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Hip Arthroscopy Hip Arthroscopy recovery

frogger

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Hi everyone,

I just found this forum after getting a hip arthroscopy. I’m only 2.5 weeks past surgery but I wanted to share my situation and get some opinions and advice.

I imagine I’m getting ahead of myself but I do feel concern that my hip is still feeling inflamed and painful – and I’m getting cracking in the joint that feels similar to the pre-surgery FAI.

My story:
  • It’s a bit of a downer story. I had an injury many years ago (roughly 7 years ago) which I didn’t realise caused something to go wrong with my hip.
  • I did lots of yoga because it seemed to help but actually it was making it worse. I finally discovered it was a labrum tear after some doctors misdiagnosed me. Quite a large tear.
  • I wanted to move overseas though and that caused a delay. Then covid created another delay. Finally I got the surgery this year and was shocked to learn it wasn’t just a labrum tear, the labrum had detached from the bone.
The surgery:
  • Surgeon says it went well.
  • He sewed up the tear. Reattached the labrum to the bone and shaved off the bone spurs. He said there was tons of inflammation.
Post surgery meds:
  • Naproxen twice a day (mandatory). Also something for my stomach and an anticoagulant injection.
  • Paracetamol if I'm still in pain.
  • Another two types of painkilllers if there's still more pain.
One of my big challenges is that I’ve moved to a first world country with excellent healthcare but I’m still learning the language. Only my surgeon could speak English, none of the nurses, nor the physio at the hospital could. So I have this constant fear that I’ve missed something and maybe I’ll do something wrong during the recovery as a result.

Post surgery recovery:
  • I had several “clacks” in my joints during the first week which seemed to be good. It felt like things were resetting.
  • I was able to walk with a single crutch within a week. That felt great.
  • But it also made me overestimate myself I think. After two weeks I tried to use some stairs without crutches (I think I used my recovering leg for just 10 steps) but that night I was in agony and it feels like it was a major setback. My leg also swelled a bit again.
  • I’ve been having a constant desire to twist my leg inward and click the joint. It relieves tension and then within 5 minutes I feel the need again.
  • I had more swelling again and used ice. It helped and then my joint clacked again. Maybe it was another reset? My joint is clicking less now tonight.
Overall I’m reflecting over the last 2.5 weeks and there were many good days but also several bad days in terms of pain levels. I assume this is normal but it would be great if someone here could reassure me. The days when the pain was really bad made me feel pretty depressed - has the surgery really worked was the question that crossed my mind.

The setback a few days ago has left me a bit spooked and I'm wondering how long I should stay on that single crutch for.

Are these pains normal? Are the clicks and clacks normal? Can I only heal if I'm not in pain? Should I be going full on with these painkillers to reduce the pain as much as possible? Is it normal to be icing 2.5 weeks after the surgery?

Also my mandatory meds are due to expire in a few days. If I'm in pain after that point, is that normal? Or should I be asking my surgeon for more meds?

I was hoping people here could give some thoughts and some more realistic expectations.

Cheers
 

Mojo333

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:wave:@frogger
Welcome to BoneSmart!
Can you please supply the date of your surgery and which hip was worked on so we can add this info to your signature?

I am sorry that you are struggling and that you are dealing with the stress of the added language barrier that makes you feel like you aren't able to easily communicate with your health care team.:unsure:

Having the labrum completely detached must have been very painful but I'm glad they have it repaired so the healing has begun.

This is major surgery and unfortunately recovery from this procedure can be long and uncomfortable.

At only weeks out the muscles and soft tissues are still traumatised. It will take awhile for things to firm up around the hip joint again. Ice and elevate your op leg often. If you are doing any exercise stop and let all this settle.

I am not as familiar with the recovery niggles from this arthroscopic procedure but perhaps some other members will weigh in.

Below I will leave you some recovery guidelines...there are for hip replacement, but the recovery tips are still applicable.
 
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Mojo333

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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 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.
 

Mojo333

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You might like to click on the prefix Hip Arthroscopy and you will get all the threads pertaining to that topic which might help you get a look at of other members' recovery stories.
 
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frogger

frogger

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:wave:@frogger
Welcome to BoneSmart!
Can you please supply the date of your surgery and which hip was worked on so we can add this info to your signature?
Oh I see, I added it to my signature. Thank you!

And thanks for the welcome! This forum looks very nice and helpful!

Having the labrum completely detached must have been very painful but I'm glad they have it repaired so the healing has begun.
Yeah, the news was a big shock after the surgery. But it made a lot more sense because I'd been in quite a bit of pain and my first doctors/surgeons didn't seem to think it should be as painful as I described.

This is major surgery and unfortunately recovery from this procedure can be long and uncomfortable.

At only weeks out the muscles and soft tissues are still traumatised. It will take awhile for things to firm up around the hip joint again. Ice and elevate your op leg often. If you are doing any exercise stop and let all this settle.
Ok. That's all good to know.

