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  1. PLEASE NOTE THAT ONE RECOVERY THREAD ONLY IS PREFERRED. PLEASE DON'T START ADDITIONAL THREADS ABOUT YOUR RECOVERY.

4 weeks post-op from an anterior hip replacement

Discussion in 'Hip Replacement Recovery Area' started by wipurplechick, Sep 27, 2010.

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  1. wipurplechick

    wipurplechick Junior Member

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    Hello, everyone-I am delighted to have found this site today! I am 4 wks post surgery for an anterior total hip replacement. The surgery went well and I have been getting stronger every day.
    Because it was an anterior method, the tendons and muscles were all pushed/pulled out of the way to replace the joint. As a result, I have more muscle pain than anything else-which is normal, according to my great surgeon (who was a physical therapist prior to becoming an ortho surgeon!). The hip feels good and it is a pleasure not to have the constant pain I had prior to surgery.
    I am questioning my recovery-somehow, I feel as though I should be progressing faster than I am. I am using a cane but don't but a lot of weight on it-more for balance-yet, when I try to go without it, I find myself hobbling. Is there anything I should be doing to enhance my progress?
    As for stairs-I have read that the cementless joint needs to adhere into my body, so I am wondering if anyone knows whether there is a definitive timeline (3 mos.? 4? ??) before I should attempt normal stair climbing?
    I am 55 years old and am overweight, but have been walking and working out prior to surgery. Not in the best shape, but not a quitter.
    Any suggestions would be appreciated.
    Thanks so much.

    wipurplechick
    "If I must get wrinkles, please let them be laugh lines!"
     
  2. Josephine

    Josephine Forum Admin and Mother Hen Administrator

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    Hello, wipurplechick, and welcome to BoneSmart. I moved your post into a thread of its own because new topics tend to get lost in an established thread.

    Well, four weeks is still extremely early in your recovery. I know anteriors are supposed to be a "quick recovery" op, but it's not altogether true. Actually the ligaments and muscles are pulled aside for all approaches to the hip, it's just that there are fewer of them in the anterior approach. Therefore, you need to plan on being in recovery for another 6-8 weeks and not expect any earlier return to normal or get disappointed that it will take that long.

    As for the weight bearing, didn't your surgeon give you any advice or restrictions? Generally there are two rules

    1. Not to exceed 90 degrees of bend for the first 6 weeks to reduce the risk of dislocation
    2. to be partially or non weight bearing also for about 6 weeks to allow the bone to grow into the implant

    But not all surgeons require these. I suggest you ring your doctor's office and ask what your restrictions should be, if any. Using stairs is not, so far as I am aware, part of any restrictions so long as you have been taught by a PT how to negotiate them properly.

    So what are you doing about your pain? Are you still taking pain meds by the clock?

    I would suggest that you read these threads to get more information about pain management

    Pain management and Jo's pain chart
    How Long Does Healing Take ......
    Elevating your leg to control swelling and pain
    Myth busting: on getting addicted to pain meds
    Post op blues is a reality - be prepared for it

    So basically you are doing just fine and your progress is about right for 4 weeks. Don't let yourself fall into the trap of 'shoulds' and 'oughts'. Your body will pretty much tell you how you are doing and has it's own agenda and clock. There's very little we can do to hasten recovery but there is a lot we can do to hamper it. Don't be in too much of a hurry. You just need rest now and lots of it.

    Keep posting and letting us know how you are.

    btw, I love that quote at the bottom of your post.
     
  3. wipurplechick

    wipurplechick Junior Member

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    Thanks for the assistance and for moving my post to its own thread. Much appreciated.
    Yes, my surgeon and PT (inpatient) went over restrictions-basically, only one: not bending over 90 degrees for the first 6 weeks. I was given no weight bearing restrictions, though-told to progress as tolerated-which is why I was so happy to find this site.
    I am planning to talk to my doctor's nurse tomorrow to ask about the foot over foot stairs, and I'll ask about the cane use at that time, too.
    I have been weaning myself off the narcotic pain meds. Most of the day, tylenol alone is sufficient. Towards evening, after a day of exercise, etc., I start feeling it more and usually take one tylenol 3 w/ codeine; which works fine.
    I find myself doing a few things -folding laundry, cooking a meal, etc., and then have to sit and relax. My stamina is increasing-slowly-but I know I have to expect that.
    For exercise, I'm doing all my in-home exercises (with and without resistance bands), leg lifts, and, of course, walking. I walk about 1/3 mile 3 times a day, with my cane.
    After reading your post and thinking about things, I think I'm just impatient-I want to be better NOW! so I can go and enjoy my new hip! LOL! I have been in a bit of a funk, thinking I'm behind where I should be-yet when I think about all the trauma this body has been through--well, it's amazing!
    I'm going to go and check out your suggested threads. Thanks for all your good comments and guidance-they are wonderful.

    wipurplechick
    "If I must get wrinkles, please let them be laugh lines!"
     
  4. Josephine

    Josephine Forum Admin and Mother Hen Administrator

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    Well, that's all good. But if they gave you weight as tolerated instructions, then you can do just that. Don't worry about the bone bonding with the prosthesis. Your weight bearing will actually assist with that.

    But as for the foot over foot stairs? No - not just yet. You stick with the one foot at a time for the time being. As things start to heal you will gradually find yourself able to do more and will manage to try one or two stairs normally. But don't push it. It can cause a lot of pain if you try and do it too soon. Your body will let you know when.

    And I understand about the wanting to be healed 'now'!
    It's like that old saying "Lord give me patience - but give it to me NOW!!"
     
