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Heaviness and weakness in the legs

Discussion in 'Hip Replacement Pre-Op Area' started by rider1960, Nov 26, 2011.

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  1. rider1960

    rider1960 Post-Grad

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    My legs seem to be getting gradually weaker and heavier feeling ... especially over the last couple of weeks. I'm OK until after I walk 300 feet or so ... then after that it seems like I have to kind of force my legs to move forward as I walk. When I sit down, my legs just breathe a sigh of relief. I've tried to do some leg lifts, hoping to strengthen the legs, but the leg muscles feel so worn out and just don't want to do this. My worst leg is also aching more.

    Please tell me that this will improve after the surgery ...
  2. Jaycey

    Jaycey Moderator

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    Yes this will improve post-op. But unfortunately it may get worse in the run up to your surgery. As your hip gets worse and worse muscles atrophy.

    I remember trying to do leg lifts just pre-op. There was so much noise coming from my bad hip - and the pain was horrid!

    Are you taking anything for this pain?
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  3. rider1960

    rider1960 Post-Grad

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    I'm taking ibuprofen with alternating tylenol round the clock, and an occasional percocet when the leg is aching a lot, usually in the evening after I've been on my feet too much that day.

    What strikes me as so odd about this is that last night I felt like my legs weighed 100 pounds each ... this morning they feel MUCH lighter ... but are feeling a heavier as the day wears on and I'm doing things.

    This whole hip thing is so weird--it goes well beyond basic pain for me. I remember how scared I was when I first noticed increasing weakness. I was so afraid I was going to be wheel chair bound. This is SO weird! I want to trade in my hips for new ones ... Hey, that's what I'm doing! I just wish it were as simple as going to the auto parts store ... ha ha!
  4. Jaycey

    Jaycey Moderator

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    Hey - there's an idea! Snap on new hips and knees! :th_heehee: Let's get the medics working on this one!
  5. welshjane

    welshjane Senior

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    Hello Rider, I do empathise with your heavy, exhausted legs. Mine are the same, and seem to have got suddenly worse in the run up to surgery (on Tues 29th). It's as if the hips know what's about to happen and have just given up! I'm a long distance walker, and I've seen my walking distances steadily diminish - can now only walk very slowly and not uphill at all. Glad to have Jaycey's explanation. Thanks, Jaycey!
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  6. Poppet

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    Hey Welshjane

    Soon that bone on bone pain will be gone and WILL be a distant memory as you marvel in the strong new bionic hip you will be getting.

    Same for you Rider, I so remember saying leading up to the surgery this is just getting worse by the minute...

    Not for long formthe two of you, hang in there :)
  7. haldox

    haldox Post-Grad

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    Yes post op these things will improve but it will take some time. I dont know if I would worry about strengthening exercises right now but some gentle stretches would feel nice.
  8. rider1960

    rider1960 Post-Grad

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    Thanks everyone. I'm trying to do what I can because I really do get afraid I'm going to get so weak that my recovery will be worse. I can do more in the pool so I can at least keep the range of motion better. The water in the pool helps lift my leg for me, but I still have to be careful I don't do too much or I will feel worse. It's hard to know, but I'm learning my limits the more I screw up and do too much.
  9. Jaycey

    Jaycey Moderator

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    Your recovery won't be worse if you don't exercise rider. It will take time to rebuild muscle tone post-op no matter how hard you work now. For now try and stay as comfortable as you can. Don't do anything that "sets off" more pain. It's just not worth it.
  10. Josephine

    Josephine Forum Admin and Mother Hen Administrator

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    You ladies are baffling me big time - second one today with this mind-set! You've been told your hip is trashed and yet you still expect to be able to make it better with exercise? Why is that? You're not going to make it better, only worse. Right now that hip needs rest and tender loving care because it's sick! Sure do stuff that exercises the rest of your body - core exercises, upper body strength and cardio stuff. But leave the hip out of it - completely.

