Hey, everybody! It’s Matt Hsu from Upright Health and welcome to Episode 21 of the Upright Health Podcast. Today’s episode is actually an interview that I did with a gentleman who was having a lot of hip troubles for the last several years and who’s sent me an email out of the blue that I thought was really interesting. And then I thought I should share with you. So he agreed to do an interview that you’re going to hear today where he talks about problems with his hip and the progress he has seen by using the FAI Fix self-help and self-training program that we’ve put out recently. So if you haven’t seen that, that’s at TheFAIFix.com. Again, that’s TheFAIFix.com for that self-help and self-training program that I’ve put together with Shane Dowd in San Diego. So without further ado, here is the interview. Enjoy!
Matt: Hey, everybody! This is Matt Hsu from Upright Health and I’m here today with Stuart Dupuy. Is that how you pronounce it?
Stuart: Yes, it is.
Matt: And Stuart, could you introduce yourself? What do you do? How old are you? What do you do for fun? All that good stuff.
Stuart: Yes. So I live in Austin, Texas. I’m 45 years old. I’m an entrepreneur. I own a few different businesses. And I have four kids. I like to spend time with them. For fun, I like to do triathlon, mountain biking and snow skiing. So I really like to do anything outside.
Matt: Perfect. And so Stuart’s a super active guy. And I got an email from Stuart about two weeks ago, I think. And Stuart was telling me that he had some hip problems. So can you give us a little background about when your hip problem started and what the symptoms were and all that?
Stuart: Yes. So I’ve had hip problems on and off for many years. It really started probably three years ago. My left hip mobility was really starting to deteriorate and so I started attacking it with yoga. I have a dance studio. It’s one of the businesses and I’ve created a class that I could go to. And for every week, I would go and just force the range of motion into my hip. And basically, I stretched my back and I aggravated my hip for three years until I figured out that what I was doing was actually the opposite of what I needed to be doing for my hip.
I got a diagnosis with a friend of mine. He’s actually an orthopedic surgeon up in Temple, Texas, of Femoroacetabular Impingement. And I had actually heard about it through… I came across some of your videos, Matt, online and I’ve done a lot of research. And my friend is also a cyclist and I was very happy at the time when with him that he was not telling me to have surgery. He actually told me that I was not a good candidate for surgery based upon some of the cartilage damage that I have in my hip socket. We got an MRI and x-ray and you could see on the MRI that my labrum is pretty much shredded. And I think that’s because I’ve been forcing the hip to make that motion that it shouldn’t be doing. And it was striking to me to look at the MRI and to look at the x-ray to see the edema, the bruising on my bone of where my femur was banging up against my pelvis just over and over as I was forcing it, just making it happen. I could literally feel the pain as it would move over that rough spot and get past it and then come back out open back up.
I’ve been really aggressively attacking it from a soft tissue perspective, probably since March. So it’s been about three months, in large part because of the videos that I saw from you, Matt and then just additional research that I’ve done on my own. I’ve hired a personal trainer just specifically to focus on strengthening my posterior chain to work on my glutes. The left side, my left glute, I find myself never using it. So like right now, as I’m sitting on the chair, you know, I’m forcing myself to fire that left side. When I drive, I drive to Colorado and back. It’s just turned off but I feel like I could feel…
Matt: One thing I wanted to clarify with yoga, what were you doing in yoga that was forcing the bad position?
Stuart: So, two things. One I was forcing the joint was I can’t do a left lunge; a low lunge with my left knee forward. Basically, my knee stops at ninety degree when I raise my knee, when I raise my left knee. And I would force myself to get into that position and I would just relax and just force the joint to slowly move into a bigger angle than ninety degrees. And it was excruciating. And I just figured I could just stretch and make my way through that. Also on the back, I was stretching, touching my toes, rounding my back. So basically, instead of stretching my hamstrings, I was stretching my back. And that’s kind of the opposite of what I need to be doing. And it just allowed my glutes to be nonexistent on the left side. On the right side, I do fire them, but on the left, they were pretty much not doing anything.
