This will be the last easy week until the ride in June. That is, provided the hip doesn’t flare up along the way (note: I am being overly optimistic here, again). I have two more weeks in January after which I will have to switch my focus from Recovery to Training. I am up to 10 miles on the stationary bike – which was my Feb 1 milestone. So I feel I am doing well. But it is a long way to go from 10 miles in the gym to 70 miles on the road.
I updated by training plan – It seems I skipped one of the weeks in January (this week) – so I gained a week in my schedule. Yeah!
As I mentioned above, I met my February 1 milestone early. But, I was pretty sore for several days afterwards which isn’t that encouraging. I took a week off from the bike and the hip has settled down. So, the plan for the next two weeks is to do 10 miles on the stationary bike (4 times this week) but to spin a very low gear. Starting the week of Feb 7, if all goes well, I’ll start upping the resistance. Hopefully this will allow the hip to gain some strength before I start asking it to climb. Then the week of March 7 – I try all of this on a real bike.
One of the lingering issues I have been having with the operated hip is stiffness when I first get up (out of a chair, etc.) and a pulling feeling in the front of the hip area in general. While my overal range of motion is pretty good, I have lost some flexibility in my hip flexors. This appears to be pretty common following a PAO. (I think sitting in the lotus position a thing of the past for me.) I discussed this with my PT, and she pointed out how much stuff is located at the front of a hip joint and how much it was probably impacted by the surgery. Anatomy has never been my thing (I am squeamish – thus why I am an civil engineer) so I haven’t really ever looked at all the how a hip is held together. Now I realize, there is a ton of stuff located in up there- most of it lying in the path of my incision. Below are some pictures of where the muscles (first picture) and tendons (second picture) are located in the front of the hip joint. After looking at these, the pain and tightness I am feeling make a lot of sense. I do NOT want to know how my surgeon moved all this stuff around while completing the surgery!
My PT gave me a stretch that I can do which should, over time, reduce the tightness I am feeling in the hip flexors and help with the overall stiffness. It is hard to describe, so I have included a picture below. Basically, you lay on back on the bed or sofa and let the operated leg hand off the side. This seems like no big deal – but having done it a few times – it is not as relaxing as the picture would lead you to believe. It should show the guy laying there with his eyes screwed shut and his fists clenched. That said, it is helping – it just isn’t any fun.