Hip Labrum and FAI surgery recovery: Week 1

Labrum surgery recovery: The first five days were rough, although I was in better shape than I had expected to be. If you are needing to have this surgery, make sure you have help 24/7 for the first 5-7 days. I needed help with *everything*, especially getting up to go to the bathroom overnight. The following is my account of Week 1 recovery from labrum and FAI hip arthroscopy.

Evening after surgery: I was surprisingly alert coming home from surgery, especially given I had a GA, but then physical fatigue set in within an hour. I started Percocet about four hours after my surgery, and continued to take it every four hours. At the three and a half hour mark, the surgical pain would start to come back and I knew I was almost ready for another.  The one downside of Percocet for me was that my mouth very dry, I needed water constantly. I had to get up to use the bathroom a lot with all the water consumption, and all the fluids given during surgery. I tried using crutches but was Very unstable on them. I decided that the walker (with the tennis balls on the bottom) was better initially for getting used to walking on only one leg.

We also figured out pretty quickly that the raised toilet seat with handles I ordered prior to surgery was an absolute necessity and my husband got that installed. The regular toilet seat was just too low. As far as going to the bathroom, I needed help for the first few times, and also discovered that wearing underwear was challenging – one more thing to pull up and down over my dressing – so I ditched that for a few days and made sure to wear loose (but appropriate 😉 pants. I also needed my compression hose right away. I had a few pairs in my closet from when I was pregnant, and they really helped to keep my lower leg swelling under control. Lower leg swelling and bruising is common because of the way that your leg is in traction for surgery – your leg is locked into a ski boot device and the leg is pulled to create more space in the joint for the camera and surgical instruments.

Leg discoloration from swelling
Leg discoloration from swelling

Overnight, I put a 32 oz water cup with a bendy straw on my nightstand with my Percocet and set an alarm on my phone every 4 hours to remind to take my next pill.  Keeping on schedule with your pain medication is vital to a quicker recovery – if your body is busy fighting the surgical pain, it can’t use all of  it’s resources to heal!  The only alarming thing I noticed at night was my surgical gauze under my waterproof “saran wrap” dressing was soaked with bright red watery fluid. After re-reading my discharge paperwork, it made sense that it was the bloody irrigation from the surgery (normal). It was a bit more than expected, but didn’t increase in volume throughout the night.

Labrum Hip arthroscopy
Surgical Dressing, labrum arthroscopy

Post-op day 1: The morning was rough, I had barely any sleep overnight – partly due to the Percocet effects and my alarm going off every four hours, and partly due to getting up at night to use restroom every two hours and my slow maneuvering with walker. I also had to sleep in one position all night, on my back wedged between two pillows to prevent rolling on my side, which was very awkward for me. My voice was also very hoarse the whole day due to intubation during the surgery. I started Mobic, a high-powered NSAID, to help decrease extra bone growth on the areas that were shaved down, and to decrease inflammation in the joint. I also started Colace to help with bowel movements – as I would learn as the days went on, Percocet makes you VERY constipated. Starting the Colace as soon as possible is in your best interest. The hip was very sore, as to be expected,  but my Quad muscles kept twitching randomly over the patella and into lower half of the medial (inside), central and lateral (outside) muscle, and the skin just below the three incisions was still somewhat numb. I tried using crutches more during the day and used the walker for steadiness at night. I continued with preventative icing, icing the incision area 15 mins on, 45 mins off with the TheraPearl Back Wrap. I found that pack to be the best as I could ice the incisions and the side of the hip where I had muscle soreness all at the same time.  I also found that the non-surgery leg and glute, and bilateral shoulders and triceps were very sore from supporting all of my weight on the walker and crutches!

The biggest surprise of the day was receiving the Op Report, per my request,  from my surgeon’s MA. In Post-Op recovery the nurses had stated that surgery went as planned and there were no surprises found, but I discovered that was not entirely the case. The labrum tear was larger than anticipated, and I also had fraying in the posterior labrum. I had the pincer/CAM combo FAI as seen in the MRI, but the biggest surprise was Grade II chondromalacia in the femur head, which was not shown in the MRI. Chondromalacia is a degenerative change in the cartilage that protects the bone, and most likely is a result of having the labrum tear for almost two years and the bone on bone friction allowed between the flaps of the tear. If the labrum tear is not addressed, it can lead to accelerated degeneration in the joint (starting with chondromalacia) which will ultimately lead to needing a hip replacement. I’m very thankful I had the surgery when I did!

That night we went out to dinner (12/23 – me wanting to have some sort of low-stress Holiday dinner out to celebrate my surgery). I sat in my SUV instead of my sedan that I used to come home from the hospital, and definitely had more difficulty getting up into the higher seat than down into a lower one. I had to adjust the tilt of seat to make the surgery hip more comfortable during the ride.

Post-op Day 2: That night I slept all night! I woke up with my pre-set cell phone alarm every four hours for pain meds and also got up to use the bathroom every time, too, to make things more efficient for me and my husband which helped us get more sleep! I still used the walker at night, I felt more stable in the dark. Upon waking in the morning I had moderate pain and spasm in my erector (spinal) muscles in the lumbar spine, most likely due to sleeping in one position at night and my new gait (walking pattern). I applied a warm TheraPearl pack to my lower back to relax the muscles while sitting in my recliner, and that seemed to help quite a bit within 30 minutes. I continued to have intermittent Quad pain and twitching around the knee, but it was less frequent. The gauze and oozing around three incisions was dark red in color indicating old blood, and the numbness in the Quad was less as well. I found I was really utilizing all the single leg balances and single leg RDL exercises from PT prior to surgery – I needed them for strength and stability, and also to pick things up off of the floor. 🙂  There was no change in bowel movement at that point, so I continued with Colace as prescribed. I carried a Nalgene water bottle with looped handle while using the  walker. I also took the padded Crutcheze handles from my crutches and moved them to the walker handles. The palms of my hands were getting very sore from all the force on my hands with walking.

