What do I do if my PT has never heard of hip dysplasia or the surgery I had?

Don’t freak out! The hip is a very complex structure and there have a been a lot of advancements in diagnosis and treatment in the past few decades. The rehabilitation world is working hard to keep up!

It is going to be easier to find a therapist who has experience with patients undergoing total joint replacements and hip arthroscopy (“scopes”) than some of the less common osteotomy procedures like PAOs (especially in areas of the country where there isn’t a local surgeon doing high volumes of complex hip surgeries). Finding a therapist who treats a lot of patients with hip pathologies and understands the complex biomechanics and need for proper muscle function and movement retraining can be key.

While it would be great if everyone could find a therapist with experience in their specific diagnosis and surgery, it is important to remember that post-operative protocols can vary between patients and surgeons and there are many individual patient differences including comorbidities, chronicity of pain and muscle/movement dysfunction, psychosocial factors, and patient goals vary greatly. So unless a PT works in an area where they have high-volume exposure to a certain surgeon and patient population, it probably doesn’t matter too much. What WILL matter is that you find a therapist who is smart, thoughtful, creative, dedicated, and good with problem-solving and who is willing to work with you through your unique situation.

If your PT isn’t familiar with your specific surgeon or surgery, it will be important that they communicate or collaborate with your medical team. You can help by getting copies of your surgeon’s clinic and/or operative reports to share with your PT as well as your surgeon’s post-op rehab protocol (or ask your PT to get them). If your surgeon does not have a specific protocol here are some articles that can also be shared with your PT if her or she is interested in more information about hip preservation concepts, surgery, and rehabilitation. It is extremely important, however, that you and your PT communicate with your medical team to make sure that these guidelines are appropriate for your case.

Current Concepts in Hip Preservation Surgery Part I

Current Concepts in Hip Preservation Surgery Part II