Bilateral THR Double Hippy on the mend!

Hippymel

junior member
Joined
Jun 11, 2019
Messages
36
Age
59
Location
Brisbane
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Australia Australia
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Hi All,
I’ve just found this forum, and have spent the last few hours scrolling through all the great info!
I had my bilateral THR on 5th June 2019 in Brisbane, Australia.
We don’t seem to have any forums like this “down under”!
I was diagnosed with OA in both hips 3 years ago. They went downhill pretty quickly. Unfortunately its in the family, my dad had both hips replaced (on separate occasions) when he was in his early 60’s, 20 years ago.
So far I’m doing ok, and it was great to read that some of my issues/concerns were pretty normal for nearly 3 weeks post op.
I’m walking on double elbow crutches outside, but inside “cruising” furniture and kitchen benches with no aids.
The things I hadn’t expected were:
  • For my thighs to feel like I had done 1000 squats!! They were so tight & sore. Still are, but at least the swelling has gone down.
  • Needing to pee all the time, think its all the fluids I drinking!
  • The pain/aching can change, my right hip was the most sore/weak post surgery, but today its the left?? Go figure??
  • The need to ice all the time. When I don’t I pay for it.
  • Getting a bit too enthusiastic with walking & going out, then feeling sore/achey the next day
I go to PT every week, and think there are some exercises she has given me that are a bit ambitious, like clam shells exercise lying on my side to strengthen my butt muscles. I just don’t do those, but do sideways abduction ones standing. The other exercises seem ok and are helping to build up my strength.

I have a couple of questions:
  • When should it feel comfortable or safe to sleep on my side, the back sleeping is giving me neck pain!
  • Is it normal for pain/aching to change, ie, from one leg to the other. Is it because I’m favouring one more?
  • When I’m tired and walking inside I start to “hobble” again, I assume I’m going back to my bad old ways of walking, so should use my crutches then?
As a double hippy, you do get some interesting comments; like “do they even do that”, “wow, really both at once”, some even from hospital staff!!

Thanks in advance for any advice. I’m so glad I found this forum, there aren’t too many double hippy’s out there!!
 
Ho from
A fellow double hippy! I was a week before you so I can say it gets better, your swelling will keep going down, keep icing and yes the good leg swops sides. The 1000 squats feeling soon eases and I get cramps occasionally but now just a little aches & swelling when I’ve overdone it.
I’ve had the same neck pain from back sleeping. My surgeon said I could side sleep when I chose with a pillow between my legs but as yet it’s too uncomfy on the incisions. Interesting observation from @JennyLynne (I think) was that short side sleeping can spoil you for back sleeping!
Back to the overdoing it.... it’s great here as you learn from those who’ve been through it not PTs with ideas! We don’t need to
Do more than walk and rest. All these exercises can aggravate swelling & pain & even slow healing so listen to your body not the PT.
You’re doing fantastically.
 
Hi @Hippymel and welcome to BoneSmart. The "Both at Once!??" comment is one I still get.
:heehee: Personally, I'm glad to have one and done. My quads were super sore also and the sleeping struggles resonate with me also.
All temporary, so keep the faith!
Here are some recovery articles that can help you on this journey.

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
elevate
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. At week 4 and after you should follow this
6. Access to these pages on the website

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.

It can be a bit of a dance...these first months, especially...but
You are going to love these new hips!:yahoo:
 
Last edited:
When should it feel comfortable or safe to sleep on my side, the back sleeping is giving me neck pain!
:bored:I had no restrictions but this was quite a ways down the road for me. I won't depress you with how long ...as we all have different timelines...but I agree..
Back sleeping was Annoying!
My recliner was my favorite sleeping spot.

Is it normal for pain/aching to change, ie, from one leg to the other. Is it because I’m favouring one more?
Was normal for me...not sure if I ever ascertained exactly why...could be as you say.
When I’m tired and walking inside I start to “hobble” again, I assume I’m going back to my bad old ways of walking, so should use my crutches then?
Yes. :yes:
 
Hello :wave: Welcome to BoneSmart. Thanks for joining us.
As if you don't have enough to read through above, I thought I'd leave a few articles regarding a couple things you mentioned.
http://bonesmart.org/forum/threads/thr-laying-on-my-back-when-can-this-be-done.32099/
http://bonesmart.org/forum/threads/bonesmart-philosophy-for-post-op-therapy.37103/

It is recommend you use an assistive device until you're no longer limping. I noticed I was limping more often if I was tired also during early recovery.
A tip -
Try heel-toe walking when / if you're limping. Let your heel hit the ground first followed by toes.
It takes a concentrated effort but I believe you'll notice a difference. Give it a try.

