I started to feel some hip pain here and there mainly with squatting movements. After about 2 months, I was struggling to walk pain-free and sleep without waking up in pain. Clearly, it was not getting any better. I decided it was about time to go see a doctor. After some testing, it was determined that I had structural problems within my ball and socket joint that was adding extra friction and predisposed me to a labral tear. Surgery for a right hip labral repair was scheduled for two weeks after that – October 5, 2017.
Up until that point, I had been training incredibly hard — I was hitting PRs on lifts and workouts, and my mental game was getting stronger every day. Then, I was on crutches for four weeks and had a machine taking my hip through flexion and extension because I couldn’t on my own. Physical Therapy 3 days/week. I was told it would be 5-6 months until I could start lifting again and another 6 months until I was back to where I was pre-surgery.
This has been a big week for me – my last doctor’s appointment, my last physical therapy session, I’m cleared with no restrictions – I CAN LIFT AGAIN!
It’s frustrating, exciting, scary, and it sure as hell isn’t the same. The road to recovery is a long, winding road, but it offers a lot of lessons. Here are just a few things I’ve learned in my first 5 months post-op:
- Don’t put a timeline on your recovery. I started lifting about a month ago very light-weight and I have to constantly remind myself to not compare to what I was doing pre-surgery. After an injury, you’re not the same, and that’s something we have to learn and understand that it will take time and we can’t say “I’m going to be 100% by this day.” That’s not how it works. We have to listen to our bodies, focus on our imbalances, and it will come with that attention to your recovery.
- Stay positive. Celebrate the little victories. Nobody wants to have an injury, but staying positive throughout the process is a small detail that gets overlooked. Don’t compare yourself to others or your pre-surgery self. If you have a negative mindset, you’re limiting your potential.
- Talk to someone. We’re going to have bad days. Talk about the struggles, the good things, therapy, what you’re thinking/feeling. Find someone and talk it out.
- Think of it as an opportunity to focus on other aspects. Mental game. Nutrition. Fundamentals. Self-love. Coaching. There are plenty of other aspects of this sport, or any sport, that we can focus on and improve on aside from getting all of our skills back and getting all of our strength back immediately. Do not be afraid to put performance on the back burner, even if you are not injured. This is a chance for us to make lifestyle changes that will last. Growth can happen with or without thrusters it’s just a matter of whether or not you choose to grow.