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THR Hipster-2's Recovery Thread

Hipster-2

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Hello Team,
I have left THR tomorrow morning - 53-year old woman with an active career and lifestyle. I had right THR almost a year ago, and suffered some significant soft tissue complications that are still a quality of life issue today, though slowly improving. As that issue was apparently very rare, I will post all about it at some point to give hope to others who may experience the same. Short version - postop seromas are not innocuous!

My hip issues are the result of mild to moderate hip dysplasia and acetabular impingement; had I known this perhaps I wouldn’t have been a runner all my life, and chosen a lower-impact form of aerobic exercise instead. As it was, I experienced no hip pain until around 48 years of age when I tore the right labrum and DJD began to accelerate rapidly. By 2019 it was more than I could tolerate and I had the anterior THR. Although I had moderate to severe arthritis in the left hip at the time and knew the clock was ticking on that one, I was very disappointed when the labrum tore a few months after right THR. I hoped it would settle down with conservative management and I would have a few years before hip replacement was required (as I’d had with the right side), but the instability and pain accelerated rapidly over subsequent months. I was not scared at all going into right THR - I have high pain tolerance and have always bounced back very quickly after any surgery, minor or major. But since the last year has been such a dark hole of pain and disability I am far more worried this time around and hoping for a much easier go of it.
Best wishes to all for an uneventful procedure and smooth recovery!
 

Celle

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Hello @Hipster-2 - and :welome:
I hope your surgery goes well.

Please will you tell us the full date of your hip replacement, so we can make a signature for you? Knowing the exact date will help us to advise you appropriately in the future.
Thank you.:flwrysmile:

When we know the date, I will be able to add your name to the June Sunbeams surgery list.

I have moved your post, above, from the June Sunbeams and started a recovery thread for you. The purpose the Sunbeams thread is mainly to note people's surgery dates, so people can see who is having surgery at about the same time as they are,- it's also used for statistical purposes.
Discussion of issues, comments, and questions regarding recovery must be kept in your individual recovery threads
 

Celle

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Here is your copy of our Recovery Guidelines - lots of helpful information is in these articles.
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. Try to follow this

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 the 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 the member’s history before providing advice, so please post any updates or questions you have right here in this thread.
 
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Hipster-2

Hipster-2

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Certainly - my left hip replacement was yesterday (June 23) and the right one was July 13, 2019.
 

Hip4life

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Welcome to the healing side! I hope you are doing well and as comfortable as you can be at this stage. Please update us as you feel able.
 

Layla

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:hi: Happy Thursday
I hope you’re resting comfortably and your pain is well managed. We’re here for support, or company, if you need us.
A peaceful day to you. :)
@Hipster-2
 
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Hipster-2

Hipster-2

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Thanks, all!
I had a really rough recovery (horrible nausea and weakness) compared to previous surgeries and my right THR, but am back home and feeling much better. I did not get much sleep at the overnight care center (y’all know the drill with that) but slept surprisingly well last night - only getting up once for drugs and a pee. I am envying men just now, as lowering myself to the toilet to pee is the most painful thing right now! I have substantial muscle pain, but between icing, Celebrex, and Tylenol-3 every 4 hours it is perfectly manageable. Plus some pain helps to limit my activity, which I am really focusing on for the next 10-14 days to avoid the kind of seroma/soft tissue complications I experienced after right THR. I have a high tolerance for musculoskeletal pain so tend to get active very soon after surgeries - I am specifically avoiding that here so all of the soft tissues seal well! I even brought home a walker this time around - I don’t really need it to get around the house, but using it slows me down and forces me take smaller steps, so I plan to use it for the next 10 days or so.

I am also renting a Game Ready machine that will provide essentially continuous chilling and compression. I was hoping to get this from my surgeon’s office so I could use it from post-op Day 1, but it had to be drop-shipped from CA so won’t arrive until later today (Day 2) or tomorrow.

Warm wishes to all Forum members, especially those immediately post-op or enduring complications!
 
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DEL2020Jul-11

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@Hipster-2 , I am truly sorry for the ordeal that you have been going through with your right hip. I am sure that what you learned about yourself over the past year, will help you as you go through recovery for your left hip. Thank you for sharing some of your healing journey on your post to Westy. For me, prayer is a form of meditation, and I have found praying out loud with my family and closest friends, brings me comfort and a sense of connection with my loved ones and with the Lord.

I am saying prayers for your complete recovery of both of your hips, for pain relief, and for return to full function.
 
