Testimonials Archive

Alexander P.

First of all, I want to thank you for the FAI FIX program you put together and for the huge amount of helpful YouTube videos. Also, before I go into more detail here I would like to excuse the length of the following text and very much hope that you stick with it. My English may not be perfect as I come from Germany and do not regularly talk about this topic in the English language.

I would like to talk a little bit about how I came across your YouTube channel at first and, consequently, the FAI FIX program. After I fell with my bike on a muddy trail in the forest about ten years ago and my legs were forcefully and abruptly pulled into a “split position”. I started to feel a strange pinch in the anterior/lateral part of my hip – especially in abduction and flexion and/or internal rotation.

About 10 different visits to at least 7 different doctors did not change anything about my situation. After several years and more visits to the orthopedist I was told that I had FAI (cam impingement, a torn labrum and – according to the MRI – bad cartilage for my age). I was told surgery would probably be the best option. Also, I should probably stop climbing – which was what I was doing about 6 times a week at the time.

Obviously, after many years of moderate but increasing pain and a bunch of other orthopedists telling me that they could not tell me anything because I probably didn’t have anything, I started to do some research on my own as I was not particularly interested in getting surgery at 23 years of age.

I spent a lot of time on scientific articles which I was able to access for free since I was already a university student at that time. In retrospect, the “snowball method” for my research was probably a mistake as I found more and more orthopedic surgeons arguing in favor of surgery without mentioning a lot of critical literature that I found later on.

After another half a year or so I came to the conclusion that surgery probably was the best option as nothing I had done had improved my situation. Add the fact that after the MRI – coupled with an orthopedic theory about bone on bone contact – I always thought I would make things worse. In fact, I stopped climbing as it really did hurt my hips (drop knees etc. are exactly the kind of movement that got harder and harder to do without pain). I also had trouble running and walking as my anterior hip got super tight (now I can say that it is mostly the TFL). After having made that difficult decision I finally came across the Upright Health YouTube channel where Matt was telling me that the theory that bones cause pain and surgery is the only way to make things better is basically nonsense.

As I was already struggling with my decision, I came to the conclusion that the evidence I gathered in favor of surgery was more convincing. About a year later (as you have to wait some time in order to be operated on by one of the top guys in Germany), I got surgery.

The clinic asked me if I had a problem being operated on during the International Hip Arthroscopy Conference in Munich. I was actually operated on by another surgeon who apparently is one of the best arthroscopic hip surgeons in the world and who also wrote many of the articles I also read during my research.

The surgery itself went well and rehab was relatively quick.  I was able to do everything I did before relatively quickly, and even though physiotherapy was rather disappointing, I did in fact have a little bit more hip range of motion 10 weeks after surgery. Mostly abduction improved whereas internal rotation and flexion were still quite restricted.

I gave it more time and exercise and already opted for surgery number two because the level of frustration with another “broken” hip was still high. In addition to that, the psychological factor was still present, as were the pictures of me never being able to climb or surf or….ever again. Surgery number two, in terms of rehab, went even better mostly because nothing was done with my labrum. It’s interesting to note that on the MRI the labrum was not only “torn” but would also probably have to be resected because it was in such bad shape (may be that the MRI is in fact not! the best indicator of labrum health?).

Yet, in the long term, like many of your clients, I also have to report that surgery did not really improve my situation: I still had pain in abduction, internal rotation, flexion. External rotation on the left actually got worse. I still had the range of motion of an eighty-year-old even though I used to be a gymnast when I was younger and able to do the splits, etc.

The problem in standing abduction, for example, was not that my adductors felt tight. I could not go any further because I  felt a pinch on the outside of the hip which kept me from going any deeper into any position.

What surgery did change though was that I was not so much afraid anymore about bone on bone contact. Every time I felt a pinch in my hip I told myself “this cannot (or at least should not) be bone on bone as that problem was “solved”. Unhappy with the results I got back to research AND back to Upright Health and the FAI Fix which I was now determined to try. This was early 2016. Even though I did some tissue work and stretching as well as reactivation before I bought the FAI Fix, I was not doing it in such a systematic way. Also, I was never sure about whether or not the techniques with all the different tools could make things worse as I was frequently told by different physiotherapist.

The results – compared to anything I have done before (including surgery) – were pretty awesome, yet, of short duration. I got more and more mobile and felt less of a pinching sensation in the hip after doing all the drills, but when I woke up the next morning it was back to my uncomfortable “normal” or at least a bit better than it was before.  My best guess is that this is probably due to a lack of muscles in certain areas, most of all the glutes/posterior chain. As I focused mostly on stretching and tissue work because it would give me immediate positive feedback, I did not put much/enough effort (and time) into reactivating muscles that are not working properly. This will be my main goal in the near future and I am convinced that this will make a big difference.

With my current knowledge and own experience, I would probably not recommend surgery to anyone – that is, until you have not tried something like the FAI FIX or similar programs for at least as long as you’ve been having your hip problems.