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  5. Jamie

    Jamie Administrator

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    Hi, wipurplechick....welcome to BoneSmart.

    I think you are doing just great!!! One thing I'll encourage you to do, though, is to keep using your cane until you are able to walk without any limp or wobble. If you stop too soon, it can slow your ability to get a proper gait back. You'll know when it's time to stop using your cane....you'll just "forget" to bring it along when you take off from one room to another.

    Keep up the great recovery and do try hard on the patience thing. We are all anxious to get on with it, but our bodies are the ones REALLY in charge of the healing process.
     
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  6. hipalong

    hipalong Member

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    Hello,
    I am 4 weeks out too, i know what it is like to be impatient about getting on with life normally. I am very lucky to have a husband who is not letting me do anything i shouldn't and a lot of things I could, because he knows what I am like!! I am covering about the same amount of ground as you a day and trying to make it a little further everyday. I am still using 2 crutches whilst I am outside and one indoors, although I have walked a few paces on my own a few times too. I think I might have been down to one by now if it wasn't for the fact that my other hip is useless. In fact i need the support more for the other leg than the operated one which feels very strong. My implant is also uncemented and I was determind to make it upstairs the evening I was discharged(there's nothing like your own bed is there?) i'm putting two feet on each stair both up and down, although this morning I found myself finishing the last two stairs with one foot each step!! So you seem to be doing fine in the recovery stakes according to me!!!!! not that that has to mean anything!!!! So keep up the good work, and don't ever think you are doing to little or I will have to step up the pace too and for some random reason I have been totally shattered today all day so it's an early night for me!
    happy recovering, Jenny
     
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  7. wipurplechick

    wipurplechick Junior Member

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    Hi-I wanted to give an update as I am nearing the end of my 4th week.

    I spoke with my surgeon a few days ago and he told me I have only the one restriction (no bending past 90 degrees until 6 wks.). He also emphasized that I am not going to hurt the new joint unless I take a bad tumble, which helped set my mind at ease.

    I think a part of me thought that I would be compromising the new joint if I did the foot over foot stairs, etc. He said that I needed to listen to my body and realize that some muscle pain is to be expected when I do things....but know when to say when. (Gee, where have I heard that before, huh??? HERE, of course-from all you lovely folks!!) So, even though I won't hurt the joint, I am listening to my body so I don't set myself back by overdoing it too much! (this is difficult sometimes, as I want to GO!)

    The funny thing is, within a day of talking to him, I took off from the kitchen without my cane and didn't even realize it (just as Jamie said would happen)...until I reached my lazy boy recliner in the living room! I am now walking 99% of the time without the cane. My emphasis is watching my gait-I notice that, towards evening, as I tire, I need the cane, because I start limping--so I use it. I don't think of it as a weakness; rather, I think of it as a useful aid that keeps me from backsliding and doing too much.

    Walking wise-I am lengthening my walking time-I was walking about 1/3 of a mile 3 times a day-now, I have doubled that-2/3 of a mile 3 times a day.

    I told my surgeon that I have been doing some "marching" exercises, basically walking or standing in place and raising my knees to 90 degree angles. He said that is an excellent exercise and helps prepare the muscles for foot over foot stairs. If you are worried about raising your knees too far, put your hand out in front of you at the level you want to hit, and work toward raising your knee to slap your hand. It has helped me regain a lot of strength and balance. But do it carefully; you need to be able to balance solidly to do this.

    I am just starting to do some foot over foot stairs, but am not putting all my weight on the operated leg yet--and that's ok--it will come...Jenny (hipalong) I am very proud of you! You are doing so great with those-and with your progress as a whole! I am happy to hear about all your accomplishments.

    I believe the post op depression for this surgery is a very real thing--and, I have dubbed it the "Four Week Funk"--because it hit me around 4 weeks post-op, when I felt good enough to be doing things but not good enough to be doing things at the speed I wanted to do them!

    I think it's very interesting that the joint itself is pain free-almost all my discomfort comes from muscles and the femur--at least, that's the way it feels to me. Are others out there experiencing the same thing? I have to say, having no hip joint pain is a blessing. I am amazed at the smoothness of the joint movement (love it!).

    Well, time to go do my exercises and start walking. Oh, one last thing--I started some bench exercises yesterday and found that just laying flat on the exercise bench is a great way to stretch out all those leg muscles. It's a form of traction and ensures that I'm totally flat. Hopefully that will minimize adhesions and help me ensure I don't limit my range of motion.

    THANKS so much for all your encouragement and comments. I love the input!


    wipurplechick

    "If I must get wrinkles, please let them be laugh lines!"
     
  8. Jaycey

    Jaycey Moderator

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    wipurplechick, I just caught up with your thread. You are doing amazingly well for the four week mark. And just as Jamie and Jo say - you will start doing things without planning them. Like the stairs and leaving the cane. Things just start to fall into place.

    The stamina thing is something you really need to be patient with. As you say your body has been through alot. What worked for me was planning in recovery time after a big activity. Like your first real shopping trip. Go and enjoy it - then plan on resting the next day. Build up your strength gradually.

    Hang in there! You are doing fine. Please keep us updated!
     
  9. Josephine

    Josephine Forum Admin and Mother Hen Administrator

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    This is 90 degrees - also known as a right angle - at the hip.

    [​IMG]
     
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  10. Jamie

    Jamie Administrator

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    Purple....you definitely have the right idea with this recovery thing!!! Whooo hooo! And your doctor, well....he gets a BoneSmart Gold Star!!! He's a keeper.

    You are doing so well and I am proud of you too! Keep posting with the updates. It's a real day-brightener.
     
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