Training with a Coxa Profunda

So since it’s been a short 8 months since my last post, I thought it time that maybe I should actually contribute some content to my own blog. I apologise to my millions readers out there who have been waiting for so long for my razor sharp insights into the world of fitness. Hopefully the below post will slake your thirst for now…

A couple of years ago I discovered that I have a pathological hip problem called a coxa profunda. Essentially it means that the leg bone (femur) is jammed into the hip socket (acetabulum) and the net result is that I have limited hip mobility, particularly in extension, and internal/external rotation.

I always knew that I was very inflexible in the hips, even when I was a small child and couldn’t figure out why all the other kids could sit on the floor with their legs crossed yet I could not.

As got more and more into strength training, I realised (all too slowly, but more on that later) that I was not able to get into good positions in basic movements like squats and deadlifts. No matter how hard I tried, I could not sit in the bottom of a squat or pick up something from the ground without rounding my back.

I herniated two discs in my back due to horrendous form in the squat and took almost 2 years off training as I was so terrified of a repeat injury. The poor form was down to a lack of understanding of good movement and very, very tight hips.

I experimented with some stretching to help the problem, but nothing really helped. Then in 2010 I started getting some hip pain, went to see a physio who referred me to a doctor. The doc x-rayed my hips and told me about the coxa profunda.

His advice was to give up training and go swimming, a depressingly familiar diagnosis for people the world over who receive medical advice from practitioners with no experience of the weight room or training.

This was clearly not acceptable, so I set out to devise a strength and conditioning program that would not only keep me healthy, but get me stronger. I am literally knocking on wood while I write this, but up to now the program has worked very well. While I am not about to set any world records, I am stronger than I have ever been and have suffered no repeat problems with my hip.

I am going to follow this post up with a series of short articles on how I structure my training to meet my specific needs. Please note that this is absolutely not intended as a template for anyone else with a similar condition. These are the things that work for me based on my own personal experience.

Stay tuned for part 2 which will be about the foundation of all good movement – mobility.

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5 responses to “Training with a Coxa Profunda

  1. Jon – I recently (January) had my left hip arthroscopically repaired for the damage that the coxa profunda had done to my inner hip socket over the years. What a difference this has made for me. The following day after surgery they had me in physical therapy and riding a bike. I’m doing very well. Looking forward to getting the other hip fixed. One thing the doctor found was that I was one step away from being “bone on bone”. I know it is most important to have the right surgeon doing the surgery though.

    Good luck to you!

  2. Thanks for the comment. That’s great to hear that you have had successful surgery. I was told that I will eventually need to have a hip replacement. Hopefully my training will help me to stave that off for as long as possible!

  3. Hi Jon,
    Minutes ago a very senior and world recognizes OS sent me an email dx me with coxa profunda. Now I found your posts. In February 2011 I was diagnosed with left hip OA. Now I know the cause, and reason for symptoms in my other hip.
    I’m 37 with a 20 year history of working out: weights in high-school, track in university, kickboxing and grappling in my 20s, and after 30 I was working on a serious career in running. Don’t say this to impress, just explain my background.
    Thanks for your post. Will read with earnestness. Like you, I’ve been told hip replacement (resurfacing) is in my future. But trying to figure out how to train with this problem in the meantime.
    Woundering if you have any knee pain caused by this?
    Jeremy in
    Toronto

    • Hi Jeremy,
      Thanks for the comment.
      Everything depends on your movement options and how you feel. The one thing that I cannot emphasise enough is mobility. You need to do a ton of hip and ankle mobility work to keep your movement options as open as possible.
      I have never had any knee pain, which is quite surprising considering how tight my hips are and it is only in the last 12 months that I have really done any mobility work. Having said that, I have never been into running. We get tons of people in the gym with knee problems from running, and they have decent mobility but crappy form. I think running is a high risk activity for those with a coxa profunda, and personall focus more on resistance training and metabolic conditioning.
      Best of luck with the training and I hope you find something that helps.

  4. Hi Jon,
    Believe it or not, I actually have exceptional flexibility with internal and external rotation despite the dx. The only area where I have little flexibility is in the side straddle splits; in kickboxing could only kick to the ribs never higher. Not sure why this would lead to OA as no one walks with their legs stretched out to the side! Maybe I need a second opinion based off more than x-rays. Anyway, I agree with the running — it’s obviously not recommended for OA either. I don’t plan on doing a lot, just a bit.

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