I think the one key point is that you have to be willing to put the time in. That, I think, was (one of) the main benefits of your program. The almost trivial sounding realization that something like hip pain that gets worse over years and years does not just go away with an “easy” fix like surgery.

And it’s not like I tried nothing and then got surgery. I consider myself to be very disciplined and active when it comes to my bodily health/awareness. But I made the mistake of expecting too much from too little. That is true for both the time I put in stretching, tissue work and strengthening before surgery and with the surgery itself.

I cannot report that I am pain free after just a couple of weeks of training. For example I do still feel a pinch when I am lying in bed and letting my knee fall to the side. But I am now improving my hip health and my body’s health in general on a daily basis. Even if it takes another year or two, compared to how long it was getting worse and compared to how many years I spent getting less and less mobile this seems like a “good deal.”  Just recently – after years of not being able to run without my hips getting super tight –  I was able to run my first half marathon in one hour and thirty minutes.

Thank you again for all your help. Pain sucks. Life shouldn’t!

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Andres A.

I’ve just started the program and I’m getting positive results; decreased discomfort and more flexibility. I’ve had two surgeries, one for each hip to correct FAI during 2013 and 2014. Because of discomfort and fear of causing more damage, I stopped activities like running and playing soccer.  The program is definitely not a quick fix and requires time, but for people who want to be proactive about their pain or discomfort, it’s worth the effort. I came across your program as kind of a last resort. The surgeries did not provide the relief that I hoped for. All the PT I have done did not provide even a fraction of the guidance that’s in the FAI Fix program, so thank you!

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Eva R. (español)

eva rMi cadera derecha venía molestándome puntualmente desde hacía tiempo, pero debo confesar que no le hice nunca demasiado caso. Al cabo de unos días los dolores remitían y yo seguía con mi vida. Pero en verano de 2016 comenzó a dolerme el cuádriceps de una forma extraña. Al principio era como tener la pierna cansada a todas horas, luego me resentía al correr. Hacia octubre pasó a dolerme de forma intensa y limitante, todo el día; me dolía el cuádriceps, el glúteo, la ingle. Por la noche no podía dormir porque no encontraba una postura en que no me doliera la pierna. Cuando salíamos con la familia (al zoo, a pasear…) cojeaba y apenas podía seguir el ritmo, y cuando mis hijos (4 y 7 años) me pedían que jugara a fútbol con ellos tenía que decirles que no. No aguantaba de pie demasiado tiempo pero tampoco sentada estaba bien y eso era un problema porque mi trabajo se realiza todo mediante el ordenador. Tuve que dejar de ir al gym porque no podía hacer muchos de los ejercicios y salí dolorida de las sesiones.

Pero lo peor era que este dolor continuado estaba amargándome el humor. Aunque soy una persona alegre y positiva, en esa época estaba enfurruñada todo el día, lo que repercutía negativamente en mi vida familiar. Era consciente de ello e intentaba animarme, al menos en apariencia, pero me resultaba muy duro.

Fui al médico. La traumatóloga me exploró y desde el principio me recomendó unos estiramientos, que me hacían mejorar puntualmente pero no veía avances reales. Luego me realizaron una resonancia magnética de la cadera. El diagnóstico no fue nada con un nombre concreto, pero no tenía FAI. Lo que decía el informe era: “cambios degenerativos en articulación coxofemoral derecha con pinzamiento de espacio articular y geodas subcontrales en el techo acetabular. Marcado engrosamiento y aumento de señal del labrum (…) ocasionando una sobrecobertura focal posterior”. El médico rehabilitador lo llamó “una cadera complicada”, y me dijo que para explicarlo a mis conocidos dijera que era “artrosis”. Un osteópata lo llamó “enfermedad del labrum”. Todos me decían que el dolor no desaparecería, aunque podía reducirse con el tratamiento adecuado.

En principio, seguí el protocolo establecido por mi compañía de seguro médico. El médico rehabilitador me recetó 10 sesiones de rehabilitación y las hice religiosamente. Pero esas sesiones no están personalizadas (de 5 a 9 pacientes por fisioterapeuta!!) y solamente se enfocaban a reforzar los músculos alrededor de la cadera. Únicamente en un par de ocasiones en que llegué muy dolorida a la sesión la fisioterapeuta me hizo unas manipulaciones para intentar aligerar el dolor. La pierna me dolía más al hacer algunos de los ejercicios y en bastantes ocasiones salí de la sesión peor que entré. Nadie atendió a mi sensación de agarrotamiento en el cuádriceps, que era lo que más me dolía. Por eso comencé a investigar en Internet, hasta que encontré el FAI Fix. También comencé a visitar a un osteópata, que se centró en relajar los músculos más contraídos.

