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Riding a stationary bike after surgery

Discussion in 'Hip Replacement Recovery Area' started by rider1960, Dec 5, 2011.

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  1. rider1960

    rider1960 Post-Grad

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    I'm going to have the >90 degree restriction for 6 weeks (posterior approach), but I'm thinking I can ride a stationary bike without breaking that as long as the seat is adjusted the correct height and I get on the easiest side.

    I'm planning ahead because my surgery will be in the dead of winter in upstate NY and I need to do something inside to get some good aerobic exercise in addition to the leg and hip exercises the PT will have me doing.

    Are any of you riding a stationary bike? If so, how soon after surgery did you start and how did it go? Is your surgeon and PT OK with your doing this exercise?

    I will definitely clear it through my surgeon and PT before I start, but I want to purchase it before I have the surgery and want to get some info from those who are using this as a form of exercise afterwards. I'm thinking of a recumbent bike because I have back problems too.
  2. Steve_Marlow

    Steve_Marlow Member

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    Hi Rider, do talk to your PT.

    I did use a static bike during my period with restrictions but only steadily.

    Pre-op I used a static bike a lot to build up strength and flexibility, but I couldn't use a recumbent because I couldn't raise my knees high enough. Makes me think the risk of breaking the 90 deg rule will be greater with a recumbent.

    Do check with your PT, you may just have to do that hard thing and be patient for a while. In time you will use a recumbent without any problems as I now can.

    Good Luck
    Steve
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  3. alexthecat

    alexthecat Forum Advisor

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    I started using a stationary bike four weeks after my THR. That was my PT's recommendation. He did emphasize that I needed to use an upright bike and not a recumbent, as the recumbent would have violated the 90-degree restriction. So, I agree with Steve on that and also on his recommendation that you clear it with your PT (or OS) before you start using the bike.
  4. rider1960

    rider1960 Post-Grad

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    Thanks for the info. Maybe I need to slow down and be prepared to be more patient and accept that things might go slow at first ...
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  5. NH_Lou

    NH_Lou Member

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    Hi Rider. I was able to ride a stationary bike about 2 weeks after my surgery. That was due to the approach and the fact that I had no restrictions. However, I would discuss any exercises you want to do with your PT and/or OS. You may also want to take a close look at Josephine's chart on the "energy drain" after surgery. Aerobic exercise may be a tall order so soon after your procedure and you don't want to do anything that can set you back. My PT is giving me a lot of endurance leg exercises to do daily. I did them and a 20 min. walk yesterday morning and was completely gassed by noon.

    Last week, I asked my PT about being able to do push-ups again and was told to only do "girlie" (sorry ladies) push-ups for now.

    Think of your recovery more as a marathon.
  6. Josephine

    Josephine Forum Admin and Mother Hen Administrator

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  7. Jetlag

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    Hey Rider -

    I did some time on an upright stationery bike not too long after surgery - as you and everyone else have emphasized .... being careful not to violate any of the restrictions. Just had to raise the seat a couple of clicks higher than I would normally ride. I did not peddle very hard or fast, just enough for some medium stretching and to get the muscles & joints working. All went well and the new hip moved nice & smoothly. I even have a short video of this ride over on my post-op thread. "Jetlag......"

    If you don't mind my asking .... where in Upstate NY are you from ? I live in Chicago area now but grew up in Lake George.

    Good luck & have fun biking.

    Kevin
  8. Poppet

    Poppet Honourary Moderator

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    Hi,

    I use the foot bicycle that Jo's Sister Jean recommended.

    Don't have to climb on, just sit in my ortho chair and peddle away... Doesn't break any restrictions, great invention.
  9. sharonann

    sharonann Member

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    Hi

    My PT recommended using a static bike a few weeks after surgery - the upright kind.

    I had to have the seat higher than normal so I didn't break the 90 rule & also put the tension on low so I didn't put any pressure against the hip - just getting the hip moving again really.

    A few weeks after that when my PT was satisfied that I could relax the 90 rule I was allowed to put up the tension bit by bit to work the muscles more & also lower the seat so that I was getting to 95 -100 degrees.

    However you must take your own PT advice about exercising as everyone requires different strategies - what works for one may not work for another.

    Good luck
  10. plinej

    plinej Member

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    Rider, my thoughts exactly! I was going to ask Santa for a bike for Christmas. I live in Northern Michigan so same issues with the snow and cold and I am thinking that a bike would be more fun than the treadmill that is in our basement. Or maybe a mix. My surgery is on the 12th so I am thinking that relaxing over the holidays and plan my exercise routine for January sounds reasonable (doing the PT as directed over the holiday)
  11. rider1960

    rider1960 Post-Grad

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    Kevin/Jetlag--I'm near Binghamton, quite a ways from Lake George. That area is beautiful, though! What a great area to grow up in! I have horses and have always wanted to take my horse up there trail riding. There is a state park trail system with horse camping facilities called Lake Luzerne. After I get my hips good to ride, I'll get there ...