I took my first shower since surgery and definitely needed assistance getting in and out.  I situated the shower seat under the shower head and made sure my soap, shampoo, conditioner, razor and towel were within reach. My shower did not have a sprayer attachment so I borrowed one of my daughters bowl-shaped bath toys to help rinse. I was lowered into the shower with help from my husband and sat on the shower chair so my surgery leg was stretched out. The waterproof “saran wrap” dressing protected my incision from water very well. Drying my hair was interesting, I ended up doing a single leg balance agains the counter so I would use my brush and dryer at the same time! It was Christmas Eve and I was determined to dress up and look nice despite my circumstances.

Dressed for Christmas Eve
Dressed for Christmas Eve

Post op Days 3 and 4: Day 3, Merry Christmas! These two days were more of the same from Day 2,  but movement started getting easier, partly because I had less swelling in the joint and tissue, and partly because I had some functional processes down to help efficiency and mobility. The  twitching migrated to my calf and glutes on my surgery side and less in the Quad. I felt less of a need for pain meds at the four hour mark, but continued every four hours to keep the pain managed. Once again I took a shower on Day 4. Maneuvering in and out of the shower was a little easier, but I still needed my husband’s help. He also had to help me put on my compression hose, underwear and pants because I still could not bend down in forward flexion. Directions from the surgeon indicated strict guidelines to not rotate the hip in the joint and not put the hip info extreme flexion (forward hip hinge) more than 90 degrees to protect the labrum repair and anchored sutures. Icing the hip also continued every few hours.

Post op Day 5:  My husband’s birthday. We planned to go out with some friends for his birthday at a favorite brewery. Being I was on Percocet, no beer for me, but I had a good time nonetheless. I even asked one of our friends to be our Designated Driver so my husband could have a few drinks being I couldn’t drive. I managed pretty well in the regular restaurant chairs for about 2 hours, then the last hour I rotated between propping my leg up on another chair and standing with my crutches. At the three hour mark, I had to go home and started icing down my hip and Quad.

Being my pain was lessening, I tried spacing out my pain meds to every six hours versus every four. That wasn’t really the best idea, especially being I sat in a restaurant chair for three hours…! I had more calf twitching and really tried to use my crutches more for efficiency. I made a conscious effort to lay down throughout the day to relax the front of my leg and take the strain off of the psoas muscle. Sitting in a chair and hanging the leg with just toe-pressure weight when moving around really tightens that muscle, and a tight psoas can put pressure on the labrum repair. I followed some of the information I found online and began resting my toe and foot on the ground instead of hanging it which really helped loosen my Quad and psoas. And hallelujah, I had my first bowel movement!!! I followed a friend’s advice and started eating dried apricots on Day 4, and they worked. 🙂

Post op day 6: That morning I took the surgical dressing off. I was scared, but the incisions looked good. The larger incision was a little red but my surgeon stated that redness can happen for a bit when you take the surgery dressing off. He instructed me to watch for the redness to spread over the course of a few hours, and to call if there was a significant change in redness color or location, or red spider-looking streaks starting down my Quad. I was also instructed to watch for fluid that oozed a green/yellow color, which may also be a sign of infection. As instructed, I replaced dressing with a few breathable, sterile band-aids over the incisions. Later in the morning I took shower *without assistance*! I replaced the breathable band aids with waterproof ones for the shower as instructed. After the shower I pat-dried the incision with a clean tissue and re-applied the breathable band-aids. I also went back to taking Percocet every five hours instead of the six I had tried which helped me feel more comfortable.

Labrum Hip arthroscopy
Incisions Day 6, labrum arthroscopy
labrum hip arthroscopy
Minor Redness in largest incision

I also had my first post-surgery PT appointment that day! In his evaluation, my physical therapist Eric Christensen, DPT with Chandler Physical Therapy, checked my hip range of motion (ROM), incisions, and swelling of my leg. He guided me through some isometric contractions of the glute and leg muscles to improve muscle tone in surgery leg being those muscles were not being used. He applied Kinsesio-tape to my lateral and anterior thigh and he scraped the fascia in my posterior leg with a metal tool (the Graston technique) to help with muscle function and decrease swelling. I finished my session with stim and ice  on my hip and he taught me how to walk on my crutches properly for efficiency of movement and correct posture. That was the biggest help once I got home. It took me a while to get coordinated with my new movement on my crutches, but I no longer felt the crutches digging into my armpits and actually used my arm muscles to push down on the crutches for movement. This also really helped to keep my posture upright and helped to keep my pelvis in alignment.

labrum arthroscopy
After PT: Kinesio Tape, new band-aids and a TheraPearl ice pack

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Stay Tuned for Week 2 Recovery notes! I hope you are enjoying this and learning about the process of labrum arthroscopy recovery!

~ Rachel

83 thoughts on “Hip Labrum and FAI surgery recovery: Week 1

  1. Thank you for sharing your experience. I am post op 48 hrs and I just sent my husband to get a walker. Sitting on the toliet is excruciating so I ordered a toliet thing with handles. Hopefully it will be here soon. How are you doing now?

  2. Hey Sonya! You are very welcome, I’m happy to hear that my insight helped you through the immediate post-op challenges. How are you doing now? Have you started PT yet?

    I’m doing well. I’m 18 months post-op and rarely have pain. I do have to be diligent about my exercises and getting to the gym for the elliptical several times a week, otherwise my hip muscles tighten. But it is manageable, and much much better than the pain I was in. I hope the same for you! Be diligent about your PT exercises, especially in weeks 6-12 of post-op rehab, they are crucial!!! Keep me posted!
    ~Rachel

    1. Hello rachel. I too am recovering from the same surgery. Did you notice that the hip that was operated on the coloring og the skin was different from the other leg.?

  3. Hi Rachel,
    Thank you so much for sharing your experience. I hav just learned that I will need to have surgery soon, and greatly appreciate your insight and then shared resources. I will definitely be ordering the “toilet thing”!

    1. Hi Lisa,

      I’m sorry to hear that you have to have surgery, but glad you found my information helpful. And yes… most definitely order the toilet seat with handles, recovery would have been so much more painful without it!!! Please keep me posted on your surgery and recovery!