Mi duda principal era que mi diagnóstico no era de pinzamiento, y además el coste del programa FAI Fix me parecía muy alto para tratarse de un libro electrónico y algunos vídeos. Estuve pensando en comprar Healthy Hips, pero me sentía muy identificada con los síntomas descritos por las personas con FAI y pensé que si FAI Fix resultaba muy complejo siempre podría realizar una versión “simplificada” del mismo, pero no podría realizar una versión “avanzada” del progrma Healthy Hips. Al final realicé el FAI Fix al detalle, sin simplificar nada.

Aunque yo no tenía FAI, mis síntomas se parecían mucho a los de la gente con FAI, y además Matt y Shane daban consejos muy concretos en sus vídeos, que me inspiraron confianza. Me gustó el enfoque “muscular” de Matt y Shane, puesto que yo sentía que mi problema estaba en los músculos, era lo que realmente me dolía. Pensé que por el importe de tres sesiones de osteopatía podía encontrar una solución definitiva. También me atrajo que el FAI Fix era algo que podía hacer yo misma, sin depender de sesiones de fisioterapia pautadas con criterios que no parecían funcionar. Así que compré FAI Fix el 7 de enero de 2017.

Desde el primer día que comencé el programa me di cuenta de que ese enfoque era lo que mi cuerpo necesitaba. Le dediqué en torno a una hora casi todos los días, y siempre salía de la sesión mucho mejor que como había entrado, al contrario que con la rehabilitación pautada por el médico. No puedo deciros cuándo noté una verdadera mejora durante mi día a día, supongo que al cabo de un mes, aproximadamente. Ahora estamos a finales de marzo de 2017 y el dolor ya es algo del pasado. Solamente me molesta un poco el cuádriceps cuando estoy varios días seguidos sin hacer los ejercicios de FAI Fix, aunque ahora apenas me acuerdo ni de mi cadera ni de mi cuádriceps en todo el día. Cuando tengo pequeñas molestias, hago algunos de los ejercicios (¡muy importantes los de fortalecimiento!) y rápidamente vuelvo a encontrarme bien. Puedo andar todo lo que quiera, puedo jugar con mis hijos, y me estoy planteando volver a hacer algún ejercicio “normal” como ir al gym.

Debo agregar que he combinado el programa FAI Fix con sesiones de osteopatía, centradas en relajar mis músculos más contracturados. En enero fueron tres, con una semana de separación, en febrero las espacié a cada 15 días y ahora voy una vez al mes, para tratar también otras molestias. Seguro que los masajes del osteópata me han ayudado, pero creo que la mejoría más importante se debe a seguir el FAI Fix cada día. Si dejaba de hacer los ejercicios de FAI Fix, notaba enseguida un empeoramiento, y en cambio si los hacía rápidamente mejoraba.

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Eva R.

eva rI had pain in my right hip for a long time, but I must confess that I really never paid attention to it. Usually after a few days, the pain disappeared and I went on with my life. But in the summer of 2016 I started to feel a strange pain in my quad. In the beginning it felt like my leg was exhausted all the time, and eventually I felt pain while I was running. Around October, the pain started to feel more intense and limiting. All day long I felt pain in my quad, glute, and groin. At night I couldn’t sleep because I wasn’t able to find a posture where I didn’t feel pain in my leg. In the days out with my family (at the zoo, or just simply a walk) I was limping and I could barely keep up with with my children (they were 4 and 7 years old). Whenever they asked me to play soccer with them, I had to say no. I couldn’t stand on my feet for long periods of time nor could I sit comfortably, which was a huge problem since I had to use my computer a lot at work. I stopped going to the gym because I wasn’t able to do most of the exercises and generally I ended up in a lot of pain at the end of my sessions.

But the worst thing of all was that that constant pain was changing my mood. Although I am usually a very positive and joyful person, at that time I was upset most of the time, which was affecting my family relationships. I was aware of that and I tried to cheer myself up, or at least pretended to, but it was really tough.

I went to the doctor. The orthopedic checked me, and at first she suggested I do some stretching, which helped me a little bit but never achieved real progress. Then I got a MRI for the hip. She didn’t give me a specific diagnosis, but she said I didn’t have FAI. The report said: “Degenerative changes in the right coxofemoral joint with articular space pinching and subchondral geodes in the acetabular roof. Showing thickening of the labrum (…) causing a posterior focal over coverage”. The physiatrist called it “a complicated hip” and told me that an easier way to explain my condition to others was to call it “arthrosis”. An osteopath called it “a labrum sickness”. Everyone said that the pain would never disappear completely but that it would lessen with proper treatment.

At first, I followed the protocol established by my medical insurance. The physiatrist prescribed me 10 sessions of rehab, which I did religiously. But these sessions weren’t personalized (there were 5 to 9 patients per physiotherapist!!) and only focused on strengthening the muscles around the hip. There were only a couple of sessions where the therapist would perform some manipulations to try to relieve the pain because I walked in with more pain than usual. I felt pain in my leg when doing some of the exercises, and after most of the sessions I ended up with more pain than before the session. Nobody paid attention to my quad cramps, which was my biggest pain. For that reason, I started to do my own research on the Internet, and I found the FAI Fix. I also found an osteopath who focused on relaxing the tightest muscles.