    Let me tell you that all you risk by this is a pain storm. My sister's been through two of these (one knee and one hip) where she had to be ambulanced into hospital and put on a morphine drip, she was in that much pain. She didn't learn her lesson first time around and did exactly the same for the hip. It's not an easy thing to get but trust me, you don't want to run the risk.
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  11. plinej

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    I can relate. I think half of the denial process comes from the fact that so much of the pain/discomfort is so hard to define! And for me it all comes and goes to some extent! I have a lot of my issues in my muscles (pain, achy feeling, etc.) so I feel like if I just do something different with those muscles I can compensate and make my hip issues go away!!! Also, hitting the magic 50+ mark, I sometimes worry that if I lose those muscles and mobility it won't come back! Much of my PT, prior to the surgery decision was built around hip exercises (side stepping, clams, side lunges, etc) so trying to sort out what is good muscle retaining exercise and what should be avoided is somewhat hard ( In my exercise class I can do most exercises quite easily - mostly squats, pilates, yoga moves, hand weights, but the stretching at the end which should feel good just kills me!!).
  12. girlienerd

    girlienerd Member

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    Rider I sure do understand your pain. My surgery is Tuesday and every day of this month since I have decided to go forward with surgery my hip has gotten worse and worse. It's as though it knows its days are numbered and the last few days have been completely debilitating. Those that have lived with that harsh harsh pain for a long time before seeking help, I just don't know how they did it. The best of luck Rider in your pre-op time!
  13. stan794

    stan794 Member

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    I know where your coming from with this. I still try to keep as fit as i can. Lots of upper body stuff and core. For me legs i just do some gentle squats and reverse lunges (just bodyweight) as far down as i can get before the pain starts, i find this helps but still have bad days when its just to sore to attempt.
  14. rider1960

    rider1960 Post-Grad

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    Jo, you are right. I really do have to watch it. I've gotten so much worse over just the past couple of weeks that it's scary. For me to send my horses off to be boarded ... things have to be bad! So, I do think I should cool it.

    I'm also thinking like plinej that I need to keep some strength or I'm not going to be able to build it back up ... or at least it will be more difficult to do so. Is there a website or other information about exercises I CAN do safely until surgery. I know I can lift handweights, but is there anything I can do with the bad leg--maybe isometrics.

    My low back is starting to spasm up when I walk too. I'm sure it's because it's compensating so much for the hips. This is SO hard to deal with.

    A friend asked me today if I was sure having the hip replacement was going to make me better ... like "are you sure this is what is wrong with you" (question mark still not working on my keyboard). She keeps saying things like "I (meaning herself) ache when I do too much or can't move well when I first get up out of bed or out of a chair after I've been sitting for a long time." I just told her that what I feel is completely different from that ... and I'm WAY past that point.

    I know she is worried that I'll have this surgery and find out afterwards that it didn't fix anything, like when I had the hysterectomy earlier in the year. I told her that this will fix my left hip (which I'm sure needs to be replaced) ... but that I will probably have to have the right one replaced in the future ... and I will have to continue to have my back problems addressed medically by the pain clinic. But, although I have some other problems going on, the left hip is what is stopping me in my tracks. And, it was confirmed to be the big problem by the injections I had in it that helped temporarily. I tell you, when the lidocaine mixed with the steroid numbed the hip joint ... I almost felt ... well ... normal!!!!! It was amazing. So, yes, I'm sure the left hip needs to be replaced.

    Why do people have such a hard time understanding that this isn't just mild arthritis pain and stiffness that goes away after you move around a bit.

    I was also told by my brother today about someone he knew fractured her hip and had "a replacement" and was sent home the next day and lives alone and did just fine ... as if I'm a wimp because I will have to stay in the hospital for a few days and am planning to go for a short rehab stay. First, I really doubt the woman had a full hip replacement; probably a repair of the existing hip ... but then that even seems like a short hospital stay for a fractured hip ... so she might have even had something else going on that wasn't as severe as a full fracture and he doesn't have the real story.

