Lounge Doctor

THR 4 weeks post op

Jana777

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Hi, I'm new here as I just found this place when looking on google for info. This looks like a great place to actually talk to and listen to others who are or have been, in the same boat.

Because of covid I haven't seen Docs or physios. Saw surgeon once, two weeks ago. He said "no physio, just walk".

I know from even before my op that my hip flexors are too tight and glutes are weak. This is from very little exercise because of labral tears, trochanteric tendinitis, bursitis...you name it. My hip felt locked and restricted but fortunately no pain other than discomfort with limited movement.

I was advised that a new hip was the answer. I had it replaced on 28th june, just over 4 weeks ago.

Like most here it was a scary experience and I'm still lost in what to expect. The bed is a torture chamber! I get more rest in the lounge on a recliner which I'm aware probably isn't good as it keeps flexors short. However I think any sleep is better than none. I was taken off palexia at the end of the first week, my first few days at home. I tried to rely on panadol and an anti inflammatory but have since used one codeine tablet for the first time last night. I already had them from before op. It's the only way I could get a little sleep in the bed. (Dread the bunging up side effect - come on prunes!) I surround myself with pillows to make sure I don't dislocated (the dreaded fear) and I alternate sleeping on good side and on my back. Sadly the bit of sleep I get on the side seems to irritate the piriformis? and rolling back onto my back feels like it's pinched or in the wrong place. I have to lie on my ice gel pack and wriggle to find a place where it tries to feel sort of 'right.

I've seen exercises for piriformis and sciatic problems but these obviously can't be done as it means placing the new leg over the other which I know is forbidden at this stage. Any suggestions greatly appreciated.

We're in winter here so putting socks on would be lovely! Using slippers and relying on husband to "sock" me . I graduated to a cane about 2 weeks ago and I read somewhere that 'it's not a race, some use a cane for ages'.

I feel my new hip is ok but my butt is so uncomfy. I had to have a posterior replacement as surgeon had to remove the trochanteric bursa which I'm told was large. I think recovery time is longer having it done this way and I'm wondering if the piriformis has to be cut going that way and if this discomfort is a normal part of the recovery. ?? The surgeon really doesn't seem to answer these questions fully. Just that it'll be fine.

Anyway I still rely on my ice gel packs, couldn't be without them. I feel like my wound will 'hiss' as the ice (in its cover) is placed on it! Apparently it's normal for it to feel hot.

Having no pain before and now having pain, I feel in no man's land. Hoping as the days pass it'll get easier and the butt will improve. By the way palexia which is one up from tramadol eventually made me buzz so no good for sleep anyway. I feel like I've had maybe 3 hrs a night. Not good for healing. Sorry, long post but it's been good to get it out.
 

Layla

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Hello and :welome:Welcome to BoneSmart. Thanks for joining us!
You‘re right, this is the place to communicate with others that have “been there done that”.
You’ll find great support here through the advice and encouragement of those already recovered as well as those healing right along with you. Please let us know which hip was replaced so we can edit your signature to reflect that information. Thanks in advance.

Walking is the best therapy, but not to excess, as you’ll read in the Recovery Guidelines below, under the BIG TIP. You're not alone in sleeping somewhere other than your bed temporarily. I for one did the same for several weeks. Thankfully you’re getting sleep. If you’re not already, while side-sleeping, use a pillow between your legs to keep your hips level. I use a long Body Pillow and can’t sleep without it over four years post op.

If you’re still dealing with pain that rest and icing doesn’t ease, take either OTC meds or the meds you were prescribed so you’re able to remain comfortably mobile.

Check out the recovery aids within the Recovery Guidelines where you’ll find a dressing stick and sock aid to make it easier to dress independently.

I experienced posterior approach with my THR also and I’m not sure if the pain or discomfort you describe feels as though you’re sitting on a golf ball. That’s what it felt like to me for several months, gradually easing. I sat on a smaller flatter ice pack on occasion for relief if it was really bothering me.

Read through the Guidelines as time allows and let us know if you have any questions.
Have a great rest of the week!


As you begin healing, please keep in mind that each recovery is unique. While the BoneSmart philosophy successfully works for many, there will be exceptions. Between the recommendations found here, your surgeon's recovery protocol and any physical therapy you may engage in, the key is to find what works best for you.