My main hesitation was that my diagnosis wasn’t FAI, and the price of the FAI Fix Program was a little high for just an ebook and a few videos. I considered buying the Healthy Hips Program, but I identified a lot with the symptoms described by people with FAI. I also figured that if the FAI Fix turned out to be too complex to me, then I could just create a “simplified” version of it, but I couldn’t create an “advanced” version of the Healthy Hips program. In the end, I used the FAI Fix without simplifying it.

Also, Matt and Shane gave very specific advice in their videos, which built my confidence in them. I liked the “muscular” focus of Matt and Shane because I felt that my problem was in the muscles – that’s what was truly hurting. I hoped that for the price of three sessions with the osteopath, I could find a definitive solution. Also I was attracted by the fact that I could do the FAI Fix on my own, without relying on attending physiotherapist sessions that didn’t seem to work anyway. So I bought the FAI Fix on January 7, 2017.

From the first day I started the program, I realized it was exactly what my body needed. I spent about one hour a day on it almost every day, and I always ended the session feeling much better, as opposed to what I felt after the unhelpful rehab sessions prescribed by the doctor. I can’t tell you when I initially noted a huge improvement in my daily life, but I believe it was approximately after the first month. Now it’s the end of March 2017 and my pain is thing of the past. I only feel a bit of discomfort in the quads on the occasional days where I don’t do the FAI Fix exercises, but I also am barely reminded of my hips and quads throughout the day. When I do feel some discomfort, I perform some of the exercises (the strengthening ones are very important!) and I quickly feel good again. Now I can walk as much as I like and play with my children, and I’m considering returning to doing “normal” exercises at the gym.

I would like to add that the combination of the FAI Fix program and the sessions with the osteopath focused on relaxing my tightest muscles. In January I attended three osteopath sessions, every other week. In February I attended two sessions. And now I only go once every month, to treat other issues. I know for sure that the massages from the osteopath have helped me, but I think most of the improvement came from following the FAI Fix every day. When I stop doing the exercises from the FAI Fix, I immediately notice a regression, but once I start doing them again, my improvement returns quickly.

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Greg B.

final greg bI started noticing hip pain after I returned from a 7 week trip to Thailand in the Spring of 2012, in which I was training 3 hours per session, of which there were two each day (total of six hours per day) for pretty much the entirety of the trip. I basically just dealt with the pain for about 2 years until it got so bad that I couldn’t sit for more than a couple minutes at a time without having to shift or stand up and stretch to get some relief. It then got to the point where the pain was so bad it would wake me up from a sound sleep. That’s when I decided to get it checked out by a doctor.

The doctor gave me an x-ray and referred me for an MRI – which revealed I had cam type FAI and a torn labrum with several small cysts in my left hip. It also revealed FAI in my right hip as well. He then referred me to a sports medicine doctor who told me the only way to treat FAI is with arthroscopic surgery. I then saw two orthopedic surgeons who both told me that arthroscopic surgery to shave the bone and repair the labrum was the only way I could be cured completely. They all said the FAI likely was derived either from a deformity of the bone from birth, or caused from repeated kicking which caused the head of the femur to “rub” against the acetabulum and become misshapen and ultimately led to the torn labrum. When I asked why I wasn’t experiencing pain in the right hip, he said it was only a matter of time until that hip was equally as bad as my left hip.

It was a really stressful time for me because I’m extremely active and had begun competing more regularly in Muay Thai, something I did not want to give up due to hip pain/surgery. And to hear that doing the very thing that I loved was what caused this pain that was making my life more difficult, only made it worse!  I wanted to explore all options prior to surgery, so I inquired about physical therapy, the surgeon reluctantly gave me a referral, basically telling me it probably wouldn’t help.

I did PT for about 12 weeks and drastically reduced my training intensity during that time. It definitely helped somewhat, but I felt the approach was so focused at my hip, which ultimately I learned, is the symptom of the root problem(s). It was during that time that I discovered you and Shane on the google machine, and began doing more and more research into non invasive treatments for FAI.  The main obstacle that would have prevented me from trying the FAI Fix was probably twofold:  First being the cost – at the time I was working part time in a bar and taking classes so I didn’t have too much money to be spending. That coupled with the fear that I was in a hopeless situation that could not be fixed without surgery. I didn’t want to spend the money on a program that wouldn’t actually help me. The free content you and Shane put out on YouTube put those fears to rest because I could clearly see you both had a wealth of knowledge on the topic and you both had been through the problems associated with FAI already. I then decided to “go for it” and purchased the FAI Fix. The content you put in the program, coupled with what you give out on YouTube, changed my perspective on the problem I was having. I began doing a lot more self massage, using tools like the foam roller, body back buddy, and my favorite – the lacrosse ball.

