A Vulnerable Position

I figured something out a while ago, but hadn’t spoken about it yet as I wasn’t sure how to communicate it or explain it properly.

I’ve found a weak position for my right hip joint.

There is a body position, better yet an angle, that I can put my leg and body into that can cause a feeling of pressure, from just a little to potential dislocation (I’m guessing as I’ve never dislocated it).  It takes several different factors to come together to make it happen but this has happened to me 3 times.

It’s only ever happened with my right hip and I have spoken to my therapist about it.

1st Time:

The first time this happened it caught me completely off guard, to say the least.  I was bent forward at the waist trying to put my right foot into my winter boot.  I had a slight bend in my knee but was flexing/tightening my muscles to help shove my foot into my boot when it happened.

It was as if the muscles had pulled my hip joint while it was in a vulnerable position.  If I were to make a sudden twist or movement it would have resulted in a dislocation (at least that is what it felt like).  Like the joint was maxed out with the combination of the angle and the pressure (or something).

How did I get out of the position?

Well at first I froze.  Then I tried to relax my muscles, which seemed to help A LOT and slowly stood back up from my bent position.  I stood in one spot for a while, moved my leg and hip around gently in some circular motions and back and forth a little and everything felt fine.  There was nothing that felt weird.

I spoke to my therapist about it that evening, he didn’t have much to say as nothing felt wrong after it happened, and I moved on with life.

2nd Time:

A few weeks later (I think, I can’t really remember) I was sitting on the side of my bed (which is super low to the ground) and was bending forward to put on my sock when the same thing happened.  The exact same thing. My right hip got stuck and I had a fear of dislocation.  Once again, I took a breath, released my muscles, relaxed and sat up slowly from the bent forward position.

3rd (The Last) Time:

Several months past until it happened again.  I thought I had figured out what my body did to make this happened and corrected it, however a tired mind can sometimes let you down.  At this point it was about 16 months post-op for my right hip replacement.

I was half way across the country, it had been a long and emotional week saying goodbye to my grandmother.  I was showering the morning of my grandmother’s celebration of life and I was mentally and physically exhausted.  While bending down to wash my foot I suddenly felt an intense pain (way more than ever before).  I froze.  Took a breath, relaxed a bit and released, standing up straight.

Honestly, this time it terrified me.  I was nervous to put weight on my leg.  I was wearry for a couple days (being a little emotionally vulnerable and unstable for general life reasons didn’t help either).  My hip had felt like it MAXED out.  The muscles were pushing the joint in a direction it didn’t want to go and applying pressure to everything.  Like it was about to dislocate, on the verge, more so than ever before.  The ‘femur’ head (I’m guessing, this is just what it felt like) was being pushed to the outside and about to pop out.  Being pulled by the fact that my quad was tense and pulling it.

Writing this now I can remember the feeling and it makes me a little uncomfortable.

What made this happened?

I believe I have figured it out (not saying it won’t ever happen again though) and understand why it has happened each time.

I’ve taken a picture of the body position to help better explain what I mean.

img_3635.jpg

The circumstances that tie all these things together are:

  • Calf – Engaged
  • Quad – Engaged
  • Hip Flexors – Not Engaged
  • Hamstring – Not Engaged
  • Glutes – Not Engaged (I think)

My hip isn’t fully protected in this position with my muscles not all engaged.  The joint is left vulnerable when I’m tired and not fully paying attention.  I have since received an exercise that helps to strengthen the hip flexors and I will be releasing a short video in the next day or so.

While it hasn’t happened since, and I’m super happy about that, it is something that I keep in mind every time I go to wash my feet, put on boots or do anything where I reach down to my toes while I’m tired or feeling physically off.  A reminder that while I feel fantastic, I still have hip replacements and need to be mindful of my movements.

8 thoughts on “A Vulnerable Position

    1. I was hesitant for a little while after the last scare but am past it now. It was about 8-9 months ago and no more concern! It’s so important to listen to your body and get to know what works and what doesn’t.

  1. It’s the only thing that really worries me about my hip too 😱 I’m doing lots of gym stuff and it’s all going good, but that thought is always at the back of my mind. I don’t know if one would get any ‘warning’ before a dislocation happened? I’m always mindful of how the hip is feeling when I’m exercising, and it something doesn’t fell right I don’t do it. But it does ache sometimes afterwards and the outside edge of my thigh – under the incision scar seems to feel more prominent. Then I worry that the joint has moved. But I really don’t know.

    1. If the joint moves you’ll know! I use to get some muscle soreness around the incision and new hip when working out but it’s all worked itself out now (luckily). I’m not sure if people always get warning about dislocation, depends the circumstances I think. I feel like I got a bit of a warning. How far along in recovery are you? (If it’s okay I’m asking)

      1. I will be 1 year post op on 1st November. I am hoping to do a sprint triathlon next year (May). I shall be able to do the cycling and swimming okay, but I haven’t really got back to running yet. I know a lot of consultants say ‘NO NO’ – but I shall see how it goes.

  2. Thanks so much for writing your blog. It has helped me prepare for my upcoming hip replacement on October 23. I appreciate you giving the heads up on what I should expect. I never thought about how weak the quad muscles will be.

    1. I hope your surgery went well yesterday Tami! If you ever have questions or just need to chat please feel free to contact me 🙂

Leave a Reply