THR If I need a double Hip Replacement can I still work a physical job?

57YearOldMe

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57 Year old male here with Arthritis in both hips and was wondering if I end up needing 2 Hip replacements would I still be able to work a physical job? I do warehouse work....lifting, bending, picking up boxes up to 65#, riding on stand up forklifts which a lot of times I have to be stepping up and down off of many times during the day. I'll be 58 in a few months and need to work until I'm 65 so I'm eligible for Medicare/Social Security. I live alone so both the surgery/recovery will be daunting enough but I'm more worried about being able to go back to my job?? Looking for a new job with 2 new hip replacements would be impossible. Can't believe I wish I was 65 already...LOL. Has anyone else on this forum faced this problem before? I see people lifting weights doing squats with 2 new hips and cringe. I just want to remain employed so I can pay my bills. Any response from anyone would be greatly appreciated.
 

Giddsy1

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I had hip replacement on 2 Feb nearly 11 weeks ago I am 49, I am back in full time work but taking it cautiously. I know how you feel, I got to work till 70 before I pay off my mortgage. Though I am in alot less pain than before op. And I am getting better every day. I was told by surgeon my other hip was not the best and I would need that done in the next few years, but I will just have to wait and see. I have quite a physical job fitting windows and conservatories.
I am confident my new hip will last for 25 yrs so I can carry on working. I was lucky I had savings so I was able to take off 8 weeks from work, I will save like mad so if I need the other one done in the future I will be able to take off another 8 weeks, because for me I needed it before I went back to heavy duty work. I don't know about having both hips done at the same time though, I would imagine the recovery would take a bit longer.

I was in alot of pain before op and sometimes had to hide it in work, I don't think I could have carried on much longer in work with that pain.
Now I am confident I can carry on till I am 70.
 
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57YearOldMe

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Giddys1, Thank you so much for answering me.....I didn't think anyone could see my post. If I need to have it done it would be one at a time....Left one hurts the most but the right looks worse on Ex-rays. Going to a second doctor to see where I stand. I always said I wanted to work until 70 so I could be financially able to do it but then this happened and I just need to know it's not impossible for me to go back to work so I can pay my bills. I give you a lot of credit for being back to work in such a short amount of time with a physical job. The one thing I don't see on forums like this is how do people pay their bills if they are not working or what they do for a living. Your response was much appreciated and it helps knowing other people are going through the same thing and getting it done...Thank You!
 

Giddsy1

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no worries 57yearoldme.

if you need any help or have any questions please don't hesitate to ask. like I say I know how you feel. The financial side can be just as worrying as the physical pain side. I worried a hell of alot about this, and thought if I can't go back to work after 8 weeks how will I pay my bills will I lose my house, I think these are all thoughts most of us have. I had a plan to be back to work at a set period of time and the plan is going well. like I say I am back in work full time now. I would book off work for 12 weeks because you have physical job, I know sometimes we can't do this financially but this will give you a good chance to recover in time.
like I say I am in alot less pain post op. I used to have to take painkillers everyday pre op and that was for about 4 yrs.

Now I haven't had to take any painkillers since 4 weeks post op.

Anyway I wish you all the best.

p.s. I also live alone and have my 14 and 13 year old children who stay with me 3 days a week.

After I had op I had my sister to stay with me for the first 2 nights though. The hospital recommended this. And I had to have microwave meals for first couple of weeks.
I had 2 crutches for first 2 weeks
1 crutch for next 2 weeks.
a walking stick for week 5.
and since then been walking unaided. although I did take cane with me until week 7 just in case.
 

djklaugh

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@57YearOldMe Welcome to BoneSmart! Have you seen an orthopedic surgeon yet? Or had x-rays of your hips taken? IF not, the x-rays would be the place to start to see just how bad the hips are. And if as you suspect both need replacing try to find a surgeon who is wiling to do a bilateral procedure. That IMO (and having had 2 really bad hips) is the best way to go. I was a bit older than you - 64yo - and my surgeon said doing both at once would be best for several reasons - 1 - just one surgery and one session of anesthesia = less risk; 2- only one hospital stay = less risk of hospital based infections; 3- one period of recuperation so for you less time off work; 4- less likely to have a leg length differential problem ( where one leg ends up a bit longer than the other); 5 - be able to get back to a normal gait faster. Doing one at a time means continuing to limp between surgeries.

