THR 7 weeks and feeling miserable


new member
Apr 15, 2023
United Kingdom United Kingdom
Hi, I had a right THR on 25 Feb - so 7 weeks ago today. I was desperate to have it done and felt I went into it with a really positive mindset but I’m feeling mentally and physically a bit rubbish now as I feel my level of pain and disability is no better than it was pre-op. I’ve worked really hard at following all the PT instructions but this morning ended up crying my eyes out after yet another sleepless night caused by groin and anterior thigh pain and then attempting my exercises.

I’ve had a bit of a tough time with reactions to analgesia and can’t take anti-inflammatories so all I have is paracetamol which doesn’t seem to do much at all. Surgeon discharged me this week after follow up x ray and says I seem to be doing fine. But then I saw PT straight after and I got the feeling she thought I should be further on. She was surprised I still needed a single walking stick and was still using the raised toilet seat, and also that I was still needing someone to tie my right shoe. I got the feeling she thought I needed to step up quite a bit. She says my abductor muscles are incredibly weak and I need to really work at building them so I’m to do side-lying leg lifts (2x10) plus resistance bands for standing leg lifts - up, back and side, again each 2x10. Also chair squats 2x10, and finally trying to walk without the stick. As soon as I do that, I feel I start to waddle rather than walk, it’s so sore.

Anyway, I’m feeling a failure really, worn down with the pain, which is much worse at night, and the subsequent lack of sleep. My inability to do the exercises properly is worrying me as she said that there was a ‘sweet spot’ for recovery. Plus people 25 years older than me keep telling me THR changed their lives and meanwhile I’m still hobbling about feeling sorry for myself.

Well done if you got this far in my misery fest and any reassurance that I haven’t made a terrible mistake and that things will still improve very welcome!
@HipsAreForLife Welcome to BoneSmart and the other side of surgery!

You are NOT a failure. You are hurting because you are doing far too much exercise. You are not in training - you are healing. Please stop all this and try focusing on rest, ice and elevation. Gentle stretches and walking is all a new hip needs. Plenty of time for strengthening when that area settles.

Unfortunately PT has no clue about this recovery. If she did she would not be so negative and unhelpful. I would fire that PT. Recovery is very individual. If you need sticks to get around that's your business. Keep using a walking aid until you are no longer limping.

I'll leave our recovery guidelines here for you. Lots of information that might help you get this recovery headed in a more positive direction.

Hip Recovery: The Guidelines
We are all different, as are the approaches to this recovery and rehab. The key is, “Find what works for YOU.“ Your doctor(s), physiotherapist(s) and BoneSmart are here to help. But you have the final decision as to what approach you use.

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:
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 this BoneSmart philosophy for sensible post op therapy
5. Here is a week-by-week guide for Activity progression for THRs
6. Access 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 that each member have only one recovery thread. This policy makes it easier to go back and review history before providing advice.
OK, first calm down and 2nd stop doing all these crazy exercises, you are not helping your hip, it is trying to heal and you are trying to rush it along and your body is telling you to stop.
And continue to use stick if you are wobbly cause you could fall and that's not good either.
This is close to a one year recovery for most of us. Many heal much sooner but we are all different.
Sit, elevate and ice for a few PT and see if you start to feel better.
I found this site at 8 weeks and wish I would have found it sooner. After I read about PT and what not to do I stopped PT. My recovery was so much better afterwards. I took a half a tramadol and it helped my pain when it was at your stage. If your pain was less you would be more positive. If your OS wont order it maybe your regular provider will. I wish you good luck and better days to come!
Thanks everyone. That all very different from the PTs view ‘recovery happens in rehab’ ‘you recover in proportion to your effort’ etc. I’ve been really worried that all this pain is a sign of something else gone wrong. Re analgesia - basically I’ve had none. From day two (after one night in hospital), I went home on paracetamol and that’s been me since. So I feel I’ve had 7 weeks of fairly relentless pain for no benefit. I’d do just about anything for a night’s sleep. I probably should have protested louder about the pain in the early days, as now everyone’s approach seems to be that you don’t need it by this stage, but I’m just worn down. I just didn’t want expect it all to be so hard.
Oh dear, so sorry to read about your recovery with PT. , shame on them! If you could follow the suggestions to lay off PT and return to rest, elevation and ice, you might be feeling enough improvement without the need for stronger medications. I was still taking tramadol at 7 weeks! Not much, but loved that I had it for the tougher days.
I found, with both of my THR's that overdoing things caused quite a bit of groin pain.
I wonder, do you have a good relationship with your family practitioner? If you told him/her what you've said to us here, I bet they would give you a prescription to help?
You need some good, restorative sleep.
I hope you are resting and icing as you read this!
Take care and read through some of the recovery threads here, you will see that the BoneSmart way to recovery has worked for many who've struggled as you are.
Hang in there. I have essentially no experience, in this as I had surgery this past Thursday morning. But I that extremely limited time, I’ve begun to see that when I did something so simple as go to the kitchen to make a smoothie, the time on my feet and little trips across the kitchen to get this and that was followed by increased soreness. Just like we don’t heal a severely sprained ankle by running on it. I don’t see how we can heal the soft tissue and bone trauma of replacement with odd movements immediately after surgery that no one actually does in real life. Not that PT doesn’t have a place - it does - but this not a no pain no gain endeavor.
And sorry for all the typos - posting from my phone from the recliner!
OMG I had left THR on 15 Feb - and PT was hard on me from the day one. I started walking without walking stick one month after surgery. She was very displeased. Two weeks too late, according to her.
You mention PT, side lying leg lifts and bands. There is no wonder you are in pain! Somehow you are on the no pain no gain weak muscles you'll never walk crazy PT thinking path. I am in no way a health professional but after 2THR's and especially the second I can say that doing nothing the first 6 weeks beyond resting and walking worked great for me. I would stop doing anything beyond resting and icing for a couple of days and see what happens. Ice come with a lifetime prescription and can't be beat for relief.
Sweet Spot for recovery? It's after you've healed all of the damaged soft tissue.
I'll just add for sleep maybe try some melatonin, I get a good 3-4 hours sleep from it, always check with your doctor about adding anything new to your regimen but might help you.
That all very different from the PTs view ‘recovery happens in rehab’ ‘you recover in proportion to your effort’ etc.
Of course your Physio said this and likely believes it as this is her livelihood. Sadly, it doesn't mean she is right and as you're learning here, many of us disagree with your PT. Wondering if she's experienced a THR and recovery herself?

