T Nation

Major Hips Problems, LWT Pro Strongman

Hey all,

I am 30 year old, ex elite powerlifter and lwt pro strongman. I’d love to be able to compete again someday, but physical and personal issues have prevented me from doing so for awhile.

I wanted to to share that I went to the doctor the other day for the first time in years to check up on some issues I have had for awhile. (Sleep apnea, hips killing me, plantar faciitis, get a blood lipid profile done, etc.) - My hips have bothered me for years and years, especially when squatting.

Well, when they took x-rays of my hips, I had pretty serious degeneration in both hips. Just imagine what a ball in the socket should look like…well the ball of the hip was missing a chunk about the size of half a quarter.

The socket itself had been grinded away pretty bad as well and there is alot of fluid buildup in both hips. Both hips are equally awful (the right one is a little worse, but the left one causes me more pain).

Anyway, I’m wanting to really educate myself on the subject and hope to save myself form hip replacement surgery or even a resurfacing surgery if at all possible. I’m set up to see an orthopedic surgeon in a week and I would like to email him before then with some background info and be fully educated when it comes time to talk to him. I’d much rather choose aggressive physical therapy as opposed to any form of surgery.

Here are some specifics to my problem…

Hip Mobility:

  1. Flexion: no problems, good range of motion when hips are in a comfortable plane. Goood ROM.

  2. Extension:no problems as well when hips are in a comfortable position.

  3. Adduction (toward midline) - VERY WEAK but no pain. Additionally, transverse adduction (when the hips are bent AND moving toward the midline fo the body) I am exceptionally weak, but again, no pain.

  4. Abduction (away from midline) Terrible ROM, Lots of PAIN.
    a) Standing, I can step laterally to only 25" from heel to heel. I can then wiggle and slowly move my feet out to 35" from heel to heel but all of it is painful.
    b) Seated on floor, with legs straight in front of me, I can spread my legs to 42.5" heel to heel.

  5. Transverse Abduction (hips bent and then move hips away from midline - as if I am sitting in a chair and then just trying to move my feet and knees away from body. THIS IS THE WORST! TONS OF PAIN!
    a) Range of motion sitting in a kitchen chair and just picking up feet and spreading them apart, I can only get my heels 15.5" apart, and even then, it’s very painful.

  6. External rotation (sitting with legs crossed) - Good ROM, no pain, nice stretch on glute medius,minimus, and piriformis.

  7. Internal Rotation - NO ROM at all. Painful and hips are totally locked and unable to move anywhere.

The most painful movement would be a wide stance squat, where flexion occurs as the hips are abducted and internally rotated. This is why I put my feet so close together when I squat, because I can perform flexion and abduction as long as the hips are externally rotating (which is why my feet are 12" apart, but my knees are 2.5 feet apart during a squat.)

Specific Problems:

  1. Any actual hip socket issues will probably have to be addressed by my orthopedic surgeon.

  2. I believe my glute medius and minimus will not fire. They will most likely require e stim and glute activation work to get them back to firing at a normal level.

  3. I also believe my tensor fasciae latee are ultra tight and bound up cause some ROM issues.

  4. Secondary problems: (tightness, bound up, scar tissue) in the Piriformis and surrounding muscles, and the sartorius.

Rehab Options:?

  1. Lose weight - I’m 264 right now and reallyneed to get down to 215-220.

  2. E stim and ultra sound to the glute minimus and medius, TFL.

  3. Foam rolling, (+ tennis ball, lacross, etc.) to anterior, medial, and posterior areas of the hips.

  4. Oral Glucosamine and topical NSAID cream (already have this) 3-4 times daily.

  5. Bodyweight glute activation work (single leg bridges, etc., as well as Agile 8 and maginificent mobility stuff for the hips.

Other thoughts? I’m open to anything. I’d really like to find a doc to give me growth hormone shots to see if we can rebuild the degenerated area, but I doubt I get lucky enough to find someone who will do that for me.

Any articles or specialists that you could send my way or give me information to, would be helpful and most appreciated.


