I have just undergone arthroscopy of my left hip due to a femoral-acetabular impingement. The doctor who conducted the operation said he could see calcification of the femur, which I believe is a form of degeneration. What measures can I take to ensure further degeneration is limited?
Thank you for your question. Hip surgery, no matter how small or large, is always a concern. In your case, the fact that the doctor has seen some calcium build up is in fact significant. When diagnosed with femoral-acetabular impingement, did the doctor mention any avascular nacrosis? This is a condition where the blood flow has been stopped due to the grinding of the femur in the acetabula and will often times follow or accompany femoral-acetabular impingement. If this diagnosis has been made, just take things much slower.
What to do? We see a lot of hip problems in our clinic because we train so many MMA fighters and martial artists. There are a few tricks we use that work on almost everyone. The first thing is to get a one, two or three pound ankle weight. Stand on a Reebok step with the “good” leg and hang the “bad” off of the side. Move your leg in little circles with the least amount of effort possible. The weight at the bottom should start to create momentum, and it should not challenge your hip musculature. Your hip should feel better instantly. If not, do not continue with the exercise. The added weight at the ankle will produce a distractive force at the hip and start to passively “lengthen” the tight hip musculature.
The second set of exercises is called hip swings (they were presented to us from Dr. Eric Cobb). Simply, stand on your good leg and swing the other leg in small circles. Do both clockwise and counter clockwise circles. Start with small circles and continue to larger ones. Don’t do more than three to five reps in each direction. The key is to make perfect movements. Do not go faster or bigger until each circle is perfect for all the reps.
If you do these drills well, you will never have to worry about hip issues and lack of motion ever again.