Sometimes doing a bit of exercises (from the physio) seems to make it feel good (I guess due to blood flow?) but then I'm getting that pain again in the joint. So I'll back off the exercises and focus on walking with a single crutch again.

I think because it was starting to feel good last week, and I felt I could move off the crutch, I was resistant to the idea of "returning to it" or "staying on it".

Other factors that have made it all more challenging is that:
- I live alone (although a friend helped out for the first 2 weeks).
- My apartment building doesn't have an elevator and I live a few floors up.

I am not as familiar with the recovery niggles from this arthroscopic procedure but perhaps some other members will weigh in.

Below I will leave you some recovery guidelines...there are for hip replacement, but the recovery tips are still applicable.
Thanks a lot Mojo, this is all very reassuring. I'd read some other threads and seen they were about THR's so I wondered if I was overcomplaining with my questions/thoughts.

I hope some people who have gone through hip arthroscopy can share their thoughts based on what I've described.
 

Layla

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Hello and Happy Tuesday! @frogger
Welcome and thanks for joining us here. I’m sorry the injury you suffered seven years ago progressed to the point it did. I wish you comfort as you’re healing. I hope the thought of a brighter future without pain lightens your mood when you’re feeling down. Hang in there and stop by often. We’d love to support and encourage you through your healing journey.

Let’s see if the member I tagged below will stop by to offer some insight through her Bilateral Hip Arthroscopy experience so far.
@2NewHipsWhoThis

I hope you have a nice day! :SUNsmile:
 

Jockette

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I hope some people who have gone through hip arthroscopy can share their thoughts based on what I've described.
Here are the some members who have had hip arthroscopy, you can read their experiences:

 
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frogger

frogger

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Hi everyone. Thanks for reassuring me again and sharing the list of hip arthroscopy threads. It’s interesting to read all those stories and see that I am definitely in a good place of recovery.

I think part of my challenge is that I lived with the pain for many years and I realised recently I had to get it fixed. That’s not to say I expected the surgery to be an instant fix. But I’m trying to make sure I don’t fall into the trap of thinking “this isn’t so bad. I can live with this” again. Because that’s how I ended when I got to.

I can definitely say my desire to click the joint is happening less I think. And I’ve been focusing on doing the basic physio exercises.

However I have definitely felt impingement in the joint and that sensation of the hip “catching” as I try to walk normally again. Can I just confirm that this is normal? And it’s not risky for me to be going through this during the first 6 weeks?

The only other frustration I’ve felt is my glute and hamstring have been in pain but I have had two hamstring tears in the last 4 years or so. So I feel it’s connected to that and it will settle.

thanks again for your thoughts and encouragement. Would love insights into my impingement question!
 

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I have definitely felt impingement in the joint and that sensation of the hip “catching”
In your first post on this thread you said the surgeon shaved off the bone spurs. So there shouldn't be any impingement. There will be lots of inflammation however.

Are you icing regularly throughout the day? It's very early in your recovery. You need to give this time to settle.

When do you see your surgeon for a post op follow-up. Ask to have someone help you get information translated at that meeting.
 
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frogger

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In your first post on this thread you said the surgeon shaved off the bone spurs. So there shouldn't be any impingement. There will be lots of inflammation however
Ok. Good to know! If inflammation can explain it then that's good. It definitely felt like catching/impingement today... Hmm.

Are you icing regularly throughout the day? It's very early in your recovery. You need to give this time to settle.
I'm usually only icing at night and when I feel like there's inflammation. But if you think I should just ice regularly either way, then I will.

The nurse at the hospital told me I'd only need to ice for a week after the surgery (I could understand her french). But yeah, I have already realised (based on my own experience and from reading the threads) that this was totally unrealistic.

When do you see your surgeon for a post op follow-up. Ask to have someone help you get information translated at that meeting.
My surgeon speaks English. He was basically the only person who could at the hospital. If I had to pick one person who could speak English it would be him :)
 

Jaycey

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Ice for 45-60 minutes several times per day. Any shorter really doesn't address internal inflammation.

And please go easy on any PT you are doing. That hip is healing. You can strengthen later when everything has settled.
 
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frogger

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Yes I can see you’re right.

I am now a bit concerned that I have already pushed it too far and done something to the joint... I mean, the hip is popping and clicking. Is it possible the labrum could already have come loose from the bone? :-(
 

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Although overdoing it or doing too much exercise can be counter productive to recovery, it's highly unlikely that you would do any actual damage to the joint itself. But it's amazing how much of a problem inflamed soft tissue can be. Jaycey is right. You are early in your recovery. Scale it back a bit in terms of exercise and activity, lots of icing and elevation for your hip, and take something if you have pain or swelling. You hopefully will have years of benefit from the procedure. There is no reason to try and hurry your recovery.....and plenty of reasons NOT to do that!
 