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Hipster-2

Hipster-2

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As an atheist, prayer is not in my wheelhouse but I know what a tremendous source of support faith and prayer can be. At one point when I was at my lowest after the right THR, I was doing a telephone consultation with a client - when I told her I was off clinical work with medical issues she asked if I would mind if she said a prayer for my recovery. The offer came from such a place of kindness and compassion that of course I accepted at once. I assumed this meant she would include me in her general prayers at some point in time, but she commenced right there on the phone with a detailed spoken prayer was about 10 minutes long. There are no words to describe how much this moved me, and within a minute I was weeping like a child - it was such a pure distillation of compassion and love. So while I have often envied believers the support their faith can provide in times of crisis, I learned that day what value prayer can have even for an atheist like me! ❤
 
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CricketHip

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Hello @Hipster-2 Glad to read that you are beginning to feel a bit better and that you are home and resting comfortably.
Your description of your dysplasia and running for years could have easily been written by me.. aargh! I've thought the same thing many times, if maybe I hadn't run as many miles...etc etc.
Also am in agreement with you in regards to meditation, etc that you had mentioned on another member's thread.
I practice mindfulness which is very beneficial.

You mentioned using the walker, that's a wonderful tool in the beginning and helps to establish your gait when walking.. you are off to a good start!
 
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Hipster-2

Hipster-2

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@CricketHip
20/20 hindsight and all that. We may have ended in the same boat anyway - my surgeon says he sees plenty of similar dysplasia cases each year in 50-ish folks my age that have always been sedentary. Like me, everything was fine with them until it wasn’t. So it may just be the price we have to pay for the abnormal anatomy, and at least we had the pleasure of all those years of wind in our hair and strength in our bodies. I am grateful to be living in a time when such surgeries are available; though the future may bring challenges, complications, or revisions down the line, at least surgery gives me a chance to remain active and continue my career much longer than I could manage without it.
 
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DEL2020Jul-11

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@Hipster-2
Thank you for understanding that I meant no offense with my prayers for your full recovery and in the future, I will first ask if someone wants me to pray for him/her!

Thank you for sharing your lovely story about your client who prayed for you when you were at a low point after your previous hip replacement.

I hope that your recovery continues to go well.
 
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Layla

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I am grateful to be living in a time when such surgeries are available; though the future may bring challenges, complications, or revisions down the line, at least surgery gives me a chance to remain active and continue my career much longer than I could manage without it.
So true! We really are blessed in the regard of having the option of joint replacement. In the not so distance past, many ended up in wheelchairs.

You’re on your way out of the dark hole of pain and misery, as you described it. It’s going to be great! :yes!: A happy weekend to you!
 

Layla

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Happy One Month Anniversary!
Hopefully you’ve been doing well since we last heard from you.
We‘d love to hear about your progress, as time allows.
Will look forward to reading an update from you soon...all the best! :)
@Hipster-2
 
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Hipster-2

Hipster-2

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Thanks for the kind good wishes and reminder for an update, Layla.

I am doing fine, though impatient to be farther along and more functional. I used a walker for 3 or 4 days after returning home from surgery - not because I needed the support but as a way to force myself to slow down. After my first hip replacement a year ago, I had a seroma lateral to the incision site that grew and grew - it became very large and, unlike most seromas, was very painful. At 3 weeks post-op, my surgeon drained it but in less than a week it returned despite my efforts to prevent that with spica bandages and the like. Then it ruptured into my leg, commencing a repeating cycle of painful formations and ruptures, with associated inflammation that resulted in a serious problem with abnormal scar tissue and adhesion formation from my pelvis to my knee. There is more to that tale, but the resulting pain and disability made this the worst year of my life and I am just now beginning to turn the corner on that problem. Though I may now have a psoas impingement issue related to the reduced mobility - sigh...

Long story short, it was a very high priority for me that I NOT develop any seromas or repeat that horrorshow after this surgery. Hence I was excruciatingly cautious for the first 2 weeks post op - moving very slowly, not doing any kind of exercises, and only walking the bare minimum needed to get from bedroom to kitchen to bathroom. The leg itself felt as good as one would expect having been semi-amputated and turned inside out, but I have a high tolerance for that kind of pain so it wasn’t an obstacle to mobility - hence the walker to slow me down and remind me to take care. After a few days I had formed the habit and ditched the walker; I didn’t really need the cane at that point so that was it for use of any aids. Oh, I also commenced wearing Spanx shorts as soon as I could after surgery to help guard against seroma formation - started with XL ones at about a week when the leg was still tender to pressure and was down to my actual Small size by the 2-week mark when all swelling had resolved. I also used a Game Ready cryotherapy unit for the first 10 days or so, and after a couple of weeks began using a cold laser on the incision and surrounding soft tissues once daily just because I have a unit and can. :) Who knows whether it’s doing anything.

