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Share Your Story
|A Physical Therapist's Perspective on Lady Gaga's Hip Injury|
March 21, 2013 / Hips
We don’t often expect to hear of hip surgery in a 26-year-old, but that was indeed the case for Lady Gaga, popular singer and performer, after she injured her hip during a concert. Gaga is known for her unique and colorful personality and energetic performances that often include choreographed dance. She underwent hip surgery in late February to repair a tear in the labrum, a layer of cartilage that helps hold the hip joint in place and therefore is vital for keeping an active person able to move and stay functional.
According to Matt Carbone, PT, DPT, OCS, CIMT, an orthopedic certified specialist and expert in musculoskeletal conditions, Gaga is facing very limited mobility in her hip as she prepares to begin the lengthy and absolutely essential rehab process, which could be difficult because of her physically-demanding profession. Here, Matt answers a few of the common questions about hip surgery and what the recovery may be like for Lady Gaga –
How soon after hip surgery does a patient start moving?
If the injury was severe, a patient may be very limited in the amount of weight they can bear on the leg until it begins to heal sufficiently. In my experience working with post-operative hip fractures we got them moving next day, by either using a walker or crutches to transfer from bed to chair or actually ambulating (assisting the patient in walking about) with the patient maintaining the weight-bearing precautions. The patient would also immediately begin exercises in the bed to target specific hip, knee and ankle muscles and joints.
How long might Lady Gaga’s rehab process be?
In an outpatient setting like BenchMark, she would probably come in to begin physical therapy around four weeks after surgery. Again this would depend upon the muscle healing and the type of surgical intervention that was used. She is young, in good shape and most likely very motivated to recover so a very likely scenario would be for her to spend 4-8 weeks in regular therapy since she has a demanding profession to return to (dancing, very active, etc.). The tear should be completely healed by 3-4 months.
What kinds of treatments might a physical therapist use?
Specific treatments in outpatient would involve hands on range of motion (ROM) exercises, where the therapist would move the joint to help restore its movement ability. There might also be some joint mobilization to the non-affected joints if restricted from immobility. A therapy prescription would involve hip, knee and ankle strengthening, balance and muscle re-education, flexibility training and endurance training. Because the hip is so essential to the stability and mobility of the human frame, this type of injury results in a long road, which is why a positive attitude and motivation to continue working hard are very important elements.
Is there a higher risk of re-injury after the tear has healed?
With any injury, if the rehabilitation process is not fully completed there is a potential risk for re-injury. Dependent upon the surgical procedure, the tissue structure should return to its normal tensile strength over a period of time. If return to activity is too soon before full healing has occurred, there can be a re-injury or perhaps a different type of injury due to compensation. Down the road, keeping the affected body part and those surrounding the previously injured area strong is essential to preventing a re-injury.