      ~Rachel

  4. Thank you so much for this, I’m having surgery in 1 week. This helped a lot on what to expect! Hope you are doing well! Would love to read your whole body, where do I food it?

    1. Cheryl,

      You are very welcome! If you have any specific questions in the recovery process, please let me know. And feel free to reference my other blog posts post-surgery for more information on the process as the weeks go on.

      ~Rachel

    2. Im having surgrey soon (i hope waiting on insurance ) Thank you for this it really helped me knowing what to except

        1. Rachel,

          I have put off surgery for almost 3 years due to the fact that there is never a good time to be down and it is hard to keep me down. In the last year I am in constant pain. I cannot sit long, most of my classes at the gym I have to modify quite a bit. The pain will even keep me up at night, so I scheduled last Spring for November 5th which is quickly approaching. Your blog was very helpful, however you mention such high pain level and percocet every 4 hours, this is concerning. My doctor tells me this surgery comes sith little post op pain. Is he being honest? However, he compares it to my ACL repair which was horrible. I waa on pain meds for 6 weeks with. I am foing forward with it because I am worsening.

          A few more questions activity post op. What were you able to do 2 weeks, 4, 6, 8, 12?
          I need to prepare myself so I don’t go crazy and have a routine I can do while recovering. Here is an example of my week M- S. I work out 1 1/2 to 2 hours a day anf in between that I don’t sit much, unless icing, because sotting causes more pain. I bike, do vosy combat, pump hike, yoga.

          When were you able to so these things? Take a long walk with pets? Ride a bike?

          I appreciate your insughts.
          Blessings,
          Xhristine

          1. Christine,

            My post-op pain was about 5-7 days, but everyone is different. I had more pain from muscular restriction due to positioning of surgery and the incision in soft tissue than the joint during my recovery. As for exercise, I’m afraid that most of your intense activities may be sidelined for about 6 months – again everyone is different – my surgeon and PT recommended biking with no resistance for range of motion only in the beginning. At 6 months I was cleared to jog, but was told I would never run anything more than a 5k again. Also yoga, because of the extreme hip flexion and hip rotation was not possible until the year mark. At 2.5 years, I am now doing yoga regularly but many hip openers are just no longer in the cards for me. For the first 12 weeks you are non weight-bearing on crutches, then partial, then full, then learning how to walk correctly again. Walking with pets might be at the 12-15 mark, riding a bike maybe 3 months? These are best answered by your surgeon at the 2 and 6 weeks post-op appointment and also your PT. This is not an easy rehab – the surgery is the easiest part. But for me it was well worth it because the pain was unbearable!!

            Good luck – keep us posted!

            Rachel

          2. Christine, I’ve scheduled my surgery for November 9th! We can be recovery buddies! Good luck during and after your surgery!

  5. I had FAI surgery 5 weeks back on my left hip. Have been going to PT session. I am on clutches. I am having the same pain symptoms as before the surgery. Did anyone experience the same?. Having the same pain as before the FAI or CAM surgery? I am worried about why I had the surgery as my pain is coming back

    1. Hi cncpvv,

      I’m not sure – that is definitely a question for your surgeon and your PT. Perhaps there is a muscle component to your pain that needs to be treated – surgery can sometimes make muscular pain worse because of positioning during surgery. I’d be talking with both of them! Keep us updated on your progress!

      ~Rachel

  6. So when did you decide that it was time to have the surgery? I have been dealing with a tear for over a year and now it is a daily limitation. I hurt everyday and was told that I could live with it. But was also told I could have surgery. I can’t pull the trigger to get the surgery done.

    1. Hi Megan,

      For me, I decided to have surgery when all my conservative efforts failed and my quality of life was not what I wanted it to be. I went through several rounds of PT, which gave me benefit, but they weren’t long lasting. I finally decided to have a surgery consult and was given the option of a cortisone injection for temporary relief if I needed to have less pain for a few months, or surgery for a permanent fix. It took me a while to decide on surgery, but I did because I was so tired of being in pain. Ultimately I felt the likelihood of success for my hip’s situation was worth the risk of surgery. It’s not an easy decision and one that should be carefully considered given the info your surgeon has given you! Good luck, and please keep me updated!

      ~Rachel

      1. Hi Rachel, you absolutely nailed it…I too had many rounds of PT, and injections, etc, and at 53, I decided that I no longer wanted to just live with the pain….so I’m having my surgery on 2/9/18! After many, many years of just coping with the pain, and being a chronic complainer…..Your blog was very informative, and I truly appreciate your posting as it will help me to be much better prepared!

        1. Susan,

          You are SO welcome! Best wishes for a smooth surgery and a steady recovery. I’m so happy this info has helped you – I wished that someone had a blog of post-op for me to read prior to my surgery, so that’s why I created it. 🙂

          Good luck – keep me posted!

          Rachel

          1. My daughter is going to have surgery and we have to drive home roughly 3 1/2 hours any suggestions?

  7. I go in for surgery in December. I forced my Doctor to check and MRI all surrounding areas before surgery. I’m glad I did. I still need the surgery, however I have multiple bulged discs in my lower back. The pain can and will feel the same as just fai. I was given two simultaneous epidurals. Almost all pain was finally gone after years of appointments. I kept my surgery date. Finding I still have a lot of pain while bending or even when having sex. I’m 28, that can’t happen.

  8. So glad I found this conversation. I was diagnosed with FAI and full labrum tear. If I’m careful and avoid any squatting, lunging movements, I can for the most part, avoid the intense pain and catching in my hip. I have been referred to a surgeon to discuss surgery but also PT and injections were discussed. I guess my “sticking point” is that I’m a VERY active person. I mountain climb, snow shoe, x-country ski and LOVE my strength training classes. Does postponing the surgery result in further damage to my hip if I continue doing what I love? I had no idea what to expect with surgery recovery and found this profoundly insightful! I just don’t know what option to choose at this point. I sit here at the moment pain free. But I can go work at my animal shelter on Saturday and when I squat down to clean the dog kennels, be confident that the hip will catch and the pain will come back until I walk it off. Just so confused. I’m getting a second opinion from an orthopedic doctor at the VA Medical Center. I figure the opinions and “predictions” for the future, the better.