Please give yourself the TLC you deserve after this major surgery and walk away from PT. Begin resting, icing and elevating to reduce pain, if you're not already. You're continually aggravating healing soft tissue with all of this activity. I am sorry you're in pain physically and mentally and losing sleep over this. Stop now and allow your body to heal...and it will heal. Do you think you'll be able to do this?
Best wishes for some restorative rest and relief from the pain.
Welcome to BoneSmart! Congrats on your new hip. I see you met a recovery buddy already who had surgery within days of you. We'd love for you to start a thread and record your progress here. I believe you'll enjoy the support and appreciate a journal of your recovery. Please join us!
Starting a new thread and posting
Morning, everyone. After all your advice yesterday I spent the rest of the evening lying on the recliner with a bag of frozen peas in my groin and didn’t do my last two sets of exercises (as well as the ones I listed above, I’m meant to do bridges, knee slides, and multiple step ups). Overnight I managed to get three blocks of sleep, each about two hours before the pain woke me, so I’m feeling a little more rational and human today. I was told only to ice for the first week then stop, and also not to elevate my leg but to sit in a high back chair like a dining room chair for 6 weeks so I sent husband to the late night supermarket for several small bags of cheap peas so I can keep re-freezing and rotating them.
bridges, knee slides, and multiple step ups
These are training exercises - just not needed for a new hip.
I was told only to ice for the first week then stop, and also not to elevate my leg but to sit in a high back chair
Many of our member ice for months (years) post op. Ice for 45-60 minutes per session, several times per day.

You might want to purchase a package of gel packs. They freeze very quickly and can be rotated throughout the day. I'm sure your local high street chemist will have these.

7 weeks and feeling miserable
After one year I still ice some days. I went back to work and a little sore last two days after a very busy Thursday night and Ice has been my friend last two days.
There's no timeline for icing.
I did PT after I broke my ankle almost 4 years ago. My insurance only pays a certain amount and the other $35 I'm responsible to pay which if you go 2-3x's per week adds up quickly. It became so repetitive and boring and I was basically told do 10 of these or 5 of these and then they'd go off and do something else and I was left on my own! I realized I can do this at home and it's a lot cheaper.
So when I found out PT isn't really necessary after hip surgery I was quite happy!
Check this article out from the BoneSmart Library if you haven't already.
BoneSmart philosophy for sensible post op therapy
I was told only to ice for the first week then stop,
Why Does BoneSmart Recommend Icing for Longer Periods of Time Than Advised by My Physical Therapist?

Icing for up to twenty minutes only is what most of us have heard or been advised to do following an injury. Following joint replacement, ice is a critical part of pain management and should be used not only on the joint, but any surrounding areas of discomfort for as often and as long as you're comfortable doing so, always placing fabric between your skin and the ice source. Icing helps bring relief from the soft tissue trauma and internal swelling. Icing is a great natural pain reliever and best of all, it's free. While some care providers do put a maximum time on icing, others suggest you ice as often as you see fit.

Icing after therapy, exercises, or prolonged activity that challenge ROM and endurance should help ease any discomfort, or preventively keep pain at bay. You may find relief through icing for weeks to months post op.

I hope you have a good week!

I think you'll like the gel packs, Jaycey, recommended better than the frozen peas. :wink:
Following there is a tutorial at the bottom of the article on how to make your own ice packs.
Ice to control pain and swelling
I’m meant to do bridges, knee slides, and multiple step ups
Good grief @HipsAreForLife I'm at 3 months and would be very wary of bridges. I can do three sets of 15 step ups on each side but not all at once and I can do chair squats fairly easily but that's after everything has healed!

Since you're in the UK as I am, I thought you might like to know my pain control programme. As well as icing when needed, after the initial weeks I was taking 2 x500mg paracetamol on a regular 6hr programme (roughly 10:00am 4:00pm 10:00pm and 4:00am) plus 30mg dihydrocodeine at bedtime. I only reduced and ultimately stopped the paracetamol once the pain was so well controlled that I was forgetting to take a dose! Now, I use only occasional paracetamol and rare codeine. Icing is still helpful if I overdo things. The key in the first few months is to take pain killers regularly and not let the pain overtake you. I'm sure your GP would be able to advise.
Skip the frozen food section and invest or make some real ice packs , you need them. You need to ice for longer periods of time and there is no time limit like only the first week for using ice. Somewhere on this site there are instructions how to make them. Skip ALL of the PT for a few days and I bet you'll feel a lot better. You are torturing yourself for no reason.
All of us that are telling you this has been there, done that.

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