Stop back often, we'd love to offer support and encouragement while you're on the journey.
Happy Monday!
@Hippymel
 
Hi there and welcome! I am 10 weeks out from a double and can say with no doubts that it was the best decision! However, it's not an easy road. The first 2 weeks were tough for me, but I felt pretty decent by 3 weeks. I was still spending most of my time with my legs elevated and icing, but I was getting out of the house a bit (and driving) and getting around the house much more easily.

Side sleep still is an issue for me. I get very sore after an hour or so, even at 10 weeks. It's frustrating for sure! But, others have had an easier time of it. Each recovery is unique. But, I am pretty sure you will be so happy with this "one and done" approach that you will take the bad with the good! Wishing you a great recovery!
 
Glad to have you join us here on the forum! It sounds like you are doing great---and have a very positive attitude which makes a difference.
But even then, we all get a bit overwhelmed, worried, even down at times with parts of our recovery. And I'm sure for those of you who did doubles, it is magnified.

I've commented many times how just when one thing seemed to be getting better, something else would pop up for me to worry about. And then the pain shifts yet again and your mind starts wondering all over if it's normal. That has been one of the best parts of the forum for me, even at 10 months out----being able to share those questions and worries, and have others let me know they also had the same issues.

It seems like no matter what the issue is, someone has had it. Some people seem to skate through early recovery, only to pop up later with their own questions and concerns. Others start out with more bumps in the road, and end up progressing so well after a certain point. The variation is amazing.

One comment made by others, that I really want to reinforce is that PT can often do more harm than good. Simply walking and resuming your daily life activities as you are able really will be all you need to recover. Much later, if you are someone who loves exercising and going to the gym, there will be ways you can ease back in. But for now, especially having a double replacement, you run the risk of setting yourself back with one or both hips. So really take it easy:) :flwrysmile:
 
Thanks everyone for your helpful information & encouraging replies.
Each day seems to throw up new challenges.
I’ve learnt this last week to not get too ambitious! I was going well with my walking & doing quite a bit around the house without crutches. Outside I use my crutches, and even managed to have dinner at a restaurant with my family on the weekend.
However the last few days my left hip has been a bit sore and “catching or twinging” if I put weight on it too much. I saw the Physio this week and she explained its probably because I did too much too soon, and the left leg has been doing a lot of the work. My right leg was weaker in the beginning, now its the left!!
She told me to back off on the exercises, no walking without crutches, and ice lots!! Good advice of course.
I can slowly get back to where I was a few days ago, in time.
Think I bolted out of the gates bit too soon!!

My Physio also suggested massage to gently loosen up my thighs & gluts. Has anyone tried this as early as 3 weeks out? If so, what areas did they massage and did it help?

I have planned to go to the movies with my family this weekend, Toy Story 4! Have booked the Gold Class, as they have reclining lounges, figured I could manage that, could even sneak in my ice packs!!
My kids are in their 20’s but we always went to Toy Story as a family, so they saw no reason to break the tradition now that are older!!

It’s Friday here in Oz, so early wishes for a great weekend all.
Cheers!!
 
She told me to back off on the exercises, no walking without crutches, and ice lots!! Good advice of course.
I can slowly get back to where I was a few days ago, in time.
Think I bolted out of the gates bit too soon!!
Great advice and I'm sure you will get back on track very soon.
Finding our boundaries, backing off and giving the greatest healer, Time (and our own bodies), a chance to heal that soft tissue will prove to be successful.

I didn't have any massage...maybe someone can comment who has ...

Love the Toy Story tradition. (I want to see it too)
Hope all eases soon and come back soon with an update.
"You've got a friend in me":giggle:
 
@Hippymel

A close friend of mine is a massage therapist and I regularly get massages from her. I saw her probably 3 weeks past my surgery just to get my thigh massaged and it really helped. She was very careful and didn’t do anything too deep yet. I just went back to her last Monday and she worked on that thigh again and also my knee. It was so so helpful.

I was only on my back. I had the posterior approach so was unable to lay on my stomach and I wasn’t comfortable yet to lay on my unoperated side. She also did my neck and shoulders which were taking a beating from using the walker and cane.

I love the idea of taking ice packs to the movies. And the recliners are very comfortable.
 
@ceezee Thanks for the massage tips. I have an appointment tomorrow with the massage therapist, so looking forward to getting some relief from tight muscles.
 
Do remember, however... Tightness is a normal occurrence after this kind of major surgery. Your surgeon did major carpentry work and disturbed every millimeter of soft tissue in this area. You aren't tight because your muscle is underused and needs to be stretched and rehabbed. You're tight because your tissue is healing... If a long full step right now is causing pain and limping, don't take long full steps. Take smaller steps. Take a short walk several times a day, instead of longer walks. Use your cane. Use ice. Rest a lot.

