…for my hip! Thanks to my physical therapist, Chip Ransom of Benchmark Physical Therapy (and my by-the-book daily exercise sessions); I abandoned my crutches today when I went to the pool.
Life’s little victories are sweet.
Today marks my 6th week anniversary since undergoing hip arthroscopy for a labral tear and psoas (hip flexor tendon) release, and it’s been a slow process of weaning off those crutches. Two weeks post-op my surgeon, John Andrachuk, gave the green light to start that process; so, I started leaving them in the car while I was at home. The short treks around the house were doable, but nothing more.
At first, I needed them all of the time when I wasn’t at home, but I slowly progressed to needing them only for “distances.” By “distance,” I mean the distance from my car to the pool at Club Peachtree where I swim each day, or the distance from my car into a store. Believe me; that distance is far when you are recovering from hip surgery!
Yesterday, I finally felt good enough to carry my crutches to the pool. I thought I would need them for the return trip; however, I carried them all the way back to the car. Woo-hoo, I was finally ready to leave my crutches behind today!
Last week was a big turning point in my recovery, and I attribute it to the success of Chip’s manual therapy. I appreciate that he trusted me to let him know if he was stretching me too far. It was a constant banter of, “Does that hurt?” “No, Chip.” Does that hurt?” “NO!” “Does THAT hurt?” “Nooo. I’ll tell you if you’re hurting me, Chip!”
He pushed it further than he would with most patients; however, I was fit and flexible going into surgery, so I seem to be bouncing right back.
That’s the moral of this story: If you want a successful recovery after surgery, be as fit and flexible as possible before your operation.
Oh, and make sure you get yourself a good surgeon and physical therapist.
Most importantly (that is, once you have had a successful surgery), DO YOUR PRESCRIBED PHYSICAL THERAPY EXERCISES, and don’t forget to ask your surgeon and therapist what else you can do to get better faster.
In my case, with the blessing of Dr. Andrachuk, I was back in the gym the day following surgery to work my upper body. Using the SciFit to “peddle” with my arms kept my upper body fit and the endorphins pumping. I also made sure to keep up my prior physical therapy exercise routine to keep all three of my other limbs fit and strong, while my fourth limb was on restriction.
The day following removal of my stitches, I was back in the pool swimming. I’m on a no-kicking restriction for a total of 3-4 months post-op, so I dusted off my pull buoy, and it has become my new best friend. It’s just a figure eight-shaped solid piece of foam rubber that sits between my legs while I swim; however, it keeps my legs buoyant and prevents them from kicking.
Since my upper body is stuck doing all of the work, I limit my yardage to 2,000 yards per day (six days per week) which is two-thirds of my normal training volume. Between the reduced yardage and my daily routine of shoulder physical therapy exercises, my shoulders are managing fine. I limit my butterfly yardage to 200 yards (broken up) per day, though, and I do a LOT of sculling to take the load off my shoulders and strengthen my forearms.
Some of the sculling I do is face-down sans snorkel, and it must look funny to those in the gym who happen to glance out the window while they’re pumping iron.
My body and neck stay relaxed while my arms are straight in front of me, and I’m looking at the bottom of the pool. Only my forearms move, and they make a quick figure eight pattern out to the side and back in. I do move forward, but it’s admittedly pretty slow. It’s so slow that I need to lift my head a few times in a 25-yard stretch to catch a quick breath.
When my head is down, the bubbles are coming out my nose and mouth in a relaxed way. It must look funny on the surface though, as my still body floats slowly down the pool with bubbles coming out on each side of my head.
Meanwhile, from my perspective, I’m just sightseeing through my goggles as I make my way down the black line. I’ve done it so many times, I am confident I have every crack in the tile and concrete memorized. I have also become quite familiar with the feet of every noodler from the water aerobics class on the other side of my lane.
It’s all good. Hip hip hooray!