Although the leg was pretty good from the beginning I felt quite ill at first - I had a super-rough recovery after general anesthesia for the surgery, and remained nauseous, weak, and lightheaded with low blood pressure for around 2 weeks. At that point the nausea and weakness began to subside, and with the leg doing well and no gigantic seromas materializing I gave myself permission to begin some walks outside - the usual progression from driveway, to sidewalk, to the surrounding neighborhood. I walk twice per day unless the heat is terrible (which makes me faint), and my Activity app tells me that during Week 4 I’ve been doing 5000-7000 steps per day. My morning walk today was 1.65 miles on flat streets and some woodsy trails, so my afternoon walk will be considerably shorter and mainly for the benefit of my screwed-up soft tissues over the right hip. Any discomfort I feel with the newly-operated left leg is related to (1) the incision line (there are actually some small fluid pockets under there that are the source of some pain/tenderness - I don’t like the added pressure of pants so am wearing only nuu-muu dresses over the Spanx), and (2) my gluteus medius gets really crampy with longer bouts of standing and/or walking. My right leg with the scar tissue problems is a far greater source of pain than the newly-operated left leg, and a bigger obstacle to getting computer-based teaching work done. Which I really need to be doing now since the end of summer is looming! Just this week I began doing a few gentle exercises now and then - nowhere near the number in the pamphlet the PT gave me, just a few to begin gently moving my leg and joint in new ways and seeing how it feels. I can do stairs normally and lift my leg well enough to put on pants normally, wash my foot, shave my lower leg, etc.

Drugwise, I am still on aspirin (one 325mg tablet per day) and another NSAID once daily - on Monday I switched from Celebrex 200mg to meloxicam 7.5mg. At the time I wasn’t sure the NSAID was doing much for me in terms of analgesia, but I now believe it is because I was definitely less comfortable than usual on Tuesday and Wednesday. Meloxicam takes a few days to reach full blood levels and I don’t think I got to a therapeutic level until today, when comfort returned to baseline again. I am also taking Tylenol - 1000mg three times daily, though I sometimes fall asleep before taking my night-time dose and this doesn’t have any ill effects. So perhaps I’ll go to twice-daily sometime soon and assess response.

One thing I’m very grateful for is the fact that the new hip has improved a leg length discrepancy that I have hated since the first surgery. Although it wasn't as dramatic as many I’ve read about on this site (just shy of a half-inch), it really played havoc with my lower back and SI issues. Wearing a heel lift helped, but anytime this was difficult or impossible (showering, walking around the house barefoot, wearing shoes that don’t accommodate a lift) I found the problem very uncomfortable and a real threat to my back issues. Even with a heel lift leveling out my pelvis and spine, it changed my stance and gait in uncomfortable ways. Getting the second hip done has not resulted in perfectly equal leg lengths (the left leg is still shorter) but matters are much improved. When walking I do not notice the discrepancy at all, though when standing still I definitely have to rearrange my stance to accommodate it. I don’t believe this is going to change with time. Overall an enormous improvement and relief, though.

Okay fellow smarties, I think that may be all the news that’s fit to print!
TL;DR - I think all is fine so far, and I plan to continue being really cautious because any new problems after all the issues this past year would be devastating. After a year as a shut-in I really need to return to my career and life!
 
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Layla

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Hello @Hipster-2
It looks as though you’re a little over six weeks post op now. Hopefully all is well since you last updated almost two weeks ago.

I noticed you commented on an old thread of a member who hasn’t been around in quite some time and mentioned riding. If it’s horseback riding, there is a member who’s been around a little more recently, the beginning of the year, and she’s an avid horse lover who anxiously awaited getting back to riding. She was able to, but her non op hip began bothering her and the last we heard she was in the process of trying to schedule a second THR. Here is a link to her thread if interested -

Happy healing as you continue the journey!
 
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Hipster-2

Hipster-2

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@Layla
Super - thanks so much for the tip on other relevant threads!

I am doing well at 6 weeks. These things always progress more slowly than we like, but I have not suffered any complications (knocking frantically on wood!) and am making slow steady progress. I have been testing the water with some gentle ROM stretches over the past 2 weeks, which feels great and is much needed. I am also doing a few of the PT exercises that were prescribed for right after surgery, and which I ignored in an abundance of caution. Nothing serious, just working on regaining a bit of muscle strength/mass and endurance. Mostly I just walk - anything from 4-6 miles per day in 2 sessions, shortening things up if I feel sore in any way. The pain of the soft tissue complications over my right hip (THR more than a year ago) is far more distressing than anything I am experiencing with the new hip. If only that one had gone more smoothly! But I am grateful to be having an uneventful recovery this time, and hope that this will continue.

The biggest pain I have from the recent hip is related to the incision line and the subcutaneous and/or fascial tissue immediately beneath - they are still somewhat tender and I avoid wearing any kind of tight pants. Or any pants for that matter - I live in SPANX stretch shorts, so it’s just as well that COVID is keeping me at home. If I sit on the couch for a while with my knees drawn up and hips flexed, the incision line complains when I straighten the hip or stand up - there’s something in there that is not yet completely healed, and small volumes of fluid squirt around under the skin occasionally. Compared to the soft tissue problems over the other hip, this is nothing at all - but I will be relieved when this resolves because I could not bear a Round 2 of that horrific situation.

Warm hugs to everyone else that has recently undergone this enormous surgery.
 
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