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[THR] Herts hippy recovery

HertsHippy

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Dec 20, 2018
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61
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Hertfordshire
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I have only just found BoneSmart but thought it would be good to set out my progress which I had been recording.

I first had trouble with my hip in May 2015 after playing several competitive games of squash. At the start of the week I was fast and mobile but by the end of the week I was in a lot of pain and found it difficult to move on court.

I went to BUPA for assessment and was told I had FAI in both hips. An xray showed arthritis in my right hip and spurs on both (cam). After quite a bit of physio and a cortisone injection, things improved and I could walk reasonably well. Skiing in St Anton/Zurs was fine although walking back to the hotel was sometimes a bit tough. In May 2017 I went to the Lake District. I climbed Skiddaw quite fast (steep but very good and even path) but I took a tougher route up Helvelyn and found it very very hard, especially coming down on an uneven surface which gave me a jarring pain in my leg.

I was OK for the remainder of the year but I was gradually becoming less mobile despite doing a lot of work in the gym and Pilates 2 or 3 times a week.

In January 2018 I went skiing and found it very hard to do up my boots – things were clearly getting worse. During the year things got much worse and I started to find medium distance works tough and then found short walks (less than a mile) painful. I found the cross-trainer and cycling machines getting uncomfortable as my bones crunched. The only exercise I found comfortable was swimming and I started doing 1k to 2k several times a week.

I went to my GP in the summer of 2018 and was immediately referred for xray. This then went to the NHS triage system which said I should see an orthopaedic consultant. I got an appointment through the NHS within 2 weeks. The consultant showed me the xray and said I needed a new hip. He also noted that arthritis had shortened my right leg but he said would sort that. He booked me in for a new hip 2 months later on 23 October.

Two weeks before the operation I had my pre-op check up – all fine so the countdown began.
 
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HertsHippy

HertsHippy

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Hertfordshire
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The operation

I arrived at the hospital at 7:15 and was shown to my room where I had been booked for 3-4 days. I had been told not to drink after 6:00 but I was then told I would be seen in the afternoon and was given a jug of water to drink up to 10:00am

The anaesthetist came to discuss the options. He recommended epidural with sedation.

I thought I would be very nervous but was surprisingly calm. I knew that I needed the operation and also knew that it is a success for people older and less fit than me. My biggest worry was that the difference in leg length would not be fully corrected.

I was taken to theatre at 13:30, sedated and drifted away. I woke up around 15:30 in the rest room to be told the operation was over and all went well. I then was taken back to my room, with drip and drain attached, where I gradually recovered the feeling in my lower body. I then had a massaging device attached to my feet to keep the circulation going.

The surgeon popped in to inform me that my hip had been a mess and my new hip was now the strongest part of my body.

I had a sandwich, pudding and tea around 18:00 with my wife and mother visiting me.
 
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HertsHippy

HertsHippy

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My stay in hospital

I did not sleep much the first night after the operation due to the massaging device on my feet.

In the morning I had eggs benedict for breakfast (hospital food was excellent) and then managed my first visit to the en-suite with the help of the nurse and a walking frame. I could see that my legs were the same length as each other again - relief! I managed to have a wash and remove iodine from my legs.

The physio came twice and by the end of the day I was walking in the corridor with a frame.

In the evening my wife, son and girlfriend came with chocolates.

On day 2 I again had eggs benedict for breakfast. Getting out of bed was now getting a bit easier.

The physio got me walking with two sticks. I found it hard to coordinate moving the bad leg with the opposite arm. I also managed walking up and down stairs with the sticks in one hand.

Discharge from hospital

On day three I had a shower standing without help and was discharged at midday.

I was given codydramol for pain relief, morphine in case of severe pain (not used), the remaining course of various meds and syringes for blood thinning injections (to be administered by OH).

The staff during my stay were excellent – very caring and professional – and made my stay very pleasant all other things considered.
 
