THR Finally! Left Hip Anterior Recovery


junior member
Jan 24, 2023
United States United States
Good evening all! Surgery today at 7:15 am and back home at 4:30 pm. Left hip, anterior approach. Would have been home sooner, but had a small bout of general anesthesia induced low blood pressure and wooziness. Slept it off, walked the stairs, etc. and headed home. So far, no detectable swelling, a tiny bit of bruising sticking out from the dressing, and no pain - some stiffness and discomfort, but nothing I would call “pain.” I anticipate that WILL change in the upcoming days. Plan for the worst, hope for the best, and call it a win if I land in the middle. The OS said I can do the right hip in 8 weeks pending a successful post-op follow-up on the left. I hope to share my experience pro and con so maybe someone can glean something from it, just as I learned from others’ experiences and insight in this forum. For that, I thank you.

What Is Working: 1. Lift chair recliner. Fantastic for sleep (just did 4 hours) and ability to fine tune my position for comfort. Only slight issue is I’m 6’3”, so my feet go off the end, creating a pressure point above the heel around the Achilles tendon which seems less than ideal for mitigating clot risk. Two fluffy pillow under my knee and calf seems to fix that while creating elevation.

2. Grabber/Reacher: have only used it twice, but can see it is good to have.

3. Pain meds - take them. Your femur was sawed off, the socket reamed, and muscles were cut or stretched unnaturally to the limit. No way that’s not gonna hurt. I’ve not experienced real pain yet, but it seems taking meds as prescribed is the way to at least dull the edge - I suppose I’ll soon test that hypothesis!

What Is Not Working: aside from my other hip, TBD. Hopefully will be a short list when it’s all said and done.
I religiously took my pain meds on schedule for the first week or two and suffered only from stiffness and mild discomfort as a result. I slept at random times and didn’t worry about it. I needed the bathroom every hour which meant regular short walks around the house and up and down stairs. The TV and radio were useful because I didn’t have the concentration to read to start with.
Good luck with your recovery.
Welcome to the other side @tanvat ! Slow and steady - you've got this!

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.
Thank you so much. Given the time of this reply, it appears I’m taking Gloucestergal65’s advice! I think that will work though. It seems recovery is something we can guide a bit but it also guides us. We’ll see - never done this before. Thanks again.
Taking your pain medication around the clock, as prescribed in these early days is key to regaining mobility. The trick is to stay ahead of the pain for now. When you start forgetting doses (usually midday) it's a sign you are weaning off the meds.
Day 1: a little over 24 hours out of suregery and all is well. My left thigh is getting tighter and more sore as expected. Probably a prelude to swelling. No additional visible bruising beyond the tiny bit peeking out from the dressing. I suspect the next few days will involve some additional discomfort and/or pain. But, at least it’s healing pain. The legit chair recliner is worth its weight in gold - the early returns say if you are getting a THR and don’t have one, you should get one. I rented one for a month for a very reasonable $275 delivered - worth it already IMO.
The legit chair recliner is worth its weight in gold - the early returns say if you are getting a THR and don’t have one, you should get one. I rented one for a month for a very reasonable $275 delivered - worth it already IMO.
I loved my lift recliner and needed it just for a month, also. Funny enough, I loved it and even slept in mine but when I was better I couldn't wait to get it removed from my home! I guess that makes me a fair weather friend.
Could I have recovered without it? Yes, but why struggle when there is such a wonderful solution?
You have a very practical outlook to your recovery and that will take you far!
Day 2 is going alright. Thigh is quite stiff. I slept for 6 straight hours which was a blessing…but I mmthat meant I was about 8 hours between pain meds so I got behind and paid the price for a bit. Also had the low fever they said often follows general anesthesia. But better today. And better than not being in recovery - this is all progress.
Perfect - tornado warnings and need to go to the basement. Held off pain meds to avoid wooziness navigating stairs but paying for that. Oh well, roll with and adapt.
I hope the tornado missed you! Where are you geographically? There have been tornadoes in the most unexpected places... New Jersey and Pennsylvania and out here in SoCal too. We don't have many basements in SoCal so not sure where we'd go if tornado warnings were issued for my neighborhood.

I get my THR this Thursday and we're pretty close in age, so I'm looking forward to keeping track of your recovery once I embark on mine. Wishing you reduced swelling and more comfortable sleeping soon!