The self massage, along with various stretches and strengthening exercises learned from FAI Fix ultimately led me to where I am today. It greatly reduced the amount of pain and discomfort I deal with on a day to day basis. It has improved my condition to the point of being almost entirely pain free all the time, including during training Thai Boxing which I never thought was possible, able to sit as long as I like, sleep through the night, and have increased the range of motion in both my hips – I used to have to spend quite a while warming up my hips before even attempting to kick the pads at the gym or else I would have sharp pain in both my hips.  I can now kick higher and pain free with less warmup time.

Specifically I liked the TSR approach. I found it intuitive and have used it to address pain caused by muscular imbalances elsewhere in my body as well.

Three other benefits to the FAI Fix that others should know about are 1. Matt and Shane’s responsiveness to emails with questions about the program. 2. It can be done anywhere with minimal equipment/space. 3. If done consistently, over a reasonable amount of time, the FAI Fix WILL WORK.  There are enough exercises in the program that one can pick and choose several that work for him/her and create their own program to heal their body.

I think the most important takeaway for me from my experience, is that I still have a long way to go, but I WILL get there. There were several times throughout my experience with FAI that I would resolve the pain to the point of it being bearable, then stop doing the routine because it was too “time consuming.” The last few months I have been very consistent with my routine and have adjusted it accordingly when other tightness/issues arise due to training etc, and have seen noticeable results. Knowing that if I just stick with it, it will resolve fully, eventually – is extremely liberating.

It’s like you have said, we spend our entire lives developing deficiencies in the body through inefficient posture, improper form when doing certain exercises, sitting, texting, etc. It makes sense that it will take at least an equal amount of time correcting those deficiencies in order to resolve the pain associated with them. It truly is a lifelong process, one I look forward to 🙂

While people will most likely see immediate results, especially from tissue work, it will likely take some time (months or even years) to fully correct the pain associated with FAI.  The FAI Fix is a great resource to understanding how to address the pain and discomfort associated with FAI and I highly recommend it to anyone who has FAI!

I hope that wasn’t too long winded, and provided you with the majority of the information you were looking for. Again, thank you, Shane, and Josh for all the content and information you give to the public. It really has helped me get my life back and I’m sure it has and will continue to do so for others as well.


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Bill V.

bill V 1Just wanted to let you know that I’ve just started using your basic program (Track 1) and was blown away to realize immediate improvement.

A Little Back Story…

I first started noticing pain in my left hip probably almost two years ago.  Actually started as groin pain and I went to the doctor to get that check out, but other than confirming I didn’t have a hernia, no real diagnosis.  At the time I had recently completed a trail marathon and was still doing a fair amount of cross training with an eye towards doing a long course triathlon.  I signed up for the Louisville Ironman in the Fall of 2015, continued cross training through the winter, then started a formal ironman training program in the Spring of 2016.  Throughout the training, my hip bothered me, but as long as I trained at an easy pace running, and adjusted my saddle up and forward on the bike I was able to keep pain while exercising minimal.  After long runs, I’d have a deep ache in the hip at night, but the condition didn’t necessarily seem to be getting any worse.  I tried stretching (only seemed to aggravate it more), some pain meds (mainly ibuprofen after long runs), ice and ointments like Ben Gay.  Nothing really seemed to help much.  Worst pain of day was ironically putting my socks and shoes on.

After completing the Ironman, I ramped my training way down and largely stopped running.  Hip didn’t seem to improve much if at all.  Finally had x-rays taken and went to an orthopedic practice in January.  Was informed by the doctor (then got a second opinion from another with same diagnosis) that I had osteoarthritis in my left hip joint and that I should stop all high impact activities (running).  Okay to swim and cycle moderately.

After almost two months of completely ceasing running, the hip didn’t seem to be doing any better (putting on socks and shoes was just as painful).  I stumbled on your website after attempting to surf a couple weeks ago, but largely having to throw in the towel because it was just too painful to try to quickly go from prone to standing on the board.

Results With The FAI Fix

Although I was pretty skeptical due to my previous experience with stretching and long past experimenting with foam rolling (wasn’t doing it for hip pain at the time, just didn’t notice any benefit from it), I followed the troubleshooting guide and determined that I’m definitely the Course 1 (poor flexibility).  Had to work a little to find exercises and stretches that didn’t hurt too much, but was able to and started a basic tissue work, stretching and muscle activation program last week that takes me a little over an hour each morning.

After the first workout, I noticed that putting my sock and shoe on after a swim that afternoon didn’t really hurt (previous week it had been very painful).  Thought it might be coincidence, but for the next few days, the lack of pain continued.  I’m still very early in program (completed seventh workout this AM), but I’m definitely noticing that my flexibility with my hip seems to be continuing to incrementally improve.  I was able to cross my left leg over my right while sitting the other day – which sounds silly, but that’s literally the first time I’d been able to do that for a long time.