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frogger

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I understand. All I’m taking now is paracetamol and icing.

It feels like walking without crutches really brings on a lot of pain. Yesterday I felt good and I did a couple of 10-15 minute walks, today I’ve woken up stiff and in pain.

I hope I can move off crutches without pain soon. It’s now 3.5 weeks since the surgery :-(
 

Mojo333

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:wave: @frogger
This is definitely a process, right?
And it really does seem that while in motion we can push through, but the repercussions come after some time at rest. Stiffness and aches for me.
Were your walks yesterday without the crutch?

My suggestion would be small cruises about, 5 min or less without and sometimes shorter periods of time walking several times per day with assisted device and with follow up ice and elevation can be more helpful.

Still early days, my friend.
A cane or crutch will help you baby that leg a bit until if feels ready to go solo.

Keep the faith, friend. Hope your weekend is sweet.
 
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frogger

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Yeah... I walked yesterday without the crutch :-(

I'll try to restrain myself.

@Mojo333 do you still have stiffness and aches after walking? Even after your surgery was nearly 4 years ago? You don't use a crutch or walking stick now, do you?
 

Mojo333

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No. Well, I'm about to be 58 and with good hips and an active job, I have mostly other joints that can ache with overuse. My legs and hips are great. No walking devices needed.:chuckmarch:
I used my walker and then my cane for the first two months and then sporadically when I felt I was overdoing it.
I know it seems slow:bored:but I would stick with your crutch/cane for proper walks and leave solo cruises for short trips about the house.
You will get there.
 
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frogger

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Well that’s great to hear you’re doing well!

Yesterday was particularly dumb because I bought groceries and carried them home without crutches. It really wasn’t heavy so I thought it would be fine. But I can see it would’ve done less damage if I’d stayed on the crutch during it.

And this morning I bent over while changing and felt my hamstring or sit bones pop. It’s something I used to do before the surgery but it hadn’t happened since the surgery.

Now tonight I’m struggling to sleep due to the pain. Taking an extra paracetamol to see if it helps. Sigh.

I’ll focus on being more careful this week and wait to see my surgeon for more questions. Thanks again for your support everyone
 

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@frogger...We are all anxious to do things and many of us in the hippie family have overdone it a few times.
I think it’s a wake up call to let us know we are trying too hard and just take it easier. Slowly hip heals ok...on its own.
So a few tips. For every day ... get plenty of rest, protein shakes help a lot and ice,eat a good diet (non inflammatory foods )and most importantly new shoes for your new walking gate your developing with good arch supports will give you a good start .

Soft tissue takes almost a year or more to heal and regain endurance, and our brains need to adjust to the hips sending new messages.

You might try a rollinator walker it has 4 wheel drive, swivel wheels you can turn on a dime, has hand breaks and a pull down seat also equipped with a basket.So if ya need a rest or put groceries in the basket. Or sit down and call someone for a ride home next time, it makes recovery life a lot easier. Also really helps develop a good walking gate.
 
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frogger

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Hi everyone. Just sharing a bit of an update.

On Monday my inflammation started to drop quite a bit. I continued to ice my hip and take it easy. I started to realise that a lot of the inflammation was around the upper TFL so I iced there and across the joint area (i.e. the hip flexor).

On Tuesday, my inflammation was almost entirely gone. No pain really in the glute or the hip at all. Quite amazing from that perspective actually.

But... on Monday night I started to realise that my hip was very stiff and that I had a pain with certain movements and if I tried to move too quickly. I'll try to explain it better:
  • Sometimes while walking it's a sudden instability as I try to walk on the right leg. A pain fires along the front of the hip from the hip flexor.
  • I saw my physio and I discovered while lying down, then lifting my right leg a bit and then moving the right leg outward to the right (like opening scissors) that this easily caused the pain to fire. At one point it fired quite sharply. almost like a shooting pain.
  • When I stand up after sitting, I'm finding a very tight and resisting pain from the hip flexor towards the TFL. It feels like muscles/tendons are stuck together.
  • I've noticed that the area around the hip flexor and the inguinal ligament is quite tense and bulging at the moment. Although it's not painful to touch at all.
  • The feeling is a bit disconcerting, it almost had that feeling you get that something could "snap" if I was not careful with the movements. But I think that's in my head.
  • It felt like it got better throughout the day as I stayed a little bit active.
Note: My physio thought it was muscle injury from me pushing myself too much 2 weeks ago.

It's now Wednesday morning and I still have these issues in the TFL and hip flexor. I'll continue to take it easy. I just wondered if anyone knows what this is and why it would manifest 4 weeks after the surgery. Did I ice too much for example? I didn't think I was icing a lot compared to what people describe in the forum.

Overall I'm pretty amazed to see other pain and symptoms disappearing rapidly but I'm just super curious what is this new sensation :chinstroke:
 

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