FAI and Labral Repair – Physical Therapy

Wednesday, February 5, 2020 – I had my physical therapy evaluation the following Wednesday after the doctor finally cleared me for PT. I went into that appointment in my typical workout gear including a sports bra. I don’t mess around with PT. I am there to work. Let’s get it done!

I met a nice guy, forgot his name already, who gave me my eval. He walked me back to the back corner of the PT area and had me sit on a cushioned table. With my leg dangling off, that didn’t feel that great. He ran me slowly through several movement tests. You know, where they say ‘I’m going to push down on your leg, I want you to resist as long as you aren’t in pain”.

He asked me to do a squat. I carefully did a wonderful pain-free squat. He immediately FREAKED OUT and said don’t squat so deep. You shouldn’t go beyond parallel. Your knees shouldn’t go past your toes. [insert eye roll] I questioned him on that, we had a brief discussion where we agreed, in his presence, I wouldn’t do a real squat and he would stop lecturing me on real squats. I get it. In the PT world, they have set protocols they follow. In real life, it’s BS, but to get me back to real life, I’m fine with following their PT rules for a bit.

Friday, February 7, 2020 – I had my first real physical therapy appointment today. At my last visit with Dr. Freeman, he gave me a packet of physical therapy exercises. He said to bring it with me to my first appointment, so I did. I found this to be a huge help overall.

In general, the workouts aren’t that exciting. The physical therapist, Michelle, did her own assessment on me, and then circled some of the exercises for me to do. We skipped several in the beginning, but I did still do leg rolling.

Essentially, it was a collection of either range of motion exercises or hip strengthening. The strength pieces being a lot of the things I was doing to prep for surgery. Hip Circles with a band, clam shells with a band, 1/4 squats, calf raises, standing theraband leg stuff etc.

I was scheduled to go in twice a week. The therapist said not to do the exercises daily to give my hip a break. I ended up coming in typically Monday and Wednesday. Then I would do the workouts at home on my own on Friday or Saturday. (Typically Saturday morning)

This continued for about four week with eight total appointments. In the appointments she would occasionally add a new exercise or have me add an ankle weight or increase weight on an existing movement.

Overall, I’ve taken things slowly, progressing along the way. I did end up purchasing the ankle weights on Amazon in the third week. These were used for leg lifts and I can see the long term benefits of these.

It seems I’ll have a few good days, then a day where I regress. Then a few days later I’ll notice I’m able to do something I know I wasn’t able to do the week prior.

Prime example, three weeks into PT, I couldn’t do a plank or push-ups. Very similar movements. It’s not that I physically couldn’t. I’ve done them before plenty of times. It’s that I would get a sharp pinch near my groin similar to what I experienced before surgery. Keep in mind, I didn’t have a repair, I had a debridement. This past Sunday was just shy of 6 weeks post-surgery. I met up with some friends to do a workout at a local park. The workout included pushups which I fully intended to do on my knees. I was able to do a few regular pushups before I went to my knees. Guys, this is such huge progress! I just didn’t want to overdo it, and, let’s be honest. I knew I would be pretty sore after the workout, so no need to push it just yet.

Monday, March 2, 2020 – One issue I have been having which really isn’t new is my back. I was “diagnosed” ten years ago by a chiropractor with a degenerative disc in my back. Last spring I started mat pilates which kept my core strong. The pain magically went away. Healing with exercise. I love it! Unfortunately, my mat pilates instructor left and the YMCA just canceled the class instead of filling it. That was at the end of May when my hip really started to get worse. I started doing more Peloton core strength classes and then they released the Emma Lovewell Crush Your Core program. This was basically a bunch of her previous classes they grouped into a 4-week progression with 3 core classes a week and one stretching class. It’s pretty close in results to the mat pilates I was doing but not quite. I did start taking these pretty consistently about 3x a week which was a huge help.

I explained to my physical therapist the issues I was having when I went in for my regular PT appointment that Monday. I really think my backside muscles (hamstrings, glute, back etc) have been really tight the past week or so. She had me start my regular PT exercises and then came by with a Hypervolt. She used the Hypervolt on my glute (my ass, let’s be serious here) and my hip like where the IT band would be and holy cow! I felt sooo much better after. It was good to know that my issue really can be solved with loosening up the muscles. Plus, if I strengthen them and start doing my core work again, this will be less of an issue!