    1. Hi Rita,

      I certainly understand your dilemma, that was mine as well, but for me the days of increased pain were more than my days of less, so I opted for the surgery. I had tried PT for many months with limited result, so I was a good candidate for surgery as PT and strengthening was not going to solve my pain and instability issue. My surgeon mentioned trying a cortisone injection if I needed to buy time (big trip or event I needed to get through) but he felt, for me, it was not a long term fix. But every person is different! I can tell you that I had damage in the femur head once they got in there, that was not shown on the MRI 4 month prior – unclear if that was because MRIs do not always show everything, or if my damage had accelerated in 4 months because of having the tear… but I do know that had I not had the surgery I would have had more damage and been a candidate for an early hip replacement (my surgeon’s words). Only you can decide what your tipping point is, but it’s always good to get a second opinion if you are unsure what route to go. If you are that active, it will be a 6-12 month recovery process before doing those activities again, and you have to be mentally prepared for it. Good luck, and keep me posted!

      ~Rachel

  9. Hi. Thanks for posting your story and info. I am scheduled on 12/12/2017 for surgery to repair the labral tear and to shave down the hip bone on the right side. Once I am healed from this the left side needs to be done. I am scared to death of the pain. I have lived in excruating pain for the last year so I keep telling myself it cant be worse then what I have dealt with. How long before you were able to drive? I am a single mom of a 6 th grader. So I am getting all my resources in order. Also, I live upstairs. What were the rules regarding stairs? I havent been told. Thanks for your advice!!

    1. Hi Shannon,

      I’m happy to hear that this blog post has helped you. In my experience the pain from the surgery was a different pain, and not as bad as the pain from the labrum tear and tissue compensation, but recovery was a process. Driving – I believe I was cleared at 3 weeks because it was my L hip – R hip would have been 6 weeks, I think. As far as stairs, you will not be able to do stairs for 2-3 weeks or so. After 3 weeks, it was stairs on crutches, one step at a time. The surgery recovery will be a challenge, but good that you are getting your resources in order beforehand, and also that you have a 6th grader who can help you with basic things around the house. If you are needing both hips done, my best advice is to be patient with the rehab process and DO the PT the way you are instructed. Diligence with exercises given at home, and not doing things around the house quicker than directed, will speed up your recovery. Best wishes – please keep me posted on your recovery!

      ~Rachel

  10. Rachel
    Thank you for chronicling your experience. I’m scheduled for left hip labrum repair surgery on 12/22 and I️ most say that I’m a bit concerned of the final outcome being a 52 year old male.
    Where it comes to the hospital here in Texas and the surgeon I’m in great hands and have a totally supportive family thank God. My pain actually started the first week of November and I sought medical attention right away. So with on month of symptoms I’m scheduled for surgery. Was it worth it?
    I’m sure there will be discomfort and a long recovery but how do you feel a year out now?
    Thank you

    1. Hi Tony,

      My surgery was also on 12/22, two years ago. I am still virtually pain-free! My hip does “tell” me when I have been sitting to long, or if I haven’t been to the gym as much as I should… but the occasional discomfort is nothing like the pain I felt before the surgery. For me it was worth it.

      Best of luck to you – keep us posted!

      Rachel

  11. Thank you for telling your story! I’m scheduled for 2/8/18 and am curious as to what you think is better during recovery: lazy-boy recliner or a bed? I’ve been reading how difficult is to be comfortable and sleeping is tough. I want to get everything ready so I don’t have to think about finding a toilet seat, walker, or alternative sleeping arrangements. I debated on a blow-up mattress, too. Thoughts?

    1. Hi Heather,

      In the first two weeks I rotated between a recliner, my bed, and a couch. When I started getting hip pain from sitting too long (pressure on flexed hip and shortened psoas muscle), I would move to the couch or my bed. For sleeping at night definitely bed, and I had several pillows on either side of my hips so I wouldn’t roll over onto my surgical hip. I wouldn’t do a blow up mattress, you need to be as comfortable as possible, and also at a normal height – you won’t be able to get up off of the ground right after surgery – a blow up mattress will be too low. And definitely get the toilet seat with handles!!!

      Good luck, and keep us posted!

      ~Rachel

  12. Hi Rachel,

    Thank you for posting this. I had my hip repaired on 12-20. I am a bit of an odd duck. I have a pain disease called Complex Regional Pain Syndrome after having an ankle repair 5 years ago on my left ankle. So after being on crutches for about 5 years, it has caused damage to my right hip. Doing any surgery is very risky now because of my CRPS. I had to have the hip done cause the pain was horrible!! I am now a week out, still can’t get out of bed by myself or sit down anywhere without help. Also, I have a huge knot where I had surgery. Did you have a knot or am I just strange luke my family tells me all the time….hahaha! Just curious if I need to call the doctor or if it is normal.

    Thanks,

    Melissa

    1. Hi Melissa,

      I did have some extra swelling for a few weeks around the surgery area, but I’m not sure if a “knot” is normal – I would call your surgeon or his/her MA and ask, they are the experts. In my opinion, if you are unsure about something it’s best to ask, especially when it comes to surgery!

      Good luck with your rehab, and keep us posted!

      ~Rachel

  13. Hello, I had my right hip taken care of on December 22nd and i handled the pain and all that fine, i was actually completely off my crutches at week 2. My labrum has actually been torn for 9 years now without anyone catching it. I told my doctor and he put it down to “menstrual pain and growing pains” because i was only 16. 2 years ago they finally caught it and I started conservative treatments that didn’t work. Because it went so long without being fixed I now have early onset
    arthritis in my hip (I’m only 25) so for anyone wondering if they should do this I’d say go for it! But what I’m wondering is if anyone else has suffered nerve damage from surgery? I’m 3 weeks out and the outer edge of my thigh is numb, but deeper into the leg is a constant burning pain that none of the medicine touches (I’m only taking Tylenol and aspirin, ditched the Percocet because it made me dizzy and exhausted). Does anyone know how to lessen nerve pain?