    Jo, thanks for the exercise ideas. Going for walks would be great, but like plinej I'm not going to be able to go outside for walks because there will be snow, cold, and ice until at least the beginning of April, so I will have to get creative with inside exercises. Maybe I will have to get an upright bike rather than my plan of a recumbant bike, although I saw this one caled a semi-recumbant on the Walmart website. I have some back problems and a recumbant bike works better because it has back support. What do you all think about this one? The woman riding it doesn't seem to be going farther than 90 degrees? Or, I could start with an upright bike--maybe a used one from CraigsList and then get the recumbant bike later?????

    http://www.walmart.com/ip/Exerpeutic-Space-Saver-Recumbent-Bike-with-Pulse/15657479

    Thanks!

    Dorothy
  12. C Mac

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    Hi Rider,

    I like your thinking here -- in this message! Your goal in the first month after surgery is to let your hardware bundle get started on settling into your bones. At my pre-op class we were told that bone in-growth takes about 2 years but that the most stability occurs within the first 2 weeks after surgery. The goal is not to mess up what has just been installed through your skin, muscle, tendons, ligaments, capsule and bone. This isn't just a little walk in the park, this is a surgery that most of us never want to have to contemplate again.

    It is a bit dull being home recuperating after the surgery. I spent time walking back and forth through my little house and looking out windows for 5 weeks, until my follow-up appointment. I found it necessary to make little "schedules" in order to not go a bit stir-crazy -- things like, "I'll do my exercises at 10:00 and 2:00" "I'll spend some time reading the newspaper in the family room in the a.m. and lie down to read for a few hours after lunch." Trust me you will get to that exercise bike but that really should not be a part of your plan during the first month...

    I don't mean to be a downer, since everyone else seems so keen on the exercise bike, but I just don't want to see you whip up a crisis for yourself...

    Take care,
    Cardie
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  13. DallasSarah

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    Cardie.....SEE you always give great logical advice! I appreciate you for this thank you!!
  14. Belphegor

    Belphegor New Member

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    I was on a recumbent bike the day after surgery in the hospital PT. Had to be careful getting on and off, and no resistance on the pedals at all, only 5 minutes to warm up at the start of each session. But man, it felt good to move that joint and not hurt. Started outpatient PT 4 days later and was doing 5 minutes, no resistance at first, then built up to 10 minutes with increasing resistance over the following weeks. All on a recumbent. Getting on and off an upright might have been more than I could have done that early on.

    I did have an anterolateral approach with a ceramic-on-ceramic joint, so I did not have a 90-deg restriction though.
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  15. rider1960

    rider1960 Post-Grad

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    Your advice certainly wasn't a downer--more like a reality check. I appreciate it. I think I'm going to have to be patient with my recovery. It's just been so long since I've been able to do anything that I'm going to be eager to do things! :dancy: I don't think I'll be doing what my little smiley man is doing, though!
  16. Jamie

    Jamie Administrator

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    Rider.....I do think it's a good idea to plan on taking things slow in your recovery. Can you do indoor laps around your house? That will satisfy your walking for quite a while. As you get a bit stronger, walking outside shouldn't be completely ruled out. They do clean your sidewalks, don't they??? Or you could drive to a gym or a mall to walk. You'll be running errands now and then once you can drive and, believe me.....walking around a grocery store or Home Depot is PLENTY of exercise.

    What I'm trying to tell you is that I think you'll find recovery not as big a deal as you're making it. I knoe you're trying to think of everything you might need to do before your get there, but please try to relax. There is no "right" thing to do that must be done in recovery. You'll find what works for you. And even if your only exercise for the first 6 weeks until you can drive is to do some gentle exerceses at home and walk around your house, that will be fine.
  17. rider1960

    rider1960 Post-Grad

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    Jamie, you are absolutely right. I do have a tendency to worry too much --about many things, actually!

    I'm also just so eager to get back to a normal life. If someone would have told me a couple of years ago that I would feel like I do today I never would have believed it. I went from trimming my own horses hooves, throwing around hay bales, hiking for miles, riding my horses for hours, and feeling fine ... to where I'm at now a couple of years later--limping around using a cane, taking a lot of pain medication and still being in pain 24 hours a day, and heading for hip surgery. And, I spent over a year of that time getting worse and not knowing what was wrong. It was very frightening and frustrating.