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HertsHippy

HertsHippy

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Back home

On the first day back home I relaxed and practiced exercises. The following day I changed the dressing. The wound had been leaking but it looked very neat – internal dissolving stitches with glue outside. Also changed the compression stockings with the help of OH. One week after the operation I was walking short distances outside with two sticks and walking inside with one.

Week 2

At the beginning of week 2 I was able to walk outside with one stick and gradually increased the distances. During the week I had my first trip to the supermarket (driven there by OH) although quite slow getting in and out of the car.I started walking further but probably overdid it as I was walking 2 miles by the end of the week which felt OK at the time but my hip started to become quite swollen and a bit sore.

I stopped the codydramol as the pain from the op eased and switch to occasional ibuprofen and paracetamol.

I had my first post-op drink to celebrate one week –with a new hip – just a small glass of wine. My body didn’t really want much alcohol.
 
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HertsHippy

HertsHippy

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Weeks 3 and 4

At the start of week 3 I had my first outpatient appointment with the physio. She commented on the difference in size of muscles in my legs. We moved on from the basic post-op exercises to supine marching and bridging.

During week 3 I was able to walk around the house without a stick and in week 4 I was going up the stairs properly although holding the bannister.
 
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HertsHippy

HertsHippy

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Weeks 5 and 6

At the start of week 5 I had my second outpatient physio. Movement was continuing to improve although the hip was still quite swollen. She tried to get me to bridge with the non-operated leg in the air – I just couldn’t lift the leg as the operated leg could not take the weight. However, three days later I was able to do it albeit with some tilting.

During week 6 I was able to start to walk modest distances outside without a stick – the furthest I went was 2 miles although that include a coffee stop. I was also now walking up stairs properly and without holding a bannister.

The swelling in my leg was coming down but I still had pains in the muscles around the operation and I could not stand for any time on the operated leg meaning that my gait was far from perfect.

At the end of week 6 I went for my third physio session. Exercises are now with resistance bands – bridging, hip abduction and squatting. She said I should now get back to the gym although avoiding the rowing machine and equipment which would bend the leg too far.

At the end of the week I was allowed to stop wearing the compression stockings and put on socks again!
 
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HertsHippy

HertsHippy

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Discharge

I went to see the surgeon 6 weeks after the operation. He said the movement was excellent. He said the pain and swelling in the hip was normal and was due to arthritis (and shortening of my leg) affecting the size and shape of the muscles. To walk better he said I needed to take longer straides. He said I would not notice the new hip in another 6 weeks. It would be OK to do anything apart from jumping from height. I asked about sport - skiing would possible later this season (I think I will defer a year to ensure I am fit and strong enough) and squash is “my call” – he said you only live once so do what you enjoy. I was discharged and I am now allowed to drive again – as well as sleep on my side.
 
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HertsHippy

HertsHippy

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Weeks 7 and 8

I drove for the first time again – great not to be reliant on others.

I went to the gym most days during weeks 7 and 8. Cycling, step machine, some weights and a bit of time in the pool, walking and swimming. It was great not to feel my bones crunching. At first I really felt tired noticing the lack of exercise over the last few weeks.

At the start of week 7 I could put socks on myself – with difficulty at the start of the week but easily by the end of the week.

I went to my first football match since the op – lots of walking and sitting on hard seats. I felt good at the start of the day and walked fast but was flagging later and my hip felt sore after walking a few miles.

During week 8 I managed to average 10,000 steps per day for the first time.

At the end of week 8 the muscles in my operated leg are still a bit weak and sore. However, I am now able to stand for around a minute on my operated leg although a bit wobbly and sore. While progress has been good to date there is still a long long way to go. My walking needs to improve – it is getting OK for short distances – if I go for longer walks I intend to use trekking poles. I have also put on around a stone in weight in the last few months and my fitness has declined. But I am now feeling much better than in the months before the operation and can walk faster. However it still feels like there is a long long way to go.
 