    1. Hi Janice,

      Thank you for sharing your story! I did not experience nerve symptoms from the surgery, but I know that it is a possible side effect – several on the Facebook group called Hip Labral Physical Therapy Network have mentioned this post-surgery. This would be a great question for your surgeon and PT who will have more specifics on what to expect for your exact surgery – everyone’s surgery is different! Please keep us posted, and good luck with your recovery!

      ~Rachel

  14. Thank you for writing about your experiences!! About a year and a half – two years ago I started having pains in my right hip that were like a deep aching and nothing could stretch it out or make it go away. Some days were better, but I noticed I started having trouble sleeping with sleeping and it was hard to get comfortable. After PT and many doctor appointments later, they did an MRA to highlight the tear and XRays showed the FAI in my right hip. They discovered this one year ago. Some days have been fine and others I toss and turn at night and deal with an achy hip throughout the day. Well, I am about to turn 28 next month and I’m really wanting to get pregnant in about a year, but I’d also like to have 2 children. Do you think it’s something I should take care of before pregnancy or between pregnancies? I would rather have a normal birth over C section, and I’m not sure if this surgery would allow that afterwards. Thank you!

    1. Hi Samantha,

      I certainly understand your concerns! I would have a poignant conversation with your ortho and also your OB prior to getting pregnant. My surgeon told me that if I got pregnant again after surgery that I would need a C-section in order to not damage the repair, BUT my original injury was because of childbirth so he is also assuming that I have the same FAI defect in the other hip… everyone has different factors, so best to ask lots of questions of your experts and then make an informed decision.

      Good luck – please keep me posted!

      ~Rachel

  15. Thank you for your blog Rachel! I am having surgery for a full labral tear in my right hip on 2/15/18. It will be outpatient surgery. Did you spend a night in the hospital? I will have to go up stairs when I get home to get into the house and am nervous about that. I am guessing that will be done on crutches? I did not realize that a walker would be helpful since you can’t put weight on your hip. Did you hop around in the walker then? Thanks so much!

    1. Hi MaryRuth,

      Stairs will be difficult post-surgery – you will be on crutches -so be sure to have lots of help, especially if you have not used crutches before. Or perhaps consider staying at a friend or relative’s house that has a single story for the first night. You will also need help the first couple of nights getting in and out of bed during the night if needed. As far as the walker, I used it exclusively for about 3-4 days until I felt steady enough to use the crutches – walk and swing, walk and swing, walk and swing. 🙂 It provided a lot of stability for me.

      Good luck – keep me posted on your progress!

      Rachel

  16. I am about to have surgery and I have two young children. I’m wondering how long I need to line up 24/7 help with them. I have a three and a half year old and a one-and-a-half-year-old.

    1. Hi Erin,

      My daughter was 2 at the time of surgery and she was a big helper getting ice packs for me and also my walker or crutches. We had to teach her to sit on my non-surgery side of my hip when she wanted cuddles, and explained that I had an “owie” and it wasn’t because I didn’t want to sit with her or pick her up. As far as caring for your children, it depends on how independent they are – you should probably have care for your youngest quite a bit in the first two weeks, if not more. You will be on crutches for at least 6 weeks, and there is no holding a child unless seated, and no carrying possible. Things like diaper changes can be done on a table, but you can’t carry the younger one there. You also won’t be able to pick things up for them unless you have a grabber, and won’t be able to be on the floor with them. The older one will probably be able to be a “big helper” with some of the items you need and getting things for the younger one, but as far as daily carrying, lifting, feeding, etc, you will need help with that! Have help in place because the success of this surgery is partial dependent on not “overdoing it” in the first few weeks – and that’s easy to do with young children!

      Best Wishes for a successful surgery and recovery!! Please keep me posted!!

      Rachel

  17. Thank you so much for sharing! My 14 yr old daughter will be having this surgery soon. It gives me a good idea what to anticipate as her primary caregiver.

    1. Nat,

      You’re welcome! I’m glad the info helps. Good luck to her on her recovery from surgery!!

      ~Rachel

  18. I am 1 week post op from lft hip Labral tear surgery . Going well I can not do much at all which is the hardest post op recovery for me, so make sure you have people lined up to take away the anxiety of cleaning, laundry, dinners ect that has helped a lot . My husband has been amazing taking care of me:) the most pain is usually after my therapy exercises at home and PT visits but continue them faithfully it will make your recovery successful. Patience is the key to this recovery . Good luck and I will keep you updated!
    Ally

    1. Ally,

      I know how difficult the process is! Thank you for taking a moment to share your experience with us. Wishing you a successful surgery and steady progress in your rehab!

      Rachel

  19. Hello

    My boyfriend is about to go through this surgery in a months time. He is only 24, It was interesting reading about your first week.

    As he is so young, will the recovery be quicker? He is a high level Skier, working as a ski instructor and hoping to take exams next march 2019 that have to be skiied at a high level. Getting the surgery done in may, by December do you think it is likely he will be skiing hard again?

    Thank you for your help

    Evie

    1. Hi Evie,

      It’s difficult to say what his timeline will be – those are good questions for his surgeon. And I would ask the surgeon for the best PT for a competitive athlete, one who knows his timeline and has experience in rehabbing labrums for all types of competition. My surgeon said you are at “100%” or your new normal at the 1 year mark. He may have an advantage being he is younger and in great competitive shape, but again, a great question for the surgeon!

      Please keep me updated on his progress. Wishing him a successful surgery and steady recovery!

      ~Rachel

  20. I am 57 w a labral tear, hip impingement w/ cyst rt hip, left hip labral tear. Rt hip surgery scheduled in 2 weeks, left hip approx 8 weeks later. My concern is coming home the day of surgery and at home assistance. My husband has 2 very bad knees and back and we have a special needs dog. I am worried about him helping me. I have considered getting at home health care-maybe the first 2 days. I thought having a nurse assist and show us how to safely get around and maneuver would be very beneficial. If I did this what would be your suggestion for the best times for her to be here- immediately upon getting home from the hospital, that first night or the first morning after surgery? Do you even think this is a good idea-am I making more of this than need be? It’s been 5 weeks since I’ve been told I needed this surgery and the anticipation/ waiting has been awful! I have all the recovery equipment including a hip chair. I just can’t wait to get this surgery over with! Thank you for sharing your experience and any advice you can give me.

