The Past 30 Days & My Top 5 Post-Op Essentials


Hip Labrum Post op

As you are reading this I am officially 30 days post-op. After my hip labrum repair, after 30 days I was told by my surgeon that I could cease using crutches and was able to start a course of PT where I not only worked on not only ROM but strengthening my hip.

Hip Labrum Repair

Recovery from Proximal Hamstring Surgery is a bit different. As I cross this 30 day mark I am still living the #crutchlife. On the positive side – I do not have to wear my brace at home and have started to sit in a regular chair and therefore transitioning back to the work bunker. On the negative side – I still have to wear the hip brace at night with a bent knee and dealt with swollen legs from the lack of movement.

With the exception of doctor appointments and an exciting trip to CVS and Starbucks this past weekend, I pretty much have been sequestered to the house. Mark still is the lifeblood of the household, a true Rockstar. I don’t know how recovery would be going if I had to do this alone or with an un-supportive spouse. Mark’s been able to work from home, but has transitioned back to 1/2 days in the office.

This past Friday was the first day that I was actually home alone for the ENTIRE DAY. He did leave me breakfast but it was up to me to make lunch. I did a pretty good job if I do say so myself. Nothing fancy and it was easy enough to crutch my way back to the work bunker.

BUT it’s all about baby steps forward. It’s a sprint not a marathon, and I keep telling my self each morning when I wake up that I’m one day farther from my surgery and one day further in my recovery journey.

What’s Next On the Recovery Agenda

BUT -excitement abounds in the Ciccio household this week, however, as I get to start Physical Therapy on Monday! This means not only getting out of the house, but my surgeon wants my therapist to start weaning me off my crutches and brace! Unfortunately it does not mean strengthening until at least 8 weeks post-op. In all the reading I have done prior to my surgery, this is the standard protocol.

And in all honestly – I really need to work on just moving and massaging my right leg. My right leg has atrophied so any attempts at strengthening my hamstring would not be helpful.

To be honest I am excited and a bit nervous to start weaning off crutches at this point. I mean, I have not put any pressure on it in 30 days, so I know I am going to be pretty cautious for a while. As Mark said -I am going to have to re-learn to walk comfortably and will probably be tired as I start this new phase in my recovery.

BUT – I have followed my doctor’s instructions up until this point so now it’s time to start engaging those hamstring muscles and continue moving (literally) forward!

12 Things I Have Learned Thus Far

  • You will have to learn to rely on other people. This was (and still is) so hard for me. Your recovery depends a large part on not moving so that you can heal. Having a support system in place before surgery is imperative.
  • Remember recovery from hamstring surgery is long – it’s a marathon and not a sprint. DO NOT OVERDO IT! I cannot express this enough because remember – anything “extra” that “feels” good now MIGHT set you back more than you realize.
  • You won’t be hungry for the first couple of days BUT it’s important. Unfortunately, I learned the hard way after my last surgery, so Mark made sure I had food at all times.
  • Try and wean yourself off the narcotics as soon as you are able. Yes- you will be in pain/sore but I found that after the first couple of days I was able to wean myself off them, taking Tylenol as necessary. One caveat – if you are in pain – take the pain medication, that’s what it’s there fore but don’t use it as a crutch. You just had major surgery and it’s going to hurt!
  • There is no getting around it but sleeping will be uncomfortable. You just have to get used to it and learn to “love” sleeping on your back. I am a stomach sleeper so it has been quite a turn of events. Luckily I have eventually been able to lay on my side (with the brace still on) as long as I keep a pillow between my legs.
  • If you can – a hand held grabber is a game-changer. This really helped me because until you master the one-legged crane squat, picking up things you drop is hard.
  • Even with a brace, I highly recommend putting one or two pillows under your knee. This will ensure that it stays bent (thereby keeping your hamstring relaxed at all times) and helps with swelling.
  • Showering is a challenge – a hand held shower head was helpful as sitting was hard.
  • Related – showering everyday is probably not feasible because it takes a lot of effort and a lot of time. Invest in shower wipes (see below).
  • I’m not going to lie but using the toilet is also hard. I did start out using a raised toilet seat. This works for some, but for me it presented more problems. I learned through trial and error to “hover” and was eventually able to sit (not comfortably) “deadlegged” on the toilet.
  • Recovering from hamstring surgery will make you tired – naps are your friend!
  • And lastly – make sure you have some good books and movies to help you pass the time.