Now I have the knockoff one at home. I made it with a BLACK+DECKER Jig Saw, Smart Select, 5.0-Amp with the Jigsaw Massage Adapter Bit – Percussion Attachment Tool. This combo works great and only cost me $50 total. The only problem is it’s quite loud and heavy. I really can’t use it much on my own. I definitely can’t reach my backside holding it with one hand. The Hypervolt is so much lighter and quieter but that’s why it costs $350. Later that night my boyfriend swung by and helped me jigsaw my backside which definitely helped. My PT later let me know of a knockoff Hyperfolt that’s a lot cheaper (only $100) which is the Accugun Quiet Pro, 3 speeds. I’m eyeing it, but not sure yet if I should get it or not. I have $20 in Amazon points so far, so I may wait a few weeks and buy it after I have a few more points saved up. We’ll see!

Wednesday, March 4, 2020 – Today I officially had my second post-surgery checkup with Dr. Freeman. I have been looking forward to this appointment for a month now!

No, it did not go how I wanted. I like to go into each doctor’s appointment with a clear goal and a checklist. Today’s goal was to get approval to start running. To start with hops, toe taps, unweighted squats, and lunges. Unfortunately, Dr. Freeman doesn’t agree with me quite yet. He wants me to wait a few more weeks. He explained that the period of two months to five months is critical with healing. That many patients start to feel better and overdue things thus leading to frustrations and feelings of a setback. I SO hate it when he’s right!! haha I mean, I want him to be right, he was my surgeon, but I want to be right this time. le sigh.

So, there are two ways to look at this news. I could do what I normally do which is to focus on what I can’t do and that I’m not allowed to do things yet. Orrrr I could be positive and happy that I GET TO START THESE THINGS IN APRIL! Yay!

He also explained that my physical therapy appointments are like a bank and that as long as I continue with physical therapy at home, I can stop coming in for appointments. This way, I can do the PT work at home and save the PT appointments for when I really need them which is in April when I can run on their beautiful Alter-G machine!

Afterwards I visited my physical therapist who is in the same building. She had asked me to stop by after my doctor’s appointment to give her an update. I had hoped it would be to tell her to start working in running and hopping and lunges into my plan, but it wasn’t. Instead, I paused things with her with plants to pick them back up the second week of April. Then we will continue these things.

Thankfully, this past year I transitioned from going into a CrossFit box to working out at home. I have a Peloton and space in my guest room and a garage gym with a squat rack with pullup bar. In addition to Peloton, I started following Street Parking programming and have really grasped the idea of scheduling my workouts (now physical therapy) into my week to get it done, at home, alone.

As a result, I’m not that concerned about continuing consistently with my workouts and physical therapy at home because I’m already used to doing it. I am excited to save $90/week for the next 4 weeks of not having to pay for physical therapy. I’m looking forward to starting all the toe touches, hopping, lunging, squats, and jogging in April!

So for now my goals are to:

  • Do PT at home 3x a week
  • Do a core class thru Peloton or YouTube 3x a week
  • Do Street Parking 2x a week (I’ll increase this when I’m not as sore after each workout and having fewer back issues)
  • Ride the Peloton bike 2-3x a week.
  • I’d also like to incorporate 1 yoga class a week and possibly a stretching class
  • Enjoy 1-2 rest days a week. Let’s be realistic here!

I’ll update in a few weeks with how things are progressing at home and hopefully, soon I’ll be floating on air running on the Alter-G!

Catch up on all the FAI & Labrum Repair posts:

2 thoughts on “FAI and Labral Repair – Physical Therapy

  1. I cannot wait to get on the Alter-G. Or the treadmill. Or anything LOL! You’re doing great! I know it’s frustrating to be sidelined, but it’s so nice to have a path mapped out. I am still going to PT 2x a week but I still need quite a bit of guidance with actually walking “normally” so I’ll be there a bit longer. Best wishes!

    1. I cannot believe you are still going through all this from a broken foot. Please keep me up-to-date on your recovery as well! We can be Alter-G friends!

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