor has even had both of her hips replaced) and they are so open to helping me find modifications and making sure I am doing things correctly. As I said above, a key part of healing for me is knowing when to stop if something doesn’t feel right and all of my instructors are so in tune to this. It really makes me feel supported and like I’m taking extra care of my body.  Just the other day I mentioned to my yoga instructor that my hip had been acting up during one of the poses. She not only took the time after class to show me modifications but also referred me to a physical therapist  that specializes in therapeutic yoga. Now I have an appointment with her and one more person on my team to support me. You will never regret reaching out and asking for a support system when you’re having a tough time with something- this goes for anything in life- not just fitness.

I AM MORE PATIENT AND GRATEFUL FOR WHAT MY BODY DOES FOR ME

This might be the biggest part of how my approach to fitness has changed since hip surgery. I am not a patient person and I get discouraged pretty easily, especially when it comes to fitness gains.  I am very much an all or nothing type of person. But when trying to snap back from such a huge setback, I’ve learned that time and patience is the only thing that will really help me heal. It took me THREE months post surgery to be able to walk a mile without pain. Instead of getting frustrated I focused on being thankful that my body was working with me, not against me. I am grateful for each day I wake up and my hip doesn’t hurt, that I can hike a mile or more, that I can take a spinning class with no pain.  It’s really true that you don’t know what you have until it’s gone and for me, it took a major injury and surgery to appreciate my body. I’m not mad at it anymore for breaking. If anything, I am so grateful for the lessons its taught me throughout this whole process.  As I mentioned above, I celebrate tiny victories. Three squats is better than no squats and I know with time and patience my body will reward me with strength and perseverance.

Robert Frost Quote

So there you have it. The three ways my approach to fitness has changed since hip surgery. I think that what I’ve talked about can apply to anyone in any fitness situation. Of course I am not a doctor or a personal trainer. This post is about my experience and what has worked for me. I sincerely hope that is has helped or inspired you in some way.

Your Turn: What fitness mantras do you like to follow? Do you listen to your body? How has your approach to fitness changed over the years?

Have a great weekend! <3

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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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