    The way I've been feeling and the limitations from this condition are truly horrible for me--I hate the chronic pain and I hate not being able to do things as simple as getting up from my desk at work without pain. I used to be so active and could do anything!

    I think a big part of my frustration is that it took over a year to get diagnosed and I kept getting worse and worse and feared that I was headed for a wheelchair until I happened to find the right doctor who diagnosed the hip arthritis--something that was right in front of the eyes of so many doctors before him and was ignored "the hips aren't that bad--they can't be causing all of this pain, weakness, and movement limitation that you have; it must be something else." I guess they were waiting for my hips to fall out of the sockets before they took it seriously.

    So, I feel like I was cheated out of a lot of time when I could have been making the decision about a hip replacement. Quite frankly, I think one hip could have been saved from getting as bad as it is had someone caught the other hip problem sooner. I only had problems with one hip for the first 9 months or so. I think the second one deteriorated quickly because it was taking over for the bad one for so long.

    So, I guess there is an element of anger at the clueless doctors, and feeling that I've waited long enough to get this situation straightened out. I want to be up and running after my worst hip is replaced ... but then I might find out that my other one still needs it too ... and then I'll have to schedule that one. I'm hoping that relieving the stress from the lesser affected one will make it feel better, and then getting the back problems on that side fully addressed will help too. I'll have the other one done if I need to, but wouldn't it be great if I was able to delay that for a while by fixing the worst one ... AND still feel good!

    I'm having a "bummer" kind of day today and the pain is getting to me ... I want it over ... yesterday!

    Dorothy
  18. alexthecat

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    Dorothy, you know one thing to consider as you decide on whether to get an upright or a recumbent bike is that the 90-degree restriction is only for six weeks and some surgeons don't permit any kind of biking during that period. I think a recumbent would probably be kinder on your back in the long run, so that might be a better choice for you. Maybe you could just focus on gentle PT exercises and easy walking around your home for those first six weeks and look forward to using the bike afterwards.

    I'm sorry things are so frustrating for you right now. I can understand how hard this is for you, when you used to be able to do everything that you wanted to do. Once this surgery is done, things are going to get a lot better for you. The day will come when you will find yourself once again doing all the things that you used to take for granted. The hardest part of THR is where you are right now. After surgery, things just keep getting easier.
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  19. Anitawants2tango

    Anitawants2tango Senior

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    Dorothy,
    It seems to me that you have gotten some very good advice re the excersize bike. Just a couple of other thoughts to add. Because very likely you will be using some sort of aid to walk for the first several weeks, you will in a way be forced to walk alot in your home - there are only so many things you can carry with one hand or stuff in a pocket, so you end up doing laps! And the other thing is that your PT will be giving you a pretty long string of exercises, to be done at least twice a day. Some maybe more than that. And any good PT will add exercises to match the individual's capacity. In my opinion, in the first weeks the problem is not wanting for enough, but getting into trouble by doing too much. I suspect that for many of us it is that psychological desire "to get back in the saddle" (sorry, could not avoid the pun) that have us planning grand schemes for physical regimens post op. And in your case, given the delay in getting an accurate diagnosis it makes sense that you are struggling with a strong desire to make up for lost time - really for you what feels like stolen time I guess. I sympathize, tho less severely than in your case, I also felt that I got some unfortunate medical advice at first and feel like I lost a year because of it. And I am itchy tohave it back. Still less than 3 weeks for me and I find myself warding off the gnawing little question in my mind, "If I'm sitting in the machines, why can't I go to the gym?" When that happens I just remind myself that in due time, to borrow from Charlie Cyborg, I will be better, stronger... but only if I take good care of the new hardware.
    Hope these thoughts are helpful to you.
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  20. rider1960

    rider1960 Post-Grad

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    You are all right. I think I will need to slow down and back off on my plans a bit. I'll have to take a deep breath and have patience.

    I try to plan things ... sometimes too much. I guess I will learn what I can do and what I can't ... but it will have to wait until after my surgery to know for sure.

    I also just had a brain-smart moment that trying to plan ahead so much may also be setting me up for further disappointment, in the event that it ends up that I can't do what I pre-plan. Better slow down and just wait and see what happens. The conversations here on with the group have helped me sort through a lot of this. Thanks!

    I feel a bit better today. I have days when I feel like this situation with my hips just gets to me and I want to be better--yesterday! My patience gets pretty thin, but all you folks here are helping me to get through it. I am SO appreciative to all of you who take the time to respond to my posts and help me trudge through this to regain my mobility and health! THANKS!!!!!

    <<hugs>> to all, Dorothy
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