I’m in Missouri, so tornadoes are not unexpected. No significant touchdown nearby so no damage.

Day 3 feels better than Day 2. On the walker and I find it hard to imagine walking without one, even though I’ve done so my entire life, as recently as Thursday morning walking into the hospital. But, I know it will come and that recovery is measured in months, not days. Spending most of the day in the recliner, getting up every hour or someone I’m awake to hobble around the house. Start PT next Friday - will be interesting to see what their outlook is. Right now, all I can do is gently take two steps with the walker, paise, and the go again while using my arms/walker to bear a good amount of weight. Perhaps there will be significant improvement in the next few days, but I’m not sold on the value of PT at this point. We’ll see.
but I’m not sold on the value of PT at this point.
Well if you read the Big Tip at the end of the list of articles I left earlier you will see that at this stage PT really isn't needed. Unfortunately many PTs assign the same exercises for everyone who walks through their door. Recovery is just not "one side fits all". Walking and gentle stretches are all that is needed. Training and strength building can come later when you have recovered from all the trauma of the op.
but I’m not sold on the value of PT at this point. We’ll see.
We're not selling. In my opinion there is no value to PT at this point beyond foot pumps and walks to the bathroom and dining room.
If a major league pitcher fell and dislocated their shoulder would they have them attempting to pitch in a few days? We were forcefully dislocated at a joint that you never hear of people dislocating, it just ain't natural! Those muscles are not happy and forcing them to do things before they heal will not make them happier.

You comments state my concerns better than I did. Over two years ago, the first OS I consulted dissuaded me from THR b/c Inwas then 47 and he said average lifespan of hip prosthetic was 11 years. He sent me to PT. Bluntly, it was completely pointless. I was still hiking and exercising and was in good shape despite the arthritis yet Isoent good money and time to sit in a recumbent bike, do 20 pound leg presses Incouldnt even feel, etc - a truly kind blowing waste of time as if spending time on a recumbent bike was going to fix a left hip diagnosed with “severe”‘osteoarthritis. Anyway, I’m going on Friday, but it’s hard to see the point. I’m going around the house on the walker and then resting - anymore seems counterintuitive and counterproductive at this point. And I’m satisfied with my recovery given it’s been but four days since a controlled train wreck!
@tanvat - welcome to the other side and glad to hear things are progressing! You are around my age and height, so can relate well to your issues pre- and post-surgery. Some doctors are real morons I hate to say it. There are examples of people getting their hips replaced in the 1970s and they were still intact 40 years later. Imagine how much better these modern versions can do!

The first week is a series of ups and downs, that are encouraging and discouraging. The pain moves around for a while, as does the swelling and bruising. Don't read too much into the first 10 days or so. If you see moderate improvement, that is plenty.

As far as PT, I mean it is your hip and life, but no one has presented any actual evidence that PT greatly accelerates recovery. The hip joint itself works perfectly (assuming no issues during surgery) on day 1 - it's the muscles and connective tissues that need to heal. Which means they need rest before anything else. Just those little micro exercises and walking are all you need. If you want to amp things up in a month or two as you start to really recover, then go for it, but at the present time, PT is likely to cause more pain than healing. Best of luck!
Thanks, Caision113. The surgeon I went with suggested PT, but did not demand it. I may push back the first appointment.

Day 4 is like Day 3. Some swelling and stiffness. No way I would try to walk without the walker at this point. I can stand in the confines of the walker without using my arms for support, but I can tell my balance is tenuous. The variability in recovery should not be underestimated. My mother had a THR in her late 60’s and felt comfortable on a cane at the end of week one and was able to walk around the block about the same time without noticeable swelling or discomfort. Me, nearly 20 years younger and having led an active life, well I cannot see any chance ilof waking outside anytime soon … and that’s OK b/c it’s my recovery! All I’m reasonably sure of is that mountains will again be in my future. In the meantime, I’m tolerating recliner-potato life in between naps - thank goodness for podcasts and streaming!
And I’m satisfied with my recovery given it’s been but four days since a controlled train wreck!
That's what matters! My OS told me if I wanted he'd send me to PT but warned me they would hurt me. His attitude toward PT convinced me as my previous experience with PT when I had a knee surgery was not good.

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