Hip Recovery: The Guidelines
1. Don’t worry: Your body will heal all by itself. Relax, let it, don't try and hurry it, don’t worry about any symptoms now, they are almost certainly temporary

2. Control discomfort:
rest
ice
take your pain meds by prescription schedule (not when pain starts!)​

3. Do what you want to do BUT
a. If it hurts, don't do it and don't allow anyone - especially a physical therapist - to do it to you
b. If your leg swells more or gets stiffer in the 24 hours after doing it, don't do it again.

4. PT or exercise can be useful BUT take note of these

5. Here is a week-by-week guide

6. Access to these pages on the website

Pain management and the pain chart
Healing: how long does it take?
Chart representation of THR recovery

Dislocation risk and 90 degree rule
Energy drain for THRs
Pain and swelling control: elevation is the key
Post op blues is a reality - be prepared for it
Myth busting: on getting addicted to pain meds
Sleep deprivation is pretty much inevitable - but what causes it?

BIG TIP: Hips actually don't need any exercise to get better. They do a pretty good job of it all on their own if given half a chance. Trouble is, people don't give them a chance and end up with all sorts of aches and pains and sore spots. All they need is the best therapy which is walking and even then not to excess.

We try to keep the forum a positive and safe place for our members to talk about their questions or concerns and to report successes with their joint replacement surgery.

While members may create as many threads as they like in a majority of BoneSmart's forums, we ask the at each member have only one recovery thread. This policy makes it easier to go back and review history before providing advice.
 

Layla

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Here is an article on Piriformis from the BoneSmart Library that may be of interest -

And another on Recovery Aids -
 

NightQuilter

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Welcome to BoneSmart @Jana777 ! You are in good company here and will soon hear from others, in addition to Layla's "welcome package" of great library resources, who have walked in the shoes you are now walking in and can give you tips on what to expect and exercises. You will find many hip replacement folks on here have found sitting and sleeping in a recliner to have offered them the best relief. There is no law forcing you to lay down in bed until your body is ready to. I found sleeping with a big pillow between my legs/knees helped, as did Aleve PM.
 
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Jana777

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Hello Nightquilter, thank you so much for your message. I feel relieved to think my comfy recliner is acceptable. I generally go to bed and then an hour or two later after half turning about 50 times make my way back to recliner county with a huge sigh of relief once I've brought all the bits and pieces I need with me. What a mess about! Made the mistake of saying I'd like to go to the shops today...thought it would just be one foot in front of the other....ummm, no, it slowly got more and more painful. Walking around my house seemed reasonably ok but I obviously didn't think it through. Slowly does it! I'll blame cabin fever from our lockdown. Thanks again.
 
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Jana777

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By the way I meant to mention it is my right hip that's been replaced. Cheers.
 

Elf1

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@Jana777 :wave: glad you've joined us, wonderful folks here. We all but those little points in recovery where we think, hmm, this sounds like a good idea! But then we find out not so much! :heehee:

Rest, nap whenever you can to make up for the sleep you're missing at night and ice, ice and more ice :ice:!
 
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Jana777

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Hi elf1, thanks for that. I'm so pleased to hear that I can take it slow. My surgeon said that by the 6 week mark I should be walking 1mile. That really made me feel like I had to do so much before the 6 week mark to be able to get there. Fortunately now I can do it in my own time. There seems to be much conflicting advice and many I've heard saying they were back to normal after 6 weeks. Well, I'll be happy with 6 months and doing it slowly. Appreciate the welcome.
 

NightQuilter

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Yeah, that shopping thing. The problem is when shopping you are starting and stopping, dodging folks who are clueless as to your need to walk in the straight line for a few more weeks, and it all puts more pressure on the muscles and tendons trying to heal and hold everything in place. Sigh. :groan: Let your fingers to the shopping for now! :heehee:
 
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Jana777

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Yes you're spot on. Didn't think of the change of direction, which did happen. Today finding a strain from right at the top of back of my right leg which is the new hip side. Feels maybe hamstring but feels high. I'll take it easier today. And yes grocery delivery...clever. Cheers.
 

Layla

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Happy One Month Anniversary!
Hopefully with some rest you’ll be feeling better in no time. Don’t forget ice. It’s a great pain reliever.
Wishing you sweet dreams tonight.:sleeep:
@Jana777
 
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Jana777

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Thanks Layla, I've never known 4 weeks go so slowly! But slowly so often is the answer. I'm interested to know what pain is supposed to be there on each walking step. Sometimes I can take a step and it rolls nicely and then suddenly it feels like the sharp point of the prosthesis is really pushing down into the bone. I'm sure it's not, but that's what it's like. After kindly being sent the initial info, I was intrigued to see how many layers are cut through. No wonder my piriformis area is so sensitive. Great to be given this info as it makes it easier to bear. You see the pic of the layers and say "oh, no wonder it's sore!!" It's made me slow down and not expect so much from these layers that are working hard to heal. I love "the big tip". Thanks.
 