Thanks for your program!  I’m very hopeful that continued effort and experimentation will eventually get me back to full range of motion with the ability to continue in endurance sports for years to come,  but if I never progress beyond where I am right now, the improvement and pain relief I’ve already experienced will have been worth the cost of the program.

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Tony L.

TonyLuccaWebinarShotAll right, here goes with the testimonial. I wish I could say at the end that I’m fully healed, but I think it might be a while before I can say that and I’d like to share something for now. Maybe I can do an update down the road…

I’ve always been a very active person. I’ve played every sport imaginable but really focused on baseball and hockey. I was a catcher in baseball and a goalie in hockey, which is likely where some of my hip issues began.

After college, I stopped playing hockey after moving to a new city but I remained very active playing other sports, going to the gym, doing yoga, etc, and never had any major injuries. Somehow ten years went by before I finally snapped out of it and started to play hockey again. At that point I was in my early 30s and had lost much of the flexibility and mobility I’d had when I was younger so I knew in order to remain healthy I would need to focus more of my off-ice activity on training in goalie-specific ways.

A year or so into playing again, I started to experience a lot of pain in my left hip and groin. It was a creaky, achy pain accompanied by lots of popping and cracking, unlike anything I’d experienced before. As I was slowly getting more flexible through my off ice work, hip and groin injuries started to reveal themselves up until the entire left side of the joint froze. Almost all of the pain was in my upper groin but everything else felt extremely tight. My right side felt fine, but my left side began resisting all of my stretching and mobility work. My right side had always been more open than my left, but this was something different.

I started going to a PT who specialized in dry needling. We worked together for a few months trying to loosen up areas of my left hip that were completely frozen. The results were unremarkable so he referred me to a regenerative orthopedist who specialized in non-surgical approaches to issues like mine.

My time with him might be my biggest regret in that it was excessively expensive and yielded no results. I received multiple ultrasounds, injections, and other treatments with zero improvement. He recommended I get a MRI arthrogram and x-rays to confirm FAI. I did both and the conclusion was moderate FAI and a torn labrum. The recommendation from there was to jump up to the next level of injections (platelet rich plasma), which were going to be $1,000 a pop and not covered by insurance.

My frustration and helplessness at this point was overwhelming. I went home from that appointment and hopped back online looking for more options. That was when I found Matt and Shane.

Matt’s history as a hockey goalie resonated with me right away as did Shane’s past struggle with hip pain and how he improved his mobility so much that he’s able to do the splits (the dream of every hockey goalie). I bought the program and started in.

I tend to be overly organized so I created a spreadsheet with every exercise in their program. From there I created a series of three different programs each populated with different soft tissue, stretching, and reactivation exercises. I did each program for 4-6 weeks so I could become intimately familiar with each and learn the nuances of every exercise. I took notes after doing each program a few times and notes again after the 4-6 week period to track progress. After completing each of the three programs, I went back to identify the most effective exercises of each, and from there I created a series of three daily routines through which I now rotate.

I ended up taking six months off from hockey to really focus on my programs. I’d honestly say that during that time I was over treating myself, working out too often, and not listening to my body. The lack of progress became very frustrating and rather than back off, I pushed harder. I’d really banked on those six months being my healing period yet there wasn’t a whole lot to show for it by the end.

As the frustration grew, I continued to communicate with Matt and Shane, and they could not have been more supportive. I also read Stretching Scientifically, which helped guide me with how to stretch (dynamically, statically, and isometrically) and how to sequence the various other workouts I was doing throughout the week. It was during this time that I also began to really listen more closely to what my body was telling me rather than try to force it to heal. Shane and Matt have always been huge proponents of that, but I didn’t listen to that part in my early eagerness to expedite my healing.

Matt and Shane have continued to provide incredible guidance throughout the process, and they are there for all the small victories and frustrations. It’s easy to convince yourself that you’ll never fully heal especially when you have setbacks after making gains, but they are always there to adjust your trajectory and help troubleshoot.

I am coming up on the one year mark of doing the program and feel as though I am finally making some real progress. I started playing hockey again a few months ago and have noticed significant improvements on and off the ice, especially in my recovery time. It has been a slow road for me, and I likely slowed my recovery by pushing too hard and trying to force my recovery early on, but I do believe I’ll be pain free one day. My hip and groin still freeze up if I push too hard, but those times during which they feel more open than they have in years, tell me I’m on the right path.

My takeaway after a year is that this program really works if you are willing to put in the time, listen to your body, and are patient with yourself. I’ve gotta think that many of us in the FAI community have serious dysfunction and injuries that have led us to this point, so we need to accept that it can take a while to regain full functionality and unwind those old issues. The comforting thing to me is that the guidance we get from Matt and Shane is coming from two people who have worked their way through this themselves and have likely encountered all the issues we’ll ever be able to throw their way. I cannot thank them both enough for all of the time and guidance they’ve given me along the way, and I really look forward to updating this testimonial when I’m fully healed!