I am now 10 years out from having bilateral hip replacements and though I am not nearly as physically active as you are the hips are doing very well! The key to getting back to your work will be having a lot of patience and doing your recuperation with thoughtfulness and careful restrengthening all the muscles around the hips.

As for living alone - yes it can be challenging but it is doable with some forethought. Perhaps a friend or relative could come be with you for a week or 2? Or a close neighbor who can check in with you every day and who would be willing to do errands.

Best of luck to you and do let us know how you get along.
 

Layla

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Hello and Welcome to BoneSmart. Thanks for joining us!

I’m going to leave you some pre-op reading material and then read through your posts and make some comments below.

HIP Pre-OP
If you are at the stage where you have joint pain but don't know for sure if you are ready to have surgery, these links may help:
Score Chart: How bad is my arthritic hip?
Choosing a surgeon and a prosthesis
BMI Calculator - What to do if your surgeon says you're too heavy for joint replacement surgery
Longevity of implants and revisions: How long will my new joint last?

If you are at the stage where you are planning to have surgery but are looking for information so you can be better prepared for what is to come, take a look at these links:
Recovery Aids: A comprehensive list for hospital and home
Recliner Chairs: Things you need to know if buying one for your recovery
Pre-Op Interviews: What's involved?

And if you want to picture what your life might be like with a replaced hip, take a look at the posts and threads from other BoneSmarties provided in this link:
Stories of amazing hip recoveries
 

Giddsy1

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also everybody on this site are a fantastic help and all the advice you get is a great help.
there are so many people who have had same experiences, so it really helps. I can't mention individuals because I would be afraid if I missed any. though I do know they have all been a fantastic help on my recovery.
 

Layla

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I see you connected with, Giddys1, who‘s a thoughtful member that left you some good advice. Also, djklaugh, above who experienced bi-lateral replacement which probably sounds overwhelming, but has its benefits as she’s pointed out. As you’re doing your research, I’d definitely look into a Phased Return To Work beginning at 12 weeks if that’s a possibility for you. http://bonesmart.org/forum/threads/phased-return-to-work.5696/

I just realized we‘re all chatting on the recovery side of the forum, so we’ll need to move this all over to the pre-op side where I’m sure you’ll receive more feedback.
See you over there!
https://bonesmart.org/forum/view/hip-surgery-pre-op-area.4/
 

Layla

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I’m also tagging my BoneSmart colleague and friend, @Mojo333
She had bi-lateral replacement at 53, but is about your age now. I know she does some lifting at work and climbing on and off trailers also, so she may have some sage advice for you in regard to your job and lifting.
 
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57YearOldMe

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@djklaugh , I have been having hip pain for about 1 year and it got worse about 6 months ago. I thought I had hurt/strained my hip flexors at the gym so I scheduled an appointment with an orthopedic doctor/sports medicine and was expecting Ex-rays, pain meds and some physical therapy and would be on my way. I was told that I had arthritis in both hips, prescribed steroids and scheduled for injections which she said helped some and not others....I asked what if they didn't work? She told me I would be a perfect candidate for hip replacement-57 years old and in good physical shape, to say I was Shocked would be an understatement. I'm going for a second opinion to see if I could put it off with pain meds/physical therapy for a while at least. I know it's only a matter of time because of the amount of Motrin I take to get through the day . I'm as worried about being able to work and pay my bills as about the possibility of surgery itself. I liked Giddys1 positive attitude and his ability to get back to work so soon and with such confidence. I'm still trying to learn what I'm up against here and am so glad to have found this forum....I appreciate everyone who has answered me.
 
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57YearOldMe

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@Layla , Thank you for the reading material and tagging Mojo333, still trying to find my way around here. Watching a lot of YouTube videos and will be doing a lot of reading here. Thank You!
 

Layla

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You’re welcome! Please let us know if you need any help navigating the site.
We’ll be happy to help.
 

Eman85

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I put off having my hips done for years, much of it for financial reasons. Long story with last employer but I did have a disability policy both short term and long term so 12 weeks off was with 1/2 pay and insurance stayed.
As far as a highly physical job I'd say it's going to be tough. No 2 THR's work out the same even on the same person. Magic procedures and miracle recoveries are few and far between. New hips need healing time and don't like lifting and especially carrying weight. My OS advised me to not mess up my body or his nice work. As I said I put off having mt THR's so I waited even longer to get to 62 so I could not go back to work if I desired and that's what happened.
 

djklaugh

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@57YearOldMe We have seen a lot of men your age and younger having hip replacements and successfully returning to very physically demanding jobs. Recently 2 guys who are police officers went through this and are back to work. And I remember a roofer and another man who was a farrier and his "clients" were big draft horses (Clydesdales, Percherons, etc).