Jaycey

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I've seen exercises for piriformis and sciatic problems but these obviously can't be done as it means placing the new leg over the other which I know is forbidden at this stage. Any suggestions greatly appreciated.
I have chronic sciatic problems and had major piriformis spasms post LTHR. I found hamstring stretches from a seated position really helped. Start very slowly and gently - your hamstrings are probably very tight. To this day I still do these stretches daily to ease sciatic pain.
 

Layla

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You’re welcome! You have the right idea in taking it easy and allowing your body to heal.
Try not to be discouraged with the length of time the healing process takes because month by month you‘ll notice improvement.
Lots of info in the BoneSmart Library. If you’re ever interested, check it out.
A wonderful weekend to you!
@Jana777
 

Elf1

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@Jana777 hopefully that one mile at 6 weeks includes all of your walking throughout the day and your activities. And for those that said they were back to normal at 6 weeks, um I think they have selective memory! :heehee:

Biggest advice I can give you from my experience is take things one day at a time, don't try to rush this recovery, it will come back to bite you :snork:, ice is your best friend, listen to your body, slow and steady is the key. Sometimes you have to just smile and nod when dealing with stories of 6 week wonders or folks that have higher expectations of you with no real idea what you've been through. :friends:
 
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Jana777

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Thank you. Yes if it's one thing I've learned through this site it's to go at my own pace and it's helped tremendously. I've noticed just this last two days that there is a slight improvement. Even slight is great as I'm going in the right direction. When I was trying too hard it was 1 step forward and 2 back.
Thank you too to Jaycee....I'll try the seated hamstring stretches. Every little bit helps. Great to have this support from people who really know what's going on.
 

Layla

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A tip, this is what worked for me…
Try not to look for daily improvements. Pick a day of the week, any day. I chose a weekend day because it was easier for me to remember what I was comfortably doing the previous weekend, on that same day. During the week, I tried not to give much thought to my progress. Daily reflection can leave you feeling a tad disappointed as opposed to contemplating the progress you’re making on a weekly basis only. I’m sure you’ve noticed, while progress will continue to be steady, the further away from surgery you get, the less noticeable it becomes. I sometimes realized strides I’d made by accident after engaging a certain way, recalling that movement was once difficult if not impossible. Little surprises along the way. :yes!:
You’re doing great. I hope you have a wonderful weekend! :)
@Jana777
 
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Jana777

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Well I have done exactly that and it really is best. I was plodding along but not taking much notice on purpose then all of a sudden I walked further on one day and them decided to go again in the afternoon and I could walk nearly a mile! I just didn't want to stop except that muscles that haven't been used for walking got tired. My cane is my companion and will be for some time as it helps with my posture. It was quite a sudden improvement and it was judt before the 6 week mark. If only I could have looked into the future in those first few weeks. I think it would have lessened my anxiety that I'd never walk again. My new side leg doesn't want to go all the way back yet but I'm hoping as I walk more and more that it will loosen up. Wound still stings sometimes but when you think of the depth that scalpel had to go it's not surprising it's still sore. Thanks for all the support it really made a big difference. If only I could tell others who feel fed up that believe me, it really does improve from 6 weeks onwards.‍
 

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Thanks @Jana777 . That's encouraging to hear. I'm at my 2 week anniversary so have a long way to go.
 
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Jana777

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Hi Spex10, just 2 weeks in hey! I remember it well! Couldn't get comfy, bed was a torture chamber, gravity seemed the enemy. Ice packs were my friends. I kept thinking this just doesn't seem to get easier day by day BUT it's true that not watching the days and knowing in your heart that it really, really does improve quite quickly. When you think of what we've had done it's amazing how our incredible bodies gradually repair. I think if I'd had a better mind set I wouldn't have been so upset at the slow pace. This site helped me a lot. I'll be thinking of you and knowing that in another 4 weeks, maybe even less you'll be amazed, just as I was. I know I've still got a way to go for the soft tissue to keep repairing but I can walk with my cane outdoors and even without it at home. I won't say good luck as you don't need it with good information and a positive outlook you'll be absolutely as good as new.
 

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