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Jeff P.

img_20170109_125110207The beginnings :

Before I found the FAI fix, I was facing surgery to shave down my CAM lesions. This seemed to be the last resort after an unsuccessful round of PT and just feeling helpless.

img_20170109_130255169I first began noticing the pain at age 23 after about a year of intro rock climbing. But at the time I thought it would just go away if I rest it and avoid irritating it. But it would only grow worse. At age 28 I tore my ACL in my left knee while skiing. The recovery from surgery was frustrating. My knee never seemed to quite heal properly and my hips were getting worse still.

My athleticism and enjoyment of sport was suffering due to the pain and discomfort in my hips, and it was killing me. I somehow lost tons hip function and it kept getting worse. Swinging a golf club (my first love) was becoming irritating, and I could no longer climb challenging bouldering problems without pain or feeling like I was making things worse. I wanted to get a stronger but exercise was irritating. And the aches were even showing up in daily life and seemed to be spreading to other joints like my low back. Walking didn’t feel right anymore and my pace was getting slower and slower.

I felt like I was falling apart quickly.
I felt like a 60 year old man at the age of 30.
I felt like anyone could easily knock me off balance by giving me a pat on the back.
I remember one time I was attempting to jump over a puddle, but then I had to bail just and go around it for fear of hurting myself. How depressing.

What I tried :

I intuitively felt like all my pains were connected and that I would slowly get worse and worse especially now that I had an injured knee. I saw some doctors and did a bit of online research. I was eventually diagnosed with FAI and offered what was considered “a relatively new surgery” to shave down my CAM lesions and fix any damaged cartilage. But luckily I was severely disenchanted with surgery in general seeing how poorly my ACL recovery was going. So I opted to try PT and to see what happens.

I tried physical therapy for about 6 weeks but I felt only minor relief from the program.
At one point I tried taking Meloxicam for a month in hopes it would break the cycle of inflammation. It didn’t work either. I felt really stuck and was close to considering surgery.

How I started recovering :

My recovery probably began when I found Matt and Shane’s videos on youtube. Their explanations of what is most likely going on with FAI clicked with me. But it took a bit of tinkering before I was able to truly convince myself their approach would work.

When I first started with the FAI fix, warrior positions in yoga were painful, the frog stretch was excruciating, the Cossack stretch was impossible. I couldn’t squat without falling over backwards. In fact almost all the exercises in the FAI fix were painful, uncomfortable or frustrating at first. But luckily the program has as great method of progressing, and with a diligent, daily, mindful, playful, practice, I slowly got better.

I discovered some stretches I could do at my standup desk at work. I took stretch and massage breaks during the day, and worked through a customized routine in the evenings. The FAI Fix program really helped me devise an evolving practice that fit my ever changing needs.

I really took to studying the art of human movement and treating recovery as a mastery of skill rather than a list of prescriptive exercises to follow.

How I feel today :

9 months after starting the FAI fix, I feel a ton better. I don’t even think about my hip aches anymore in daily life. I may not be a gymnast or expert level yogi yet, but now I can do things that shouldn’t be possible if a CAM impingement was the cause of my pain. For instance, I can work the frog stretch and the Cossack stretch now. I can even sit in Lotus now after a good round of hip openers.

I regularly deadlift and squat heavy now, and can almost do a proper pistol squat. I have no more pain during the golf swing and my swing speed has increased dramatically. My climbing has improved and I just feel like I am finally getting stronger, suppler, and more flexible. I no longer feel doomed from my bony circumstances. More importantly, I have a new love for movement and conditioning and feel confident I have the tools to maintain a strong mobile body deep into old age.

Thank you FAI Fix for bringing a unique evidence-based perspective on joint problems, and for discovering and creating solutions!

My opinions and keys to success :

-Only you can heal yourself. Treat everyone else as a consultant. Luckily Matt and Shane are best consultants I have ever found in any field. They have been amazing at answering my emails, providing motivation, and even helping me though some sticking points.
-Keep a journal.
-Awareness is key. Be mindful and focused, but also playful.
-Don’t rely on patience to see progress. Patience will inevitably wear off. Instead, focus on fun. Fun never wears off.
-Focus on the forest and the trees.
-When an exercise feels frustratingly hard, remember that you won’t feel the progress of today’s workout until tomorrow’s workout.
-You are practicing a skill instead of “busting out a workout.”
-Try to find ways to incorporate movement and exercises into your daily routines. For example, practice eating on the floor or checking your emails in pigeon pose. Get creative. “Always be mobilizing.”
-Think like a hunter-gatherer and get more movement, even study their movement. Get more outdoor time, better sleep, better nutrition, etc. (i.e. The basics).
-Never give up.

Favorite quotes:

“Don’t go into the pain cave” Kelly Starrett

“Before I learned the art, a punch was just a punch, and a kick, just a kick.
After I learned the art, a punch was no longer a punch, a kick, no longer a kick.
Now that I understand the art, a punch is just a punch and a kick is just a kick.” Bruce Lee

“It’s a lovely journey that just gets deeper as you go along!” Shane Dowd

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John H.

john-cyclist-fai-hip-painHappy new year! I’ve been wanting to send you an e-mail thanking you for all of the work you and Shane put into the FAI Fix program. The program helped me get my life back together.

