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THR 9 Weeks into Recovery - still stiff, is this normal?

catlover55

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Hi everyone, I'm a new member and am so glad to have discovered this fantastic site.I had my right hip replaced on 20th of February and feel my recovery is going pretty good, although At times I become very stiff and uncomfortable in my lower back. My six week follow up was cancelled due to the outbreak of corona virus which is understandable so I have been getting on with it and continuing with the exercises as advised by the physio on my discharge.I am also keeping active around the house and having a daily walk in line with government guidelines.I get a but anxious at times as I'm not sure if I'm doing all I should be or if the stiffness and discomfort are normal and am not sure where I should be at 9 weeks into recovery as I am unable to seek advice or reassurance from my healthcare team due to the situation at present. I am aware that in the great scheme of things my concerns are trivial, but would really appreciate any advice you could offer me. Thank you.
 

Going4fun

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So ... a little bit of additional information would help us comment.

Are you walking with a cane or stick or walker?

How far do you go? And how frequently?

What type of physio exercises are you doing?

Are you icing when your hip feels stiff?


Just off the top (and I look forward to your answers) it sounds like you may be doing too much. Yes, there is stiffness at nine weeks and beyond. Just walking is good enough rehab ... walking and doing a lot around the house begins to PUSH the limit. Add in physical therapy exercises and you can very easily do too much.
 

Jaycey

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@catlover55 Welcome to BoneSmart! Stiffness, aches and pains are very normal at this stage. Full recovery can take up to a year or longer so 9 weeks out is early days.

What type of exercises does PT have you doing. Hips don't really need exercise - walking is the best therapy and then not to excess.

Here are our recovery guidelines. The activity progression and the chart representation of recovery will give you a general idea of what might be expected at 9 weeks. But remember - every THR recovery is different.

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 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.
 
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catlover55

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I'm using 1 elbow crutch to get around for support, but seem to be weight bearing equally on both legs. I,m also active around the house and walk daily for around half an hour. Exercises consist of 10 side and back leg lifts, 10 knee lifts, ankle rotating heel slides, 4 times daily. Wasn't advised how long I should continue with these but have kept going just to be sure.Havent tried icing as yet.Ive also cut back on meds and take 2 cocodamol twice daily as they were making me groggy. Think you may be right though and Imay be pushing it a bit and expecting too much too soon. Thank you so much for your comments.
 

Jaycey

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Exercises consist of 10 side and back leg lifts, 10 knee lifts, ankle rotating heel slides, 4 times daily.
I would stop all this and just focus on walking. Start with half the distance you think you can do and then slowly increase it. Concentrate on heel/toe walking working on restoring proper gait.

Do try icing. The stiffness is partly due to internal swelling. Icing for 45-60 minutes several times per day will ease this.
 
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catlover55

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Thank you so much. I will follow your advice. I tend to be guilty of pushing myself too far. Was the same prior to my op. Walking and swimming too much as To the point whereI was in so much pain I was dragging my leg. Had been advised by physio to keep as active as possible to keep as fit as possible as I would then be ina good place to aid recovery.Went too far though as when I seen my consultant he advised me to stop.
 
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catlover55

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Hi everyone, Just want to update and thank you for advice given to me. Since my first contact I have stopped pt exercises and focused on being active around the house within reason, lessened my daily walk concentrating on heel/toe and have iced twice so far. I also take into account that I have 22 steps leading to my flat which I hope will strengthen my hip as well. Am already seeing results as stiffness and discomfort have improved which is amazing and I feel more relaxed. Once again thank you so much, you have helped me so much to understand the healing process.
 

Jaycey

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@catlover55 So happy to read your update! Yes indeed, just daily activities and a bit of focus on the gait can really move things along in this recovery. Well done!
 

Layla

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Hello :wave:
Welcome to BoneSmart, thanks for joining us here. Just checking out your thread and it‘s very encouraging to read you’re experiencing less stiffness and discomfort as you’ve eased up on PT exercises and focused on regular activity with daily walks, but not to excess.

Heel / toe walking really helped me get rid of the limp I had. It felt a bit foreign initially, actually for quite sometime. I found I really had to concentrate on it while walking and often found myself slipping back into the sloppy old gait I acquired as my hip deteriorated.

You sound motivated and encouraged. Recovery takes time since in reality your body is recovering from “controlled” trauma. Continue practicing the TLC you need to heal properly and you’ll get there.

A great weekend to you! Please stay in touch, we’d love to follow your progress.
 
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catlover55

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Will keep in touch and many thanks for your kind words which I find very reassuring. Have a great weekend and stay safe.
 
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catlover55

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Hi everyone, I continue to follow advice offered and recovery seems to be making progress doing things the Bo'nesmart way. I am noticing improvements each week when I look back and reflect on where I was the previous week. Many thanks to you all for support given. I was wondering if anyone has any thoughts on taking supplements that claim to support joints.( Hips, knees, etc ). Trying to think ahead if taking supplements would help prevent / delay further joint issues arising. I had been taking collagen ultra prior to my surgery having heard that this could be good for joint support, but at my appointment with my OS prior to surgery he advised that my right hip was too far gone for supplements to be of any benefit. Now that I've had THR just wondering if there's anything alternative / herbal out there that could help maintain joint health. Would appreciate hearing anyone's thoughts. Thank you.
 

