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Thursday, September 4, 2014

Cleared to run: post-op week 12

As my last post indicated, all of a sudden I'm allowed to start running again! Twelve weeks after major hip surgery, and I can awkwardly tie on my running shoes and head out to the park.
A few weeks ago, I turned a decided corner in my recover, and I was pretty sure I would be allowed to run this week. I see my doctor frequently in the halls of the hospital (even though it isn't his primary practice site), and he'd indicated that he was happy with my recovery and would probably let me return to activity.
At Wednesday's appointment, all we really did were x-rays to ensure that there were no signs of hetertopic ossificans (there weren't, and hopefully that's the last x-ray of my hip for awhile; I've had 12, plus two MRIs and imaging during surgery, so I am a walking cancer risk). Dr. Van Sice checked my range of motion, which was good, and had already seen my PT report. My therapist reported 10/10 for each strength category except seated adduction, which is 9/10. I am working on that!

So, here's the deal. I am cleared to begin a return to running, guided by pain and recovery. I am obviously starting out running/walking and skipping days, etc. All the usual good stuff. But what's weird is that it may still hurt. Supposedly there are "good days and bad days" (Dr. Van Sice has said that about a hundred times) and recovery can't be considered complete until a year post-op. With that in mind, he said we are now at the "use it or lose it" stage. I need to return to normal activity so that my muscles work normally, mostly so they will squeeze the hip joint. The pressure not only improves blood flow, but also stresses the hip capsule, so that it will begin to respond and gain tonicity. Muscle on joint and bone movement in joint are both recommended at this point to stimulate the healing cascades needed to normalize the structure of the joint. It makes sense, but it makes me nervous. Dr. Van Sice said that now was the time to work through pain, stretching and using the joint. Well, I don't like working through pain. For one thing, I'm too good at it, and might go too far. For another thing, I've been told to work through pain twice (once by a chiropractor, once by a doctor) and both times I actually had a serious injury. So I'm really not comfortable with that.
Post-run: Looks totally fresh and new, right?!

I will have to see how this goes. I had my lovely "run" yesterday morning, and I didn't have any pain, but my hip flexor was tight later in the day. I think I'm ok with some pain or stiffness later, but I don't think I am ready to run through any pain. I have way too many bad experiences with that!

And how was my run? Glorious. I wore my new Coeur Sports bra, which I was saving for the occasion (actually, I was saving the new shorts, too, but I decided to stretch all the newness out). It was fantastic, much better than I expected: I love the full coverage, I am obviously obsessed with the pockets, and the firmness was perfect for control without suffocating me. It's very comfortable: no neck pain from a too-tight racerback, and seams you can't feel at all. I have a discount, and I am definitely stocking up on these: my old favorite cheap cotton bras aren't made in my size anymore, and I have been on a futile hunt ever since. Finally found the one I like! And I rarely rave about pieces of clothing (unless it's shoes...), so I'm serious about this.

Disclaimer: the bra was free for nothing! As my father-in-law would say. The doctor's visit wasn't.


  1. Congrats! Enjoy the road to recovery--may it be as painless as possible!

  2. Awesome! Glad the run was pain free and that sports bra is really cute. Looking forward to seeing how you like the shorts!

  3. Oh my goodness- YAY for running!!!!! I'm so happy to read this. And I don't blame you one bit for not wanting to run through pain. I think you are being so smart. Keep up the good work with the recovery and return to training. :)

  4. I'm so happy for you!

    My first thought when you mentioned running as tolerated/through pain was your high tolerance, so I'm glad you're thinking about that. This recovery needs to be for good!

  5. Congratulations! Glad you're cleared to run again. Now it's just a matter of discipline - really stopping when it hurts too much. And that is a cute sports bra. I can't believe you ran in cotton ones in that humidity! (Although, sadly, I can imagine. And I did too. The 90s were the dark ages of wicking technology.)

  6. That's such wonderful news. Congratulations on getting through run #1. May there be many, many more of them.

  7. Good luck! That's the hardest thing about coming back from injury - trying to guess what is "good pain" to run through, and what is "shut it down" pain.

  8. Yea! I am glad that you were able to get back at it and didn't feel pain during the run. I know how it feels to return to running after a long absence! It is glorious to get back out there.