This isn't the time to do anything to excess. Baby steps now, and lots of patience, pays off big time later. Recovering from self-induced tendinitis can end up taking weeks or months. Consider yourself as still recovering from surgery and structure your return to your life as a slow, gradual process where you introduce very small increments in activity, and then give yourself time to see how you react to it.
All temporary, and worth the patience. I am certainly glad I am able to get back to a full happy life!
 
Hi from a fellow bilateral. I am in my 4th week. Have my ups and downs but walking with a cane inside the house. Walked a bit with PT outside with a cane. Scheduled for rehab 2x a week but as yet have not gone. Will have a pt come here tomorrow.I have a much harder time on my left than right (right almost feels normal). I have consciously decided to refrain from much activity to allow my body to heal. I have no difficulty with stairs and could do them almost immediately without prior practice (memory?). Take it easy. I am the impatient sort and am relearning to patient (with great great difficulty). You are doing superbly. Be gentle with yourself.
 
Thanks @Mojo333, yes it’s definitely still baby steps for me. I’m only off my crutches inside for short periods, outside still with crutches. My husband says my walking still looks like a “baby with a full nappy”......not a great look for someone in their 50’s, haha!!
I’ve tried to focus on heel/toe, but get tired at the end of the day so grab my crutches again inside.
My massage therapist today was pretty gentle, she mostly worked on my upper back and neck which is suffering from using crutches and still sleeping on my back. Felt much better after.

Hi @mikeycat, you sound like you are travelling well for a double hippy. I’m still coming to terms with how long this process of healing takes. The changing aches/pains from one leg to another can be frustrating. Some days there’s no logic to it! I’m sure overnight my hips “toss a coin” to decide who’s going to play up the next day, to keep her guessing!!
I was quite fit beforehand, running, boot camp, walking etc, until the last few months. Everyone then expects you to “bounce” right back. I’m still happy with my progress but am slowly learning to pay respect to what has been done, and give it time to heal.
I have got 8 weeks off work, but have decided that if I’m not ready will extend it by a few more weeks. Don’t want to undo all my recovery. Luckily I have been with the same company for over 10 years, so have lots of medical leave accrued!
Have a great week all.
 
The changing aches/pains from one leg to another can be frustrating. Some days there’s no logic to it! I’m sure overnight my hips “toss a coin” to decide who’s going to play up the next day, to keep her guessing!!
:giggle:

It really doesn't seem to have a lot of rhyme or reason much of the time.
On the other hand, often when I seemed to begin to worry about one particular issue, it seemed to resolve...as you say..travel on somewhere else.
I have got 8 weeks off work, but have decided that if I’m not ready will extend it by a few more weeks. Don’t want to undo all my recovery.
Splendid idea.
My guess is by then you may feel up to it...but I did go back to work too early..I managed. But the Energy Drain was really counterproductive and I was shattered by the time I got home.
Once you are back...you're back. :sigh:
You are doing this... my "Both at Once?!" Pal.
You will be glad you did. I am back to an extremely active job, and feel years younger.:tada:
 
@Hippymel good idea to take the wait and see approach to a return to work. The recommended time off post THR is 10-12 weeks and then a Phased return to work - especially for you as you had BTHR. Many can return before that timeframe. But it's best not to push. Don't forget the Energy Drain.
 
Take all the time you need to heal. I know exactly what you are saying about being athletic and being expected to bounce right back. Think my OS saw it this way even though I am 66. He saw I dealt with a bad hip for 12 years and coped without too much ado and I was a marathoner. But I am here to say it goes in increments and some days feels like a backward slide. I am still looking for that 'breakthrough'. I think you have to put aside what everyone feels where you should be including yourself and just take the time you need to heal. Lots of positive vibes your way.
 
:hi: Happy One Month Anniversary!
I hope you've had a good week so far.
Enjoy the weekend as you continue the journey :walking:
@Hippymel
 
Yes. Happy one month Hipversary:chuckmarch:
 
Thanks @Layla & @Mojo333! Where did that 4 weeks go. I feel like I made great gains in the first few weeks and now its kind of plateauing out. But I‘m getting used to the 2 steps forward, one step back pattern of recovery.
This weekend I have noticed pain more localised around my incision scar on the right, not had that before, but think I‘m feeling different pains as my swelling & numbness subsides!
I was stressing a bit about going back to work, but now have decided I‘ll wait to see how I feel at 6 weeks and make a call from there, if I‘m ready to go back at 8 weeks.
I haven’t yet tried driving, bit scared! When did other double hippies give it a go?
Cheers all, have a great week!
 

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