Matt: So also you had mentioned that your friend told you weren’t a good candidate for surgery. So you started doing yoga. Then you emailed me recently after you started doing more of the soft tissue work and you’ve been doing this training. You emailed with me a pretty funny story. Can you share that story?
Stuart: Absolutely. So my thirteen-year-old daughter broke her ankle recently. And so I was with her, I went to a couple appointments with her to meet with her orthopedic surgeon. Thankfully, she’s fine. I wish I was thirteen and could heal that quickly. But the last time that I was in there, as we were leaving, I had noticed that the doctor didn’t have other patients so he had a few minutes to chat. So I just told him. I said, “Hey, I was recently diagnosed with FAI, and I wanted to tell you about my progress if you’re interested. Because basically, I’ve been aggressively attacking it with soft tissue work, working on strengthening my glutes, strengthening my hamstrings, working on the muscles that have basically been turning my femur incorrectly in my joint to cause it to bang into my pelvis.” And I told him, I said, “So basically, I got this diagnosis and since I’ve started working on the soft tissue, I have increased my range of motion from it was ninety degrees and now it’s ninety five. And I don’t have any pain in the joint anymore.”
And so the doctor said, “Oh, well, that’s nice.” You know, he kind of rolled his eyes a little bit and like, yeah, whatever, you know, whatever you say. And he said, “Let’s scope that out for you. We can really easily take care of that and just go in and shave that and fix that right up.” And it was just like, I was flabbergasted. It’s like, “Okay, I just told you that I have increased my mobility, my range of motion has improved and I have no pain in my joint and you’re recommending surgery?” I was really surprised. And I told my daughter right afterwards and I said, “When you’re a hammer, everything looks like a nail.” And I was very fortunate that the first orthopedic surgeon who I’ve actually gone to as a patient, didn’t take that approach and he actually was recommending that I follow some of the ideas that Matt has been talking about on some of the things that I’ve seen online with him.
Matt: Wow! You’re very lucky you ran into that first orthopedic.
Stuart: Yeah, it was really interesting to me because I thought the doctor would find it and you know, it’s like, “Hey, here’s a cool thing. He’s a lower extremities specialist, FAI diagnosis, no pain, increased mobility. It’s awesome.” And instead of him asking for more, he just says, “Let’s scope it.” And he’s a great doctor. He’s got a really good reputation. You know, that’s his deal.
Matt: When are you scheduled for surgery? [Laughs]
Matt: All right. “Never” is the right answer.
Matt: So in general, what have your results been like? So you mentioned you’ve gone from ninety degree flection to now ninety five, the hip pain, so you mentioned that’s improved. So what was it before and what’s it at now?
Stuart: It used to be like constantly felt like an aching. Like a low-grade pain in that left joint. And I had a really hard time isolating it. I couldn’t tell if it was the joint, if it was muscles. And it’s just always there. I’d lay down in bed at night and I’d just feel it. I lay flat on my back and it just aches. And you know, when I raise my knee past a certain point, it just hits that point of impingement and would have, you know, pretty significant pain. What I had found since I’ve started on this rehabilitation is I haven’t been forcing the joint. So I’m not feeling that pain just from causing it to go where it shouldn’t go. But just in general, I’ve seen… I don’t have the constant pain. I have had some bad days that you know, started me again when I’ve been working on too hard. But just in general, it’s been good on the pain side. On the mobility side, I like to test myself by seeing how high I can raise my knee without my hands. So, using just the muscles in my leg to raise my knee. And I’ve been tracking it. And it was at ninety degrees and now it’s at about ninety five degrees. My other knee is probably hundred and fifteen degrees. I may have it backwards. It might be sixty five degrees. But basically it still is dramatically worse on the left side than on the right side, but it’s significantly better than it used to be. And I’m also finding that I can tie my shoes easier. I’m not having to put my leg behind my body to put my shoe on. And so you know, just little things that you know I’m able to notice.