    Why do people not get it!!!!! People can be so frustrating!! Thank goodness I have this board! You folks are my saving grace. :)
  15. Josephine

    Josephine Forum Admin and Mother Hen Administrator

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    People frequently don't have the full story yet still delight in trotting out these la-la tales like they are gospel!

    As for this
    I already told you the answer to that here
  16. Jamie

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    Rider....remind me again why you must wait until March for your surgery....I was thinking it was because of your horses and now you say you are boarding them out. Can you move the date up?
  17. C Mac

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    Hi Rider,

    Well, they aren't really exercises but I was told to do the minimal movements that you'll start to do immediately after surgery prior to my surgery. I can't remember if they had special names but essentially you flex and point your feet back and forth about 20 times, tighten and relax your quadriceps muscles in both legs and tighten and relax the gluteus muscles in your buttocks. These will be super easy now before surgery and that gets your brain in the "habit" of doing them so that when you are in the recovery room and the nurse asks for these movements you'll start them there and continue for the next month or so!

    I also did some triceps exercises in preparation for crutches as I'd never been on crutches before and thought it might be difficult.

    I had to wait a few months before my surgery as well and just did some easy stuff at the gym a couple times a week to try to keep things in good working order -- especially my worried brain... In the end I was amazed at how stiff and weak I was after the surgery but that had nothing to do with my fitness level going in -- it had to do with the lack of activity and precaution restrictions coming out. Now, five months on the other side, much of the flexibility has returned and the stamina is coming along as well. It is a bit of a process but you'll learn to celebrate the most amazing tiny milestones after the new hip is installed!!

    Do what you can but don't beat yourself up -- physically or mentally...
    Take care,
    Cardie
  18. GrandyGirl

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    Hi Everybody,

    I am scheduled to have a RTKR on Jan. 13th and I can so relate to what you are saying. Day by day, I am getting worse and by the time they roll me into surgery, I may be in a wheelchair. I bought a cane today. I'm dusting off my crutches and wheelchair tomorrow so I will be prepared if I need them.

    I already have 2 artifical hips and on a much more positive note I can tell you that what you are experiencing is very much par for the course. Your hips just need to be replaced now and until they are, things are going to be pretty challenging. But you will make it, one step at a time...one day at a time. Simplify your life and focus on a better day beyond this pain. You will be amazed at how much better you will feel. ALL of that nasty, nagging pain in your hip joint will be gone.

    If I didn't know this to be true, there is no way on earth I would consider having another joint replacement. I am willing to risk my life on the possibility that there will be brighter days ahead because I know this to be very possible and true.

    We both just have to Hang in there until our surgery date!! Keep posting:thumb:

    Doris
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  19. Poppet

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    Hi GrandyGirl

    What an excellent post, thank you, not only for those in the waiting room, but also for all who are starting their journey of post op.

    Thanks again and I wish you much success with your RTKR in January.
  20. rider1960

    rider1960 Post-Grad

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    Thank you everyone!!

    This is definitely a challenging time in my life. I've had challenging and difficult times when I was a caregiver for my mother--she was sick for a couple off and on for a couple of years and that had its challenges. This is the first time I've ever faced anything this difficult for myself and my own health. I really appreciate all your well wishes, inspirational stories, advice, support ... the list goes on ... it means so much!

    Jamie, you are right--the surgery was delayed till March because of my horses. Then, as I keep getting worse the horses are going to be boarded out soon. I just made this decision recently and the medical offices have been closed for the Thanksgiving holiday weekend, so tomorrow will be the first day I can call to find out how soon I can get rescheduled. When originally called to schedule the surgery a couple of weeks ago, she told me that the earliest date was the end of January. I'm hoping the schedule hasn't booked a lot in those two weeks so I can still get in end of January. I'll know more in a few hours when I can call the office. I'll be sure to post an update.

    I hate to whine like this ... I really do--I've always been pretty tough and resilient, but this really has me in a bad state that I've never experienced in my life previously. Thanks again for all your support.
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