My story: I’m an avid cyclist and cycling is an integral part of my life. In April 2014, I was making a (too) aggressive right-hand turn and lost it in some gravel. It was the first serious cycling accident of my life. Post-accident, my right hip did not feel right. It was painful to walk. I rested it for about a month and went to an orthopedist when it did not get better. He recommended PT. The PT was cookie-cutter with no root-cause analysis. In retrospect, some of the exercises the PT gave me were really counterproductive and made me feel worse. More time went by and I went to a chiropractor/sports rehabilitation specialist. He quickly recognized glute shutdown on the injured side. That was a good call, but the exercises he gave me seemed overly aggressive. After some plyometrics, I spiraled down into serious pain that interrupted sleep and led to a pain medication prescription from my primary care physician. The pain was so bad that I agreed to have an MRI arthrogram on my injured hip. I was stunned, quite frankly, when the results came in negative – no labral pathology. The orthopedist discussed “exploratory surgery” which scared the heck out of me. When I balked at that (and a guided cortisone injection), he recommended another PT. The last PT was certainly not cookie cutter. He tried many reasoned approaches, and I improved a bit, but I was certainly not ready to return to cycling.

Around Christmas of last year (2015), I discovered your web site. I really liked the detailed research that you brought to the table. It was also very reassuring to hear that you and Shane actually had serious hip issues and recovered well. You experienced these problems directly unlike a lot of the therapists that worked with me. At that point in my injury, I decided to give the FAI Fix program a shot. So last December, I purchased the program as my Christmas present. I had been periodically trying to get back on my indoor bike for exploratory rides, but the pain was still present. So I decided to stop forcing the issue with the bike and focus on the FAI Fix. I performed the exercises every day without fail for about three months before trying the bike again.

Throughout that time I saw slow improvement. In the beginning, to be perfectly honest, it was hard to see improvement. But gradually, week after week, I felt better. In early April of last year, I got back on the indoor bike and was encouraged. I gradually increased time on the indoor bike and tried some outdoor rides in the latter part of May. I could not believe that I was back on the road again. The thought of outdoor riding was completely out of the question earlier in the year. My goal then was simply to get out of pain. This last cycling season (2016), after the lost season of 2015, I was able to log 2850 miles on the road. I still can’t believe it.

When I speak to others about the FAI Fix program, I tell them how effective it is, and also tell them that it has given me tools that I continue to use daily. For me, the FAI Fix is not a one-time program to “get up and running” again. It is an integral part of my fitness regimen.

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Roo H.

rooaiki1-2I teach and practice Aikido, a martial art that involves rolling, falling, and knee-walking.

Beginning in 2010 (when I was living in Japan and practicing Shotokan karate as well as Aikido and Japanese swordsmanship) I was diagnosed with severe osteoarthritis in my left hip that eventually resulted in bone spurs and constant debilitating pain. I tried acupuncture, physical therapy, massage, Feldenkrais, and even excruciatingly painful prolotherapy, but it just didn’t get better, and I had the hip resurfaced in 2014.

Within 6 months of the surgery I started getting the same symptoms in my right side–the same way the left side had started to break down, including super tight hip flexors, painful impingement on outer hip rotation, and muscle pain/tightness in my quads. This time, though, I started rolling daily and doing stretches I found in the FAI fix.

In the summer of 2015, just after starting the FAI fix, I did a week-long Aikido camp. After four days of training, I couldn’t walk without limping and I had to stop taking falls. But I was, amazingly, able to recover within a week with rolling and stretching. I kept teaching Aikido and going to the boxing gym over the following fall, winter, and spring, and found that I could stay pretty mobile and pain-free as long as I was faithful about rolling and stretching every day.

At the week-long Aikido camp in 2016 I was able to train nearly every class for the whole camp, and didn’t even limp afterward. And then I took off on my international travels. I have managed to survive four months of car travel around the US, followed by nearly four months of travel around the globe. I did Aikido in most every place I stopped (from Tokyo to China to Mongolia, across Russia and into Europe, as far north as Oslo and as far south as Prague–it was a crazy trip), sometimes teaching seminars and training daily for several consecutive days, and I walked more than I thought possible. Thanks largely, I believe, to my thirty-minute daily stretching routine and rolling as much as possible, I have stayed mobile, if not pain-free.

I should add, I guess, that I think that my diet also helps me stay out of pain–I generally stay away from refined sugar and flour and eat whole foods. I notice that when I stray, I really feel it in my body–both a drop in my energy levels (which are vital for keeping up with stretching, rolling, etc) and increased joint pain. Not to complicate the picture too much, but I feel it’s worth a mention.

Thank you for putting together this program and for all your help!

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