And then also, I’ve been trying to test out squatting. And I had realized that I was squatting incorrectly. And when I kind of have started retraining squatting by keeping my back straight and allowing my knees to flare out. I’m seeing that I can go down further. I can go below ninety degrees. I still can’t go down all the way, but I can go down below ninety degrees. And if I hold on to something, obviously, I can go down because I’m leaning back. But those are the two benchmarks that I’ve been using just to keep track with how it’s going and how it’s been improving. And I love it. I know it’s a multi-year thing. It’s a lifestyle that I’m going to have to do, but I’m encouraged that I’ve been able to see success just in two to three months of aggressively working with it.
Matt: Are there any particular things that you’ve found were really obviously beneficial to do?
Stuart: The thing that I like the best is just hinging.
Stuart: So anything hinging. And my daughters (I have two teenage daughters) they laugh at me because they say that I’m twerking.
Stuart: So I’ll be standing in the airport when I’m going on vacation and just standing there just hinging. And they were like, “What are you doing?” And you know, I’m just working on my hip. And you know that’s been effective. And I’ve done a lot of different exercises, you know, anywhere from single legged bridges to kettle bells just different exercises on you trying to get the glutes to fire, trying to strength my lower back muscles. I can give you a long list of exercises that I’ve done. Half of them I got from videos from you. Also stretching and foam roller. So basically trying to let my quads release and relax. My adductor, I thought that was a bone.
Matt: Right. [Laughs]
Stuart: I mean, obviously I know it’s not a bone, but it’s just such a rock in there. So I’ve been trying to stretch, foam roller and all that. Also, my lacrosse ball has been pretty effective for me and I’ll just work the glute and work around the major muscles around that hip socket.
Matt: Great. And day by day, keeps getting better. And you had mentioned though that there are some days where it’s not great. And you feel like it’s not perfect.
Stuart: I was very frustrated when I saw your video recently about cycling.
Matt: Yup. [Laughs]
Stuart: And unfortunately, what I’m seeing is that when I go bike riding, that aggravates my hip. And I go mountain bike riding and I like to run my bike a lot and it aggravates my hip. Especially, you know if ride my time trial bike, so obviously, I can’t get into the position. I’ve changed the fitting on my bike. I’ve noticed that when my hips start to hurt, it’s generally around cycling.
Matt: Right. Yeah, cycling, as you know, is pretty quad dominant and can definitely start ramping up those quads and it tighten things up. And you’ve got to do a lot of tissue work…
Stuart: If I stand up in the saddle, it helps.
Matt: There you go. You can’t do that the whole time.
Stuart: Of course, I can’t do that as much as I’d like to.
Matt: Well, yeah, it does take time. So like you said, it can be a multiyear process to rebalance things. The more you’re doing hip hinging, the more you can get that left butt cheek on, the better and better that’s going to get. As you said, it’s going to take time, but it sounds like you’re on the right path. So it’s great to hear. And I really appreciate you sharing that story with me initially and sharing this with everybody else. I think it’s going to be really helpful for a lot of people.
Stuart: Well, I really appreciate you, Matt. And it’s just shocking to me to think, about, okay, so I have a femur that is twisted the wrong way, causing my bone to hit my pelvis the way it shouldn’t. So what I can do is I can shave my femur and make it fit, or I can just have my femur go correctly in my joint. So, my gosh, of course I’m going to try to do that. It’s such a no brainer. And I really appreciate it. So thank you very much for everything.
Matt: You’re very welcome. You’re very welcome. Thanks very much, Stuart. And I hope to be able to keep track of your story as it progresses. Take care!
Stuart: Sure! I’ll keep you posted.
So that’s the end of the interview with Stuart. I hope you gain a few inspirational insights. If you have some hip problems, I hope his story helps you figure out a better direction for yourself. And I hope that everybody remembers that pain sucks, life shouldn’t.