    1. Hi Bayley,

      I would recommend having help the first two or three nights if you can, but definitely the first night and the following day. The most difficult part about the surgery for me was the unsteadiness I felt and the uncertainty of how to move my hip, and finding a comfortable position. It will get better, but the first few days are challenging. The more help you have the better!

      Wishing you a successful surgery (both!!) and a steady recovery. Please keep me posted on your progress!

      Rachel

  21. Hi Rachel. I just read your blog and want you to know that I now know there is light at the end of the tunnel. I had a hip arthroscopy 10 days ago. The first few days were a piece of cake. Yes the discomfort was there but nothing unbearable. On my post op visit my dr said I could wean myself off the crutches. As I started to feel better I may have overstepped boundaries and did more than I should have. Now 10 days in, and I’m having more pain than when I first had the surgery. Dr said that was common as people tend to overexert themselves once they start feeling better. He said to use the crutches for the next couple days, to take it easy and put me on anti inflammatory pills. I was starting to wonder if this was all worth it. Now I have hope. Tomorrow I start PT. I know I will be in pain but I am anxious about getting my life back to normal. Thanks again.

    1. Ivelisse,

      Thank you for that huge compliment – that is why I wrote this surgery blog! I know exactly how you feel. There are SO many ups and downs throughout the recovery process, even up to 6 months after surgery. I finally turned my corner at the 10-12 week mark, and lots of ups and downs with pain and progress before then. I believe I was still using crutches when needed at 10 weeks, because I didn’t trust my body and was afraid of messing up the surgery.

      Listen to your body always, but also listen to the guidance of your PT. My surgeon told me 80% recovery happens at 6 months and 100%, or your new normal, at 1 year. My 100% happened at the 2 year mark, so every person is different. Remember this is a “marathon”, not a sprint. This surgery rehab is an involved process, and should not be rushed.

      Keep me posted! Best wishes for a continued steady recovery!

      Rachel

  22. Thanks for putting your experiences on here. I am contemplating having surgery on my right hip. CAn’t sleep may nights due to pain, in PT now with no help. The problem…FLying to Florida to meet my new husbands family (going to disney but can just use a wheel chair there) at the end of June, have to move my college into her dorm at the end of august, have a camping trip in August and well we are fairly newly married…How long until “indoor activities” can resume? Very nervous about having it done but also don’t want to end up with a hip replacement in a few years. I am 49. Is this doable or am I nuts to think I can have it done end of May and do the stuff I have planned this summer??????

    1. Sarah,

      I flew 6 weeks after having my surgery (with surgeon’s okay and wearing compression hose) and it was challenging. I was still on crutches and needed lots of assistance. Only you can make the decision, but I would say that Disney will be a “spectator sport” from the wheelchair, and helping your daughter will be limited – no lifting or twisting heavy items. Camping should be fine as long as no big hikes and as long as you have a very comfortable air mattress and help getting off of it from the floor. And traditional “indoor activities” are challenging for the first 6-8 weeks, because of hip rotation and flexion. But it gets better!

      This is a longer rehab than most people are prepared for – the first 3-6 months are up and down with pain, limitation, and fatigue. But, for me it was totally worth it. With that busy of a summer, if you do end up doing everything, please make sure you have a lot of help!

      Please keep me posted on your decision!

      Rachel

      1. thanks Rachel! Such a hard decision 🙁 . I have pain everyday (more often than not) . can’t sleep at night many nights due to the pain…but I am still functioning. Hate to think about the whole summer being unable to work outside and do things. (I am a teacher so summer is my time off). My doctor seemed to indicate I could fly 2-3 weeks after and my august plans will be no problem. I will have to press him more on the actual timeline for his patients. As I have been reading peoples experiences I am getting more worried this is going to be a lot harder than he made it sound:( . I will probably be the only one helping my daughter move and she has medical equipment that isn’t very light that I will have to move in for her. I have an appointment in 2 weeks to decide about surgery…I will talk to him and ask lots of questions then! Thanks for your input.

  23. Thanks you so much for blogging this! I am scheduled in 7 1/2 weeks for FAI and labral tear surgery on my left hip. I am sitting here making a list of things I need post-op and your blog has been the most helpful! My fiancé and I have struggled with the decision to do this now or after we get married in Hawaii next April (on my 50th bday!). Originally, I had opted to wait. But, I am a runner (and a spinning instructor) and I am running the Hapalua half marathon on Waikiki Beach while we are there. It’s become increasingly painful to run. It’s actually more painful to walk for any distance or long period of time. (He is a cyclist, so we are VERY active!) I have had hip pain since 2010 and was misdiagnosed 2 years ago with “bursitis”. So, since most of our activities in Hawaii will be all physically challenging (biking, running, hiking, snorkeling, zip lining, etc) we’ve decided to do it now. I’m HOPING to be able to do the activities by that point, maybe minus the half marathon). How physically active were you at the 10 month mark? My surgeon had indicated I would be able to begin light jogging at 4 months. After reading your blog, I’m beginning to doubt that…

    1. Hi Kerri,

      Thank you for the compliments – I’m glad it’s helpful information! I was not prepared for what I needed post-surgery, so wanted to document my needs in order to help others. 🙂 I will tell you that at 10 months post-op I was mostly functional with daily life and elliptical workouts, but still had flares of muscular pain in the hip when I would over-do it. I relied on massage, self-care like foam rolling/icing, etc, and daily PT exercises to keep me functional. My surgeon told me I would be at 80% at 6 months and 100% at one year post-surgery, and for me that was accurate. He also told me that my new normal for running would be a 5k, no more – I would talk with your surgeon about realistic expectations for running at the 10 month mark with your particular scenario. In my experience, both personally and with working with “hippie” clients, the more cautious you are with movement in the first 3 months, the faster your recovery. I used my crutches longer than recommended, just for stability, and always listened to my body, and my PT (they are the experts!!), and I was about 2 months ahead of schedule with rehab according to my surgeon. I think my surgeon approved light jogging at 4 months also, but I stayed with elliptical because it just felt better to my hip.

