Win-Win: Prevention of Hip Surgery or Prehab

Lynda Huey Physical Therapy

By Robert Klapper, M.D. and Lynda Huey

Just as in the world of business, we like to talk about a win-win situation. Working to prevent hip surgery can create several wins for you. The ultimate win, of course, is that you follow the programs in this book, relieve your hip pain and dysfunction, and never need hip surgery of any kind. But there are several other possible wins. After several months of doing our pool program, you are likely to realize you’re in great shape, so you keep the water at the center of your lifelong fitness plan. It may turn out that you’ve postponed the need for hip surgery by five or ten years. That’s significant because technology keeps improving, and the surgery of the future will no doubt be superior and easier. But the other win is that even if you find yourself eventually scheduling a surgery, you will have become much stronger and able to bounce back more quickly.


Let’s say you come to our pool. When we first see you, we won’t be certain which path you will be on: Will you be avoiding the surgery? Postponing it? Doing a prehab program that will get you stronger before surgery? As we begin, it doesn’t matter. We just get started with our highly successful pool program—always with the intention of preventing surgery. About a month into the program, we expect to see improvement, first in pain reduction, then in improved range of motion, strength, and flexibility. We modify our expectations and plan for the future based on the results we see. We increase the effort of the exercises you are performing in order to help you become strong with greater mobility in your activities of daily life and your sports.



You can do the same, using the programs in Heal Your Hips Second Edition. Just start! Do the work and see where it takes you. Don’t be impatient. It might take up to a month before you start feeling improvement. Don’t give up too soon! You may be one of the lucky ones who regains good function and strength in your hip, and even though your X-ray or MRI hasn’t changed, you are out of pain and no longer considering surgery.

Some of you, however, may find that despite your best efforts, your pain may be continuing. If you have done the rehab program for two to three months without major reduction of pain, you may have to conclude that you are no longer going down the Prevention path as you had hoped, but rather are on the Prehab path. Remember, that was the final win. You have benefited from increased strength and ability due to your new exercise routines. And now you must refuel your commitment to continue training to be physically powerful enough to withstand the rigors of surgery and recover quickly.

There are two key reasons you may ultimately decide to have hip surgery: pain that keeps you awake at night or realizing your back or knees have started to hurt because you’re using them to compensate for lack of movement in your hip. You don’t want to ruin joints that are innocent bystanders as you keep trying to save your hip. At some point, you will begin to build toward the decision for surgery. You and your doctor may realize that the degenerative process has gone too far for any solution other than hip arthroscopy or hip implant surgery, which are explained in chapters 13 and 14 of Heal Your Hips Second Edition.

Water Rehab Specialist, Lynda Huey, MS, earned a bachelors and masters degree from San Jose State University where she also starred on the track and field team. Her own athletic injuries led her into the water where she learned to cross train and speed the healing of injuries. She has written six books on aquatic exercise and rehabilitation, books that are considered the foundation of aquatic therapy world-wide. Lynda is President of CompletePT Pool & Land Physical Therapy in Los Angeles.