Road to Recovery: Torn Hip Labrum Exercises

As I've written here and lamented, I ran the 2015 Boston Marathon on a bum hip. Not just a tweak or hitch in my giddy up, but as I learned after the race, and after an MRI and catscan, I ran my marathon on a torn hip labrum. Ouchie mama! Hard to say if the injury happened last July in my triathlon crash that sent me to the hospital or during a seemingly innocent trip and tumble on a buckled piece of sidewalk in San Diego one month out from Boston.

The good news is I have Steadman Hawkins (SH) in my "backyard" who's the doc to the superstars
around the globe...and they tend to mere mortals like me. SH evaluated the cat scan and MRI and diagnosed the torn hip labrum. While surgery has always been an option, I opted to go the physical therapy route. Prior to starting P.T., my doctor had me try and stand on one bad leg...and it was obvious that my right leg had no power, strength, or stability.

This last Monday marked seven weeks of rehabilitation. I walked in (limped in) optimistic because I'd gone through p.t. with Steadman the end of last year to rehabilitate the torn labrum and separated right shoulder. While the shoulder was hard work at first--my shoulder blade seemed to literally "float" around my back, the results started showing up fairly quick. With my hip, I haven't been so lucky. I've done the work, but the first 4-5 weeks didn't show much progress. Up until this week, I hadn't run (per Doctor's orders) since the Boston Marathon. The race calendar has spun by with several favorites I've had to pass up. I've been sequestered to the pool and the bike.

You noticed I used the words, "this week" above. Upon consultation with the Dr. last week, and my physical therapist, I RAN this week! It's still not quite right, but the hip and glute are much stronger than when I tried to run Boston in the rain and headwind. I'm hoping to be able to salvage part of the triathlon season and get enough training to run the New York City Marathon on Nov 1st. With that, I thought I'd share the stretch and strength work I've been doing to get myself back.

I have been going to Steadman Hawkins for physical therapy and also going to a Accelerated Health chiropractor specializing in ART (Active Release Therapy) My regular P.T. has steadily increased the work and while she suggests I could do strength every other day, I've been doing strength and stretch for 20-30 minutes a day for 6-7 days a week for the last seven (almost) eight weeks. I've missed
perhaps three out of the last 52 days. Most of my exercises are shown in the above graphic. My complete list is;

1) Lots of foam roller. I have a soft one and one that's more firm. I tend to use the later and work all three sides of my hip area stretching the IT band, glutes, and hammies. I also use a Roll Recovery throughout the day, or roll my glute on a lacrosse ball.
2) Dog pointer. Get on all fours and stretch one arm and opposite leg straight out parallel to the floor. Two sets of ten (most of these are 2 x 10.)
3) Hug knee to chest (shown.) Pull knee to center of chest. At the same time, pull outside of lower leg across body. Keep knee centered.
4) Figure fours. Lay flat. Cross ankle over knee forming a "figure four." Gently stretch knee towards the ground.

5) Glute lifts. (Shown) Lay on back with knees bent. Lift lower back and hold briefly.
6) Walking stretches. Top tips (shown,) bend to touch ankles, airplanes (shown,) pull heel to butt, knee to chest (similar to floor version.) Perform each of these walking across the floor ten steps across and back.
7) Hammie stretch. Lay on floor and use robe belt to pull bottom of foot on extended leg towards your head getting hamstring stretch.
8) Glute stretch. Find couch or chair that's roughly hip level. Lay foot on chair with leg bent backwards. Stretch the glute.
9) Exercise Band work. Loop one foot into looped elastic band. Stand up straight and stretch leg 10x each direction. Do on both legs. (shown in above YouTube video.)
10) Planks. P.T. wanted me to hold for 30 seconds. I do two sets at one minute each.

This is a lot of work, but even healthy runners (especially elites) have strength and stretch every day. (See Meb For Mortals review.) It's too early to tell if I will be able to return to what I love this year, but not for a lack of trying.


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