Hip Surgery Update Two Months Post-Op

AJWs Taproom[Author’s Note: In September, I wrote about my hip-resurfacing surgery that took place on September 21st. Then last month, I ‘penned’ a one-month post-op report. Today’s column is the second in a series of follow-up columns on my road to recovery.]

In my October update I was eagerly looking forward to my six-week check-up with my surgeon in the hope that I would be cleared for more activity. Well, as luck would have it, when I returned to South Carolina for the appointment, everything looked good and I was given the green light to increase my activity. It was one of the happiest days of my life!

What does increased activity mean to a runner recovering from hip-resurfacing surgery? Several things:

First, I have been prescribed an extensive set of strength and flexibility exercises that take me 45 minutes each day. These isometric exercises are essentially designed to help me achieve a more supportive and balanced structure and continue to gain strength in the joint, the bone, and my core. The rest of the recovery routine is a smorgasbord of strength, flexibility, and cardio work.

What I have known for years is that I needed to become a more well-rounded athlete. While I always paid lip service to strength, flexibility, and cross training, the truth is all I ever really wanted to do was run. Now, when facing my own mortality and needing to become a more whole athlete, I have no choice but to pay attention to my whole body and the big picture.

What this means for me in real time is that I attend two strength classes per week that truly kick my ass. I need to be content knowing that I am one of the weaker members of the class and I need to be comfortable making myself vulnerable to that new challenge. Additionally, I am spending several hours a day in the pool and on the bike knowing that my cardiovascular fitness has a long way to go.

All that said, the aspect of my new training regimen that is a truly a difference-maker is the Stair Master. That thing, I have to say, has completely transformed my attitude. I was always the guy at the gym who looked at those people sweating away on the Stair Master with disdain. I am not sure why but there was something about that thing that used to repulse me. Now, after talking to several committed Stair Master users and understanding how to use the darn thing, I am hooked! Given that I still have three months to go before I can run again, the hard work of climbing those stairs on a daily basis has served as a catalyst to the new me. It’s great!

I know, at this point, that I still have a long way to go in my rehab and recovery. And, even more significantly, I know that patience and discipline are more important than ever. But, the thing that makes me feel so good about this whole thing is that I am getting my health back. I am in control of my own destiny as long as I continue to follow doctor’s orders and take care of myself. After years of feeling like I was losing control of my own destiny, I now feel as though I have it back. And that has made all the difference.

Bottoms up!

AJW’s Beer of the Week

Starr Hill HopfettiThis week’s Beer of the Week comes from a local Virginia brewery, Starr Hill Brewery in Crozet, Virginia. They recently released a delicious Imperial IPA called Hopfetti which, at 10%, is not for the weak, but I have to say is a truly outstanding beer. Give it a shot if you can find it!

Call for Comments (from Meghan)

Have you been at a similar spot in your own health journey where you felt like you had gotten your health back in control after a period where it wasn’t? Can you describe your experience?

There are 5 comments

  1. EmersonTA

    "First, I have been prescribed an extensive set of strength and flexibility exercises that take me 45 minutes each day." The irony of this statement is that runners who can commit to this type of training at a young age will avoid your fate. Suggestion: also work on balancing your posture. I have seen pics of you over the years — including this article's pic — where you are leaning/listing right. All the imbalances and weaknesses add up over time. For young runners: fix them before you end up on the shelf or under the knife.

  2. joeleoleol

    Being in control of your body and recovery is a huge motivation. I'm glad your embracing the stair climber and the recovery process.

  3. romanair

    I can imagine how good it must feel to exercise again, even if its not running. With working on your overall shape and adressing the disbalances, chances are good that it ultimately makes you a better runner.
    Do you know the reason that caused the need to resurfasing? A hip displacement or muscular imbalances that led to malposition the hip?
    Couple of month ago my doc told me I had a hip displacement called coxa vara, which was overlooked in childhood or teenage and can't be corrected anymore. His only advise was: "there is nothing you can do, just stop running".
    I have my reasons why I didn't take his advise and am still running. But chances are I'm running towards hip surgary aswell :(

  4. NVirdone

    I'm glad to hear that you are on the mend and following the exercises given to you by your doctor. After my last 100k I was at the supermarket lifting a bag of kitty litter and herniated two disks. I could barely walk and lost the strength and feeling in my left foot and calf. The problem was a weak core.
    After months of physical therapy and following the exercises given to me I have my strength back and I am beginning to regain feeling in my leg. Core exercises, strength training, and swimming are all parts of my routine now. Even though I have not been given the green light to run yet, I look forward to that day I now know the importance of these exercises and will not disregard them in the future.

  5. atariprodigy

    AJW: I heard the podcast on TRN where you discussed stair master/stairmill workouts. A few years back I split my IT band on an impact injury. There wasn't an option for surgical intervention so it healed with a large amount of scar tissue on the right leg which has left me wonky. Long story short, I Really want to give the stairmaster/stairmill thing a try and help take care of my hip and was hoping you could point me in the right direction as far as workout protocol.

    Time, effort, ETC as it would relate to running. Any help is appreciated.

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