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FAI Recovery

Dr. Jorge Chahla provides all of his surgical patients with full post-operative instructions to help them through the recovery process.

How long does it take to recover from symptomatic FAI without surgery?

Exercise is the best way to improve FAI hip pain and return to normal daily activity and recreational pursuits. Recovery includes 6-8 weeks of physical therapy with modifications to decrease pain, inflammation and swelling. Therapy progression includes exercises for range of motion, flexibility, muscle strength, endurance, balance, proprioception, and control.

How long does it take to recover from FAI surgery?

Recovery from most types of FAI surgery is 4-6 months with early pain relief, and functional improvements in daily activities at 3 months postoperatively. Return to sporting activities is possible between 6 months and a year post op. Therapy is focused on restoring range of motion, and improving muscle strength, flexibility, and stability.

Gentle range of motion exercise and continuous passive motion can prevent stiffness, pain, and adhesions. Controlled and gradual weight bearing exercise is essential to protect the joint. Inactivity and immobilization increase the risk of muscle atrophy and circulation problems. Aggressive post-op rehab is recommended. The patient’s healing, strength, range of motion, biomechanical function, and confidence must be considered.

Immediately after surgery

Pain: Take the pain medications as instructed.

Showering: Keep the incisions dry, no showering for 48 hours, after which bandages can be removed, but keep the steri-strips in place. Cover with a waterproof bandage when showering.

Crutches and Brace: Use crutches and wear a brace. No weight bearing for the first 24-36 hours. It can take 3-4 weeks before the patient gets off of crutches. Wear the brace when using crutches.

Icing and CPM: Begin icing the hip the first few days to reduce swelling. The continuous passive movement machine (CPM) will gently move the operated leg to prevent stiffness and reduce scarring. At night we advise the use of padding for about 2 weeks to protect the hip and keep the toes pointed straight up.

Upright biking: Upright biking without resistance can begin one day post op using only the non-operative leg to push the operative leg for about 20 minutes at a time.

Change position: We recommend changing positions frequently to prevent stiffness. Every 30 minutes alternate sitting, reclining, and lying down. Do not sit for longer than 30 minutes. Spend 2-3 hours on the stomach with the hips straight. Perform ankle pumps and elevate the legs to prevent blood clots.

Physical therapy: Physical therapy begins on post-op day one or two where the patient learns to use crutches, passive range of motion exercises and isometric exercises. Physical therapy will be 2x/week for about 3 months.Physical therapy begins on day one or two post op where the patient learns to use crutches, passive range of motion exercises and isometric exercises. Physical therapy will be 2x/week for about 3 months.

Physical Therapy

Effective post op rehabilitation is individually tailored and modified with precautions based on the type of surgery. Post-operative healing requires a balance between protecting the joint so it can heal and providing sufficient motion to rehabilitate the joint muscles, ligaments and tendons. Dr. Chahla and his team of physical therapists at Midwest Orthopedics will personalize your rehabilitation to address your specific circumstances and needs.

Here at Midwest Orthopaedics, we use a 5-phase rehabilitation protocol. Each phase is carefully structured and designed by Dr. Chahla and his team of physical therapists to advance patients based on milestones. This allows patients to advance when they are functionally ready rather than at non-specific set time points. The major goal of this initial phase of therapy is to restore daily function and pain free living.

5 – Phase Rehabilitation

Phase 1: The first 2-6 weeks after surgery, the patient will use crutches as needed. The goal is to protect the joint, manage pain and begin rebuilding muscle strength, flexibility and range of motion. At week 2 the patient can begin to weight bear as long as the pain doesn’t increase with walking.

Phase 2: The goal of the next 4-6 weeks is restoration of range of motion, and reeducation of the muscles including progressive strength and endurance exercises targeting the glutes, hamstrings, and quads to get them ready for walking. Core strengthening is necessary to improve stability. During this time, progressive weight bearing exercises will begin.

Phase 3: Gait normalization and strength optimization to prepare the patient for return to the daily activities of life.

Phase 4: Dynamic stability and proprioceptive training. Cardiovascular endurance exercises and advanced strength training.

Phase 5: The final phase is the determination that the patient is ready to return to sports. This involves the patient, the surgeon and the physical therapist.

Dr. Jorge Chahla is an award-winning scientist and world renowned orthopedic surgeon who has trained under the most accomplished surgeons in the world. Dr. Chahla is located in Chicago, Illinois and offers cutting-edge procedures and treatment to help patients return to the lives they love after suffering complex injuries to the hip, knee, and shoulder. Contact Dr. Chahla to schedule a consultation to receive the correct diagnosis and treatment. You will always receive personalized compassionate care.

At a Glance

Dr. Jorge Chahla

  • Triple fellowship-trained sports medicine surgeon
  • Performs over 500 surgeries per year
  • Assistant professor of orthopedic surgery at Rush University
  • Learn more

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