Well I can’t really do anything but wish you good luck in the recovery process.

I was hoping someone could point me in the right direction to at least an authority who might be able to offer me some help?

I might recommend checking out Gray Cook’s stuff. He is of the functional movement screen variety. I worked with a kinesiologist who is a disciple of his and he diagnosed the movements that were causig me problems and hgave me exercises to specifically build up those weaknesses. That is more preventative than I think what you are looking for though?

No location listed, what state are you from? I might be able to point you in the direction of someone.

I’m sorry to hear all of this. Having been born with totally collapsed arches in my feet, I’ve been having hip problems since around 4 years old due to the extreme tightness in my flexors, TFL, etc that it has caused. I’ve also developed a benign bone tumor in my left femur over the past few years which is incredibly painful and causes a LOT of stress to my hips. I definitely feel for you.

You may want to give this program a try, as much of it is very centered on fixing your hip problems, because, as the saying goes, “Fix the hips, fix the body”. It is a few years old, and is called, Neanderthal No More…

1.- http://www.tmuscle.com/free_online_article/sports_body_training_performance_repair/neanderthal_no_more_part_i

2.- http://www.tmuscle.com/free_online_article/sports_body_training_performance_repair/neanderthal_no_more_part_ii

3.- http://www.tmuscle.com/free_online_article/sports_body_training_performance_repair/neanderthal_no_more_iii

4.- http://www.tmuscle.com/free_online_article/sports_body_training_performance_repair/neanderthal_no_more_part_iv

5.- http://www.tmuscle.com/free_online_article/sports_body_training_performance_repair/neanderthal_no_more_part_v

Obviously the program is centered on more than just the hips, but there is a heavy focus to that area. Also, this is going to do nothing for the worn away bone in the joint, but correcting the issues will prevent it from waring away any further, and will considerably alleviate a lot of stress and pain, even if the bone issue is still present.

Also, a lot of good foam roller work and correct stretching, etc will do well for the problems, as you already mentioned above.

Plus, one thing that should not be overlooked at ALL is correct footwear, and, specifically, a pair of CUSTOM MADE for YOUR feet orthotics (no $10 Dr. Scholls,sorry) to put in your shoes to correct any foot problems, which move all the way up the chain, and especially affect the hips. These are relatively costly, but well worth it for someone with your problems. You also are going to have to work your way into wearing them full time, as jumping right into having them in all the time is too much. Start with maybe an hour a day and work your way up (If your feet are as bad as mine are anyway) to let your body adapt to them.

If there are any Active Release Technicians in your area, you should look into seeing one also to help increase the R.O.M. and get rid of scar tissue buildup. Once you restore range of motion to tight areas, the muscles opposite of them, especially with use of a good program like the one above, will start to fire correctly and this will all add up to help take considerable stress off of the area.

Anyway, take a good look into the articles above and good luck to you. Please keep us informed on how everything is going, even if its just through PM.


I have had the same problems with extremely poor internal rom in my hips. Its hurted like hell inside the hip when i was squatting. I tried the stretches which Eric Cressey recommended. Helped only a little bit. What really helped me was a stretch a lot like the one i saw Eric Cressey recommend.

You lie on the floor and take your feet out as much as possible (in the start it was enough to just have my legs normal and it started to cramp) then you let your knees spread out to the feet. For me in the start i could not move the knees before i got cramps. But i started to do it constantly and after a week or two it really started to get a lot better.

Hope you understand the description, this stretch helped me alot and the problems you have sound excatly like mine just worse :frowning:

Where do you live?

I would recommend you see a good ART practitioner ASAP. If you’re near Chicago, I would head to Poliquin’s Performance Center.


I dont know where you live but I work for a renowned orthopaedic surgeon who specializes in total hips. From what you described I have a feeling you will need surgery. I dont know if you can get around a total hip or not. If you are interested let me know and I can put you in contact with him. He is very highly regarded and if nothing else could refer you to Harvard sports med service.