Layla

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Hello and Happy Tuesday!
Thanks for the update. It’s wonderful to hear you’re making good steady progress.
May it only get better and better. :)


I think taking nutritional supplements is an individual choice. Some are believers, others not so much. I take a variety tailored to my needs and lifestyle. Diet usually trumps supplements so if you‘re mindful to eat as clean as possible you may be getting the nutrients you need through diet alone. As an example....for me, living where I do in the Northern US, we don’t see a lot of sunshine during the Winter months so I supplement with Vitamin D 3 in an effort to keep my level where it should be.

Possibly others will stop by to share their thoughts...
If you’re interested in incorporating supplements, I’d suggest you do online research or consider scheduling an appointment with a nutritionist.

Wishing you a wonderful week. Stay in touch! :wave:
@catlover55
 

FCBayern

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@catlover55 I took Glucosamine/Chondroitin and Glucosamine/MSM (methysulfonylmethane) for years after tearing the medial minicus in my right knee completely out. For me it really decreased my knee pain and I believe gave me a few extra years before I needed knee replacement. It's supposed to promote healthy cartilage and seems to work for about 50% of people that try it. I don't really have anything to back the success up but I did have an MRI of my back when I was having some issues and the doctor said based on my disks he would have guessed I was 10-15 years younger than I was at the time. Just my two cents.
 
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catlover55

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Many thanks Layla and FCBayern for your input. I am taking cod liver oil and a multi vitamin designed for women over 50 at present and Glucosamine/ Condroitin sounds good I will try this as well. Good advice Layla about being mindful about diet as well. I do eat fairly healthy as I believe that you are what you eat and include lots of fruit, veg and whole grains etc. Willing to try anything that may benefit bones / joints and hopefully prevent/ delay further issues going forward. Great forum this. Always someone ready to help and offer useful advice and support. So glad I found you. Can't thank you enough for being there.
 

Layla

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Thanks for the kind words in regard to BoneSmart. We’re happy you found us too! :wink:
Stop by anytime...lights never go out here.
A great rest of the week to you!
@catlover55
 
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catlover55

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Hi everyone, Today marks my 11th week into my recovery. Visited my bank yesterday and did some shopping. Managed well using one crutch mainly for stability, as heel/ toe walking really helping. Limp has improved. As I don't drive took the bus and did more walking than usual. Glutes, thighs and lower back a bit achy last night so think my body was talking to me. I took 2 cocodamol before bed. Slept well and feel good so far this morning when I got up early to feed my cat. However, I will have a rest day today just to be sure. Also I no longer use my crutch to get around the house for the past week as I kept leaving it behind when busy doing something and forgetting where I left it. LOL. Still take it with me when I go out though don't feel ready for that stage yet. Managing the steps leading to my flat better though, foot over foot. Advice received here has been fantastic. You are all so knowledgeable and it's great to be able to communicate with people on the same journey. Reading through others experiences is so encouraging and uplifting when I feel my enthusiasm slipping. I don't feel so alone in this since I joined the forum. Wishing you all the very best. Good health and stay safe.
 

Layla

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Hello and Happy Thursday!
It’s great you were able to get out and wise you’re taking a day of rest today. Not sure if you did last evening, but I always iced preventatively when I felt I may have overdone it on any particular day.

Congrats on losing the crutch while at home and also on the limp easing. Using the crutch while out is a good idea as it is a warning for people to steer clear of you until you’re feeling more confident unaided. You're doing great! Keep up the good work.
@catlover55
 
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catlover55

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Hi everyone, Almost three months into recovery. Feel progress is good in terms of walking and daily activities. I don't se the crutch about the house at all now and don't even think about it.When out and about, I still have my crutch with me for stability and raise it for a short time to practise a few steps unaided. I'm finding as the day goes on I get increasingly achy in my glutes and lower back ( although nothing compared to the pre surgery pain as that is all gone ) also feel that the muscles in this area seem very tight and tense. Has anyone else experienced this ? I,m not sure if this issue is normal at three months or if this is self induced as I feel I could be the cause by tensing my muscles and am trying to focus on staying relaxed.Wondering if there are any stretching exercises That would help to loosen things off. Would appreciate any advice offered to me. Thank you.
 

Eman85

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Stretching generally helps, I have soreness in muscles on both sides depending on activity. I think my age might have a wee bit to do with it also.
 
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catlover55

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Eman85 Many thanks for your input. I will try some stretching to see if that helps. I am expecting a telephone consultation from an OT within the next week to check on my progress as all follow ups and after care cancelled due to the pandemic, so will raise the issue there as well. Could be age related as well. Need to remember I’m no spring chicken now.LOL. Thanks again.
 

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