An Update from Kate: My Biggest Excuse (and my Biggest Motivation)

If you haven’t already read the previous blog where Kate shares about what it’s like living with hip dysplasia check it out HERE

5 years and a global pandemic have passed since I first published the original blog about my failing hips. I had just been diagnosed with Hip Dysplasia (which is a birth defect, if I was a golden retriever they’d put me down).  The surgeon I saw told me that based on my imaging, I was way more functional than I should be and that I should continue doing whatever I’m doing.  He gave me an option of a really crazy surgery or to wait a few more years and have hip replacements.  Hip replacements are significantly easier and I chose to wait until it was time for new hips.   Things have progressed.  I wanted to share my experience because I know so many of us, especially in our 40s and beyond have some pain/injuries and it can be really hard to keep working through them.  But I still maintain that my hips could be my BIGGEST EXCUSE, but in fact, they are my BIGGEST MOTIVATION.

I learned a lot about myself during the pandemic.  One of the things I learned was that my body was not made for sitting.  The world needed us to stay home, so I rolled my business online (what a wild ride) and for the first time, I was sitting at a desk 10+ hours a day.  Within 3 months my knee pain from when I was 20 came right back, and my hip and back pain increased dramatically.  I continued to exercise and see professionals as often as I could to keep my pain levels manageable.  As things opened up again, my gym opened and my days went 50% back to being on the gym floor and not sitting. 

To cope with the pain and discomfort I ramped up physio/rmt/chiro/osteo.  I hired 2 of my amazing trainers to help me with the physio stuff I need to be doing and to keep my hips as strong as they can be.  I continued to decline.  Last year I finally went for MRI’s on my knees, I learned that they are pretty much ok, but that my very tight hips are pulling on them and causing a lot of pain… down the road, I am likely to have injured knees as a result of my hips.  In the last 8 months or so, my hip pain has gone through the roof, I can no longer lie on one side at night, climbing stairs is painful and I have to be careful about how I get in and out of my car, I’m now limping… it’s getting bad.  I finally went in and got new MRI’s to see what was going on.  

Well, things have progressed significantly.  My “bad” hip now has no cartilage, there was already no labrum.  My “good” hip has a fully torn labrum and swelling in the cartilage.  My hips are DONE.  

Now, when I tell people about my hips, there is a common assumption that all the exercise is why my hips are wrecked.  However, it is the total opposite of that.  Because of all the exercise: I am still walking around and doing my favourite activities despite my bad hips.  If I didn’t have all the muscles and I didn’t do functional fitness training, chances are I would have had surgery years ago or I would not be so functional.

Here’s the thing, I’m in pain when I’m doing nothing and I’m in pain when I do stuff, as long as I’m smart about what i’m doing I have significantly more pain when I’m not doing things.  So I just keep going.  I prioritize things like squats/lunges/deadlifts (yes they hurt) because I have to keep strong muscles around my wonky joints.  AND I’ve always known that surgery was in my future, so I have to keep lots of strong muscles to make my recovery easier!  My plan is to go into surgery as strong and fit as possible!  This will allow a much easier recovery.  Also, my muscles absolutely will atrophy after surgery, and the more muscles I start with the more I’ll have to work with even after they’ve shrunk.  

So the moral of the story?  Stay on top of your functional fitness, be smart about it, hire professionals to help you prioritize the right movements and learn to execute properly, work with great manual therapists to keep everything functioning as well as it can.  If you have injuries/arthritis/any health issues, it matters EVEN MORE that you continue to take the best care of yourself and maintain your strength.  I KNOW that pain is exhausting and can ruin your motivation, but I promise that keeping up your strength will pay off! 

I would love to help you if you aren’t sure where to start! Click HERE to book a Free Crushing Your Goals call to set you up with a plan.