      You will do great, but just know that this recovery is more involved and longer of a timeline than what most are prepared for. I would just plan to have a wonderful wedding in Hawaii, and be flexible on activities depending on how your hip feels at that point! 🙂 Congratulations, and best wishes for a successful surgery and steady recovery!

      Rachel

  24. My daughter had labral repair on each hip. One required tacking and a longer recovery. She had been a cheerleader and we think that lead to the tears. She had a lot of back and groin pain. Because she was out of state in college we had to schedule surgery around summer break and then Christmas break. We made sure she was in a first floor apartment the year she had surgery during Christmas break.

    The patient cannot bear weight on the leg that had surgery for several weeks. I’m a nurse, so I found a wheelchair, walker, portable potty (we set over the toilet without the bucket) and a shower chair that extended outside of the tub/shower so she could sit then slide into shower-I may have spent $150, but it was well worth it. We also installed a hand held shower. We used everything both times. The walker gave her a break from the crutches and was generally her preference for getting around. Because they can’t lift their leg very well, we used the wheelchair to scoot to the table for meals and longer outings. As a nurse I knew to give her a stool softener along with the narcotics because constipation was a problem.

    We were meticulous about icing. She started PT the day after surgery both times. We used a large flat hot water bag and filled with 1/2 alcohol and 1/2 water. It would get slushy but not freeze hard.

    We were able to arrange PT on campus when she went back to school. Only issue we had was she was out of network and we had to pay for the last few weeks.

    Driving was a problem as they really can’t lift their leg very well after surgery. Long term (she’s 26 years old) she’s done great-occasional popping or stiffness. She doesn’t do elipticals because they cause her discomfort
    She’s not a runner, but will run on the treadmeal and has run a coupld of 5 Ks. She has an area of numbness on the outer thigh of one leg that when touched is tender. So we assume she had damage to a nerve during surgery.

    Best of luck to anyone undergoing FAI/torn hip labrum surgery.

    1. Melissa,

      Thank you so much for sharing your experience with this surgery! I’m glad your daughter is doing well after surgery, but sorry to hear about the numbness – I’ve heard that can happen. I hope she will continue to do well in the future!

      Rachel

  25. Thank you! thank you! thank you! I can’t thank you enough for this great information. I have been searching for this for a few days and so happy I found your blog. I have surgery scheduled in a week and 2 days and was desperately looking for tips to help aide in recovery. I’m definitely getting the potty seat, shower seat and walker!!!! It sounds like I would so much more difficult and frustrating without them. And I will do anything to make a quick transition into functioning independently. But I definitely will take your advice (as the doctors, surgeons, PT and everyone else) and take it slow and listen to my body and don’t over do it.

    1. Hi Sharon,

      Thank you for your comments, I hope my info has prepared you as much as possible! It sounds like you have probably had your surgery by now – I hope my suggestions have been useful. Take your rehab and weight-bearing slow, and listen to your body. 🙂

      Keep me posted on your progress!

      Rachel

  26. Thank you so much for your blog!!!!
    I have had a tear in my right hip for over a year and just repeated the arthrogram right and left side
    Thankfully the left hip is fine but the right teat is even more confirmation that I need this surgery done
    My surgeon is Dr Hyman in Tucker Ga who is the expert here in Atlanta
    I can’t take oral narcotics without vomiting so I might ask for s fentanyl patch which my reg MD said they would do
    I am a RN so I am worried if I’ll be able to ever work again
    I also received cortisone in my right hip for the third time with amazing relief if both my hip and my lower back
    I am working hard to build up all my leg muscles and core also upper body before I have the surgery in September so hopefully I’ll be better prepared post op and my muscle memory will help
    My hubby works at home so he will be available
    Your suggestions are awesome
    I am wondering if you had s cryowrap machine or com machine also
    How long before u were weight bearing
    Who was ur Surgeon
    Again thank you for your help
    I also plan to blog

    1. Hi Mary,

      You are very welcome, I’m glad my info helped you! I did not have a Cryo machine or a Game Ready device, I just used regular ice packs. I was fully weight-bearing without crutches at about 6 weeks, and went back to work part time as a Neuromuscular Therapist at 10 weeks, but wasn’t really comfortable being on my feet and the physical labor of my job until the 12-15 week window.

      Good luck! Keep me posted!!

      Rachel

    2. Hello, I have had arthroscopic hip surgery on both my hips. The right side two years ago and the left side in March. I also have issues with narcotics but I have found taking a half of Demerol with a half of phenergan works well. I took a total of 2 1/2 pills after my left hip and 1 1/2 after my right hip. I also had a fascia iliaca block for post op pain control both times. My incision sites/poke holes were tiny and only required surgical glue. Physical therapy started post op day 1 and I am currently still doing physical therapy for my left hip. I was on crutches for 4 weeks for both. I didn’t drive for 4 weeks after the right hip but drove the 1st week after my left. Since my 1st surgery my surgeon has done a study which showed it was fine to start driving after off narcotics regardless of which hip was operated on. I was out of work 8 weeks each time and returned to work without restrictions. I work full time as a recovery room nurse so I’m on my feet all day. I used Crutcheze pads for my crutches, which were awesome, and a bag that attached to my crutches that held my phone, water, car keys etc. I think Crutcheze makes the crutch bag also. I wanted to be able to shave my legs to I taped a razor to the end of a long handled bath sponge. Worked perfect! I also had an ice machine which I loved! I am very happy I had both hips fixed. Hope yours goes just as well!

  27. Enjoyed reading your experience with the hip surgery. I’ve just had an MRI that shows a torn labrum and tendon. Waiting on insurance to approve referral to hip specialist. I’ll keep you updated with my progress. I believe most of the people that commented on your post were women. I wonder if this injury/ problem is more prevalent in us?

    1. Hi Michaelle,

      Thank you for the compliments. If you do need to have surgery, I hope this information will be helpful in your surgery recovery. I’m not sure why women tend to have more hip labrum tears, perhaps it’s the shape of our pelvis and angle of the femur head? I’d love an Ortho’s opinion on this!