Layla

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Hi, Welcome to BoneSmart. Thanks for joining us.
I apologize as I haven't had time to get through your post yet. Will attempt it later.
Just wanted to Welcome you and leave our Recovery Guidelines of which some may still apply.
Wishing you a great day, weekend and a very Merry Christmas!

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

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. @HertsHippy
 

Jaycey

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Welcome to BoneSmart!
But I am now feeling much better than in the months before the operation and can walk faster. However it still feels like there is a long long way to go.
Indeed - this recovery can take many months. My first recovery took over one year due to limping around for too long. Give yourself time to heal. Patience is needed. But as you are already seeing - this surgery is life changing.
 

Josephine

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Well, what a story! I know Herts very well, lived in Barnet and Harlow for a good part of my life!
I see you are in St Albans. Which private hospital and which surgeon did you use (just out of interest!)?
 
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HertsHippy

HertsHippy

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@Josephine - I had the operation at the Spire hospital in Harpenden through the NHS. It is an exceptionally nice hospital with great staff - very clean and very good food. My surgeon was very experienced - I guess for him it was a very routine procedure as he does so many.
 
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HertsHippy

HertsHippy

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It's over 9 weeks since I got my new hip and generally I am doing quite well. I can walk briskly and much faster than before the op although I do wobble after a bit as my hips get tired. I can also go up the stairs properly and quickly - before the op I had to hold the bannisters and could not lift the bad leg above the good leg.

However I get sore around the new hip. I am tender on the side (glutus medius??) and find it uncomfortable lying on my side without some padding. I also get pains in the groin from time to time (adductors??) - eg after walking for a while. But what concerns me is that I cannot balance on my operated hip for long - I struggle to do more than a minute - I wobble and the muscles struggle. However this is better than a couple of weeks ago when I could only do a few seconds. Pre-op I could balance on my bad leg for quite a long time although I could not do sit to stand on the bad leg.

My OS at 6 weeks said my hip was good and ROM excellent but my adductors were weak and had changed shape from the arthritis which had shortened my leg. He discharged me and said I would soon not notice the new hip. I hope he is right.

I know everyone's recovery is different and depends on a number of factors but is it normal to struggle to balance on the operated leg at this stage? When do others find that they can stand as well on each leg?
 

Jaycey

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is it normal to struggle to balance on the operated leg at this stage?
Totally normal - especially if you limped around for awhile pre-op. Muscles atrophy and it can take awhile for them to reengage. Give it time. You are already seeing progress.
 

gloveguy

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@HertsHippy, welcome to BS and thank you for the detailed account of your surgery and recovery journey, this far.
I’m 4 weeks, yesterday, from my RTHR and my recovery seems to be on par with yours, at the 4 week mark, which is encouraging as I read through your recovery through week 8.
The only minor difference was I certainly didn’t get Eggs Benedict for breakfast for the one morning I was in the hospital! I think I’ll be heading out for breakfast this Sunday as your recovery thread has me craving it now, lol!!
Onward & upward my fellow hippy! :wave:
 

SurreyGirl

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I love Eggs Benedict!

The standing on one leg is the exercise my physio has me doing but only after three months out. I have good and bad days re balancing on one leg but it is getting better.

6 weeks is still early days. Lots of healing happening. Don’t be surprised if you get a bit of burning pain around the scar as more movement wakes things up. Are you allowed to massage around the area yet. This helps...

The gluteus medius is a tricky muscle for me to. I walked a mile uphill Yesterday with my Leki and it did react a bit afterwards but I am convinced now it will all come in time and I have to be patient - not my best trait!

I make sure I stand upright and don’t walk too fast. Although it is tempting!

All fine this morning...

One tip, I find I now need to drink loads more water than before - it seems to help with the tiredness. Lots of protein too as things repair themselves internally. Just a thought...
 

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