You should also check with your work - boss or HR department- about a phased return to work https://bonesmart.org/forum/threads/phased-return-to-work.5696/

Most work sites have had employees needing time off for surgeries and are very able and willing to work with their valued people!
 

Mojo333

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Hi @57YearOldMe :wave:

I was equally shocked when I was told I had endstage osteoarthritis in both hips, and that hip replacement would be the answer to getting my life back.:flabber:
I have been the director of our local food bank for over 10 years and routinely load and offload donations requiring climbing on trucks and trailers and lots of bending and lifting.

My increasingly worsening bad hips eventually made my job hard.... play hard.... Sleep hard...
and though I soldiered through for many years prior to my official diagnosis, like you, I have to work to pay bills.

Thankfully, my surgeon has done many bilateral hip replacements for patients he deemed good candidates, so like djklaugh, I benefited from one recovery period.

I went back to work early, but was lucky to have volunteers to take care of alot of the heavier lifting for the first months.
I also became much more mindful of safely lifting boxes...which we all have been schooled on but rarely follow.... lifting with glutes engaged and not twisting.
I also no longer jump off of high trucks and instead ease down.
Just seems more prudent not to put extreme loads/shock on my new hips.
Plan on having them last me for my lifetime.:fingersx::fingersx:

My upper body strength is good which was a real advantage with early recovery days.
We all have different bodies and recoveries, but try to take off as long as possible to allow uninterrupted healing.

In a few weeks, I will be 5 years post BTHR and work 5 days per week with loads of walking and physical labor.
Happy to have strong new hips to go through life.
 

PolarIce

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If you are physically active there is one more reason to not hold off and get it done. I know 3 people personally who have had both done and are right back to full active lives they had before. You will for sure arrange to take the 3 months off to give yourself that extra time if you need it. You can always return back earlier if you need to, but waiting too long when are not doing well already can only complicate your recovery for when you do get it done. Your body will develop or lose muscles etc because your body is trying to compensate.

You've got this. Reaching out here is a great place to start to get more information.
 

Eman85

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@57YearOldMe I answered you on the other person's thread but figured I'd come over to your thread.
I knew I needed THR's for decades but kept going. Financial reasons and not wanting to do it more than once played in to my decision. Along with the fact that there are no guarantees with the surgery. The odds are in our favor that it will al work out good and the odds have gotten much better in the last 30 years that I waited. I don't tell anyone what to do, you have to make your own decision based on your situation. I was self employed for much of my work life so there was no way I could be laid up for 3 mos or possibly longer. When I finally went to work at a company that had good benefits I felt that I could do the THR if I decided I was ready. Then the company changed their policies and the disability policy which changed my plan. I held on until 62 as it worked out best for me. My company came up with a physical test that included heavy lifting and weight carrying to prove I could come back to work. My OS recommended not to do anything like that 3 mos post-op so I was done. I knew others that took the test and hurt themselves in order to keep the job.
 
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57YearOldMe

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Eman85, thanks for this post. I'll have to deal with a lot of the same stuff workwise.
 

skigirl

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bronze
When I went to see the surgeons about my hips they told me they did not recommend shots, that my hips were too far gone to benefit from them. Three docs told me I needed surgery. Of course, I am 78, so work is not a problem for me. I guess I would talk to the doctors that you see. What do they think? can you hold on for one more year? two more? with shots and Aleve?

If so, maybe you need a savings account with hip replacement written on it so that you can afford to take off the two months that you will probably need to recover. If you can pay the rent and afford food, then you won't have to worry so much. If they say that you need to do it right away, then you are in a different category. I think you could look at Social security disability for one thing? A less strenuous job at your work for the first three months back after surgery? I know that warehouse work is demanding, but if you could go to a less demanding job for two months, it would give you time to recover.

I feel pretty strong after surgeryl but am not sure I would like to lift more than 40 lbs---although I did heft my 47 pound suitcase in and out of the car and to the airline desk!! I skied at 3 months--but I am a ski instructor and have ski muscles, but I felt completely normal on my skis and skied some tough runs. Mostly skied with grandkids, however.

Unfortunately surgery is an unknown to us. Yes, most people recover and so why not plan for that? if you need extra time before your demanding job, you might need a plan b, just in case.
 

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