      Best of luck in your journey!

      Rachel

  28. My daughter has hip laparoscopy done on May 10th so we are three months post op. We did pt for app two months after and were released from that. She still experiences some random pain in that same area. Did you experience this? Also, did you do pt at home after being released from pt?

    1. Hi Hannah,

      Yes, I had pain in the hip and surgery area off and on for about a year. It would go in stages for me – I’d be able to exercise more or do different activities for a month or so, then I’d have a setback in pain until my body adapted and adjusted, and I’ve heard the same from others. Full recovery, according to my surgeon, is 1 year post-surgery. I was diligent about all my PT exercises at home, and to this day, I still use them as the foundation of my workouts at the gym. Also, I only do the elliptical for cardio, as recommended by my surgeon, and I’m 2 1/2 years post-surgery. It’s the only cardio that doesn’t give me hip pain. My biggest piece of advice for her is to be more conservative with increasing activities throughout the first year, and to always listen to her body. This is a much longer rehab process than most people realize!

      Best of luck to her in her surgery rehab!!

      Rachel

  29. Rachel:

    interesting blog and some good information as I’m scheduled for Left Hip labrum repair (I have a total and large tear) and correction of bone impingement in a few weeks at the Steadman Clinic. I’m 55 and very active, exercising and playing golf 4-5 times a week. I am pretty sure I know the exact moment I tore it trying to copy a golf swing I Saw on the Golf Channel LOL. Pain is intermittent and not terribly severe but enough to know that I shouldn’t be swinging a golf club or doing any high impact workouts. Got 2 cortisone injections the 1st did nothing the 2nd shut it down for about 2 weeks before 75% of the symptoms reappeared. Saw 3 surgeons and got the same opinion each time…I had 2 choices: do the surgery and in 4+/- months I could be back to my normal lifestyle or stop doing all of the things I enjoy, get used to the mild intermittent pain and discomfort and be prepared for a hip replacement in 6-10 years when arthritis will probably set in. In other words no choice. I really appreciate all the valuable suggestions.

    1. Ken,

      Thank you for sharing your story, (but sorry to hear the golf swing did your labrum in!, and I wish you a steady recovery. I’m happy to hear that the info is helpful in preparation for surgery. I hope you can golf again soon, but don’t rush your rehab or your time to get on the course may take longer! Please keep me posted.

      ~Rachel

  30. Did you have a raised bathtub wall you had to get over? My FAI surgery is in a month and a half, and trying to figure out how showering will work…. Thanks so much for your blog- it’s super helpful to get a better idea what to expect.

    1. Cindy,

      You are very welcome, I’m glad the info is helpful. I did not have a raised sidewall of a bathtub to get over, I placed a shower seat in a walk-in shower, but maybe there is a way to use the shower seat with the traditional bathtub, with someone’s assistance!

      I wish you a steady recovery. Please keep me posted!

      ~Rachel

  31. Thank you for your blog. I am so nervous about my surgery on Monday I have thought about cancelling several times. I have had hip pain for over ten years. I am an avid runner and this is my biggest fear, is not being able to run anymore. I appreciate the info here very much.

    1. Courtney,

      You are very welcome. I know how difficult it is to make the decision for surgery. I wish you speedy healing if you decide to go forward with the surgery!

      ~Rachel

  32. Thank you for all the great info. Im scheduled for labrum repair on jan 22,2019. What concerns me is reading all the comments from people who have had the surgery and are still experiencing pain. Also, my surgeon did not recommend any pre op pt or excerises for me. I’m 68 in pretty good health and not over weight. It’s taken me a long time to decide to have the surgery mostly due to the negative reports I have read.

  33. Hi Rachel, thank you so much for all that you wrote. I’ve recently been diagnosed and I’m going in for more stents of MRI this coming Wednesday in which we will find out if I need a total hip replacement instead. I’m beginning to question maybe that would be an easier surgery and recovery than the one you had and then I might have to have. I am a sailor and on March 23 will be back on the boat again for about three to four weeks and will be sailing the boat back from the Bahamas through the Atlantic to get back to Charleston, South Carolina. Planning to have the surgery in March. I’m concerned that I may not be recovered enough to sail. I will have to have my balance on the sailboat. I wasn’t that concerned about it until I started reading your experience. Any thoughts and information you can give to me will be appreciated. By the way I’m 57-year-old woman who is very active…As my hip surgeon said… I live my life like a 35-year-old LOL and I want to keep it that way. Thanks! Angela

  34. I am having this surgery next week, and your information has been invaluable in preparing. Do you see a raised toilet seat at something necessary?

  35. Rachel, I have a labral separation in my right hip and the pain has become much worse after months. I have had two cortisone shots but I fear the thinning from the cortisone and also, it hikes up my blood sugar. I have been thinking it is spreading- the pain- and I have fear of osteoarthritis rapidly worsening. Now, I read on your site people saying it does break down the joint. My surgeon is repairing my shoulder this month and he mentioned also cleaning up the area of the labral hip tear later. I have birds in big cages and I have no one to put their blankets on and they insist on darkness at night to sleep. I am going to practice with one arm now for the shoulder surgery, but if I have the hip arthroscopy, can I stand momentarily to throw on their blankets? I do not have anyone to be here with me nightly. This is a problem! I really plan to fix my own food and do everything on my own. Thank you, Rachel and anyone else for any advice. I swim 6 days a week and I am very active. Oh my GOD!! Scared!

  36. This is so helpful! Thanks! I’m going in 2 weeks – anxious time have my life back. Even if it is slow going. I am definitely going to order the toilet thing. I don’t understand the shower chair, though – why didn’t you just stand in the shower on your good leg? It seems like that would be easiest and sitting would be harder?

    1. Hi Erin,

      Most surgeons do not want you weight-bearing for a few weeks so the anchors can ossify, and you cannot use crutches in the shower. 🙂 If you fall or lose your balance and put weight on the surgical leg, it could have an adverse effect. The shower chair was so helpful!

      Best of luck to you! Keep us posted on your progress.
      Rachel

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