My Top 5 Post-Op Essentials

  • Extra Wide Adjustable Laptop Stand – I was lucky to be able to take 2 weeks off after my surgery. Unfortunately, when I returned to work, I was still unable to sit in a chair. This “desk” was a lifesaver!
  • Comfy Stretch Pants – Face it, you’re going to be lounging for the foreseeable future after surgery. They are stylish, stretchy enough to pull on and off (carefully) yourself, and will fit under the bulky brace. What more can you ask for.
  • Body Wipes – As mentioned above, it will initially be challenging to shower after hamstring surgery. These were great to help me feel (and be) fresh day in and day out.
  • Crutch Pads – Another little thing to make your life easier. You are going using crutches for a while, so why not make what limited mobility you have a bit easier.
  • An Elevated Toilet Seat – Although this did not work for me, I have seen many others rave about this product. If you can find out that fits to your toilet it can be a game changer.

And Two More (Just Because)


8 Comments


  1. Hey! Appreciate your blog because I just found out o have two or three right hamstrings detached and 3 cm retraction! Theyโ€™ve been an ongoing problem with three injuries in five years but I always thought minor issues of a pull or partial tear bc I recovered. This fall though I was sprinting and pulled again – the recovery was not fast as usual but slow and even thought activity continued i went to a doctor and Iโ€™ve been doing PT – but no one thought it was actually so bad. Until I pushed for an MRI. Apparently my one remaining hamstring is the one that hurts – no surprise bc it has held up through running, kickboxing, HIIT, hiking and cycling – doing all the work in its own!

    This surgery seems overwhelming but I want to be super active as I have been so I am willing. Nice to get a good picture of what it really looks like on the ground.

    How are you doing now? Are you getting closer to fill recivery? I am super interested!

    Thanks!

    Reply

    1. Excuse typos – I have beefy thumbs ๐Ÿ˜œ it should say โ€œtwo of three hamstrings detachedโ€ in the beginning

      Reply

    2. Hi There,

      So sorry to hear you are going through this. As athletes we can withstand a lot of pain – huh ๐Ÿ™‚

      The surgery went by without a hitch but it’s the recovery that takes time, a lot of it. I had my labrum repaired a couple of years ago and was able to start running 12 weeks after surgery – with this surgery there is running on the horizon but not yet.

      As for my recovery – I am 4 months post op today. I was in a locked brace for about 6 weeks and then remained on crutches until I reached the 8 or 9 week mark (slowly transitioning off them).

      I am actively in PT and able to ride the bike. Hopefully I can start jogging in another 4ish weeks. I was just given clearance to be able to do jumping jacks as part of my PT this week.

      This recovery is long and the plan (for me at least) is to string enough good days together because you will feel great one day and then the next – wham you think you might have re-injured yourself (if that makes sense)

      MY plan is to hopefully return to running but I know I have a ways to go – its amazing how much strength I have lost in the time that I was healing (which was about 6-8 weeks)

      I hope this helps – please let me know if you have any additional questions.

      Reply

  2. Hello! At the age of 45, myself, I had an unexpected dismount from a jetski July 5, and finally an MRI on July 20โ€ฆโ€full-thickness rupture of the hamstrings tendon from the ischial tuberosityโ€ฆdistally retracted 4-5 cmโ€ฆโ€ The pain was worse prior to my having accidentally slipped in the bathroom and did the splits. Iโ€™m fairly certain I finished the job at that point. I was actually thinking I must have just strained it because it was beginning to feel better.

    Thank you for posting all of this, as I am also a exceptionally independent person who doesnโ€™t stay still well. I was wondering about the toilet situation, as I am NOT in great shape and donโ€™t know that I could hover if I wanted to.

    I look forward to reading more!

    Reply

    1. I have just received the diagnosis of all three torn and 8cm retracted. I am a fit 72 years! Did you have the surgery?

      Reply

      1. I did – there should be a post on it ๐Ÿ™‚ I will be one year post surgery an a little over a week.

        Reply

  3. Hi Rebecca. First, thank you for journaling your recovery story. It is honestly the most helpful resource I have found post-surgery. I had a hamstring avulsion repair (4 anchors) and had my sciatic nerve cleaned up as it was encased in scar tissue. I fell on a volcano 3.9 years ago. I am now 11 days post-op and in a significant amount of pain. It feels like deep, radiating bone pain. Can you give me a sense of the surgery you had, in terms of the level of repair? It would help me to get a sense of whether I am on track.

    Reply

    1. Hi Linda,

      I had a partial tear when I went into surgery but once my surgeon “got in” he said it was a mess from being active for 43 years of my life. So – he completely detached and reattached it with anchors.

      I will say that I was in pain for the first but it was more of a soreness/achiness. Since I was in a brace I was pretty much immobile 24/7 and always made sure I had a pillow under my knee for support and to take some of the pressure off my back/lower extremity. Are you in a brace? When is your first post op apt? I would definitely bring it up to your surgeon, although given that you also had your siatic nerve cleaned up – some of the achiness might be from that area.

      Recovery does have its ebbs and flows – for me some days I would feel great and then the next I would feel like I took a couple of steps back. Hang in there and please reach out with any other questions you might have.

      Reply

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