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Is this normal at 6 weeks post?

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PRGal

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Hi folks--new member here. Had THR (right) just over 6 weeks ago via anterior approach (ONLY way to go IMHO) after 18 mos. of increasing pain due to osteoarthritis (I'm 58). Home 2 days after surgery, minimal swelling, walking with no assist device by day 14, off pain meds completely by day 15. Follow-up w/surgeon 2 weeks ago, who told me xrays were "sparkling," driving & back to work last Monday. No PT required/ordered other than what happened in hospital (PT came day after I got home, watched me with walker & said I didn't need her.) Been doing exercises sent home from hospital PTs & walking as much as possible, plus housework (vacuuming, etc.--not lightweight stuff.)

So after all this "super-patient" stuff, here's my issue: Last couple of days, side of upper thigh (where trochanter is) has been increasingly tender to touch & leg aches (upper femur) when walking. Also sore spot under right glutes--hard to explain exact location--just above the bony part of pelvis that you sit on. Sounds kind of weird, but it's like I can feel there are foreign parts in me!

Surgeon told me lingering soreness down the side of the thigh was normal, & I read somewhere that healing to bone for cementless hip (which I assume I had--of all the questions to forget to ask!) can cause intermittent thigh pain for 18-24 months. But this just seems strange . . . no fever (below 98.6), so guess infection isn't on the radar. Figured soreness was because of exercises & lying on only carpeted floor, but today was the worst. Should I be worried?

Thanks in advance, fellow "hippies!" (Just love that expression!
)
 

Josephine

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It's simply post op pain and you should be on pain meds. You've done well but don't be too brave! Take some pills!
 

JudyS

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PR girl

I love being a hippy too.
I had a right posterior replacement 6 months ago. Love my new hip. Even lately I have had some aches and pains, but I have been a crazy hiking machine.
My doc is going to slow my down by doing a knee scope on Wed.

I can't say how long I took pain meds as needing them for my hip went right into needing them even more for my back.

But, I do remember telling my doc at 6 weeks that with pain meds I could walk pretty good without a limp or aids. No pain meds, slight limp and some pain. He opted to keep me on pain meds.
You have lots of healing to do still even though it seemingly went so smooth.
Welcome
Judy
 
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PRGal

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Took some ibuprofen when I got home; helped some. Because I'm driving & back to work, I'm leery of going back on what I call my "hillbilly heroin" -- hydrocodone -- since it really makes me drowsy.

Probably should have mentioned that I also have lateral knee pain (had prior to surgery too). Severe bruising on outside of right knee immediately post-op, since resolved, though pain lingers when walking & there's a clicking during movement. I'm probably trolling the Net too much for my own sanity, but knee, thigh & glute pain combined kind of sound like ITB syndrome. Everything I've seen so far points to running/cycling overuse rather than any ties to THR -- and I most certainly neither was nor currently am anywhere near an athlete! Curious if anyone else has heard of/experienced any connection between the two. Could surgery even aggravate prior ITB?
 

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I do think for sure I have had some ITB problems. I was a mountain trail runner until hip replacement. Doc had me promise no more running. But, I think it is resolving once again, but I have had pain consistent with ITB syndrome.
I am know a non-stop hiker. Well until my first knee surgery on Wed.
Judy
 

Josephine

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Of course it can help cause an ITB syndrome! And you don't need to take anything heavy duty - some Tylenol should be more than adequate - you can take them and ibuprofen at the same time. They're a good mix. But rest would be a good therapy too!
 
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Hmmmm--you think maybe that's why at post-op checkup the surgeon told me it was "normal" to be sore down the side of my thigh for a while? At first I assumed this was because those muscles were the ones pulled apart in the anterior approach. Later, I figured he may also have been referring to the lingering ache as stem heals to bone. Perhaps it also meant ITBS . . .

[Stepping up on soap box] I guess in a way I can understand why a doctor would NOT say certain things (though for obvious reasons they're not shy about spilling all about surgical risks), but sometimes I really wish they would notice that they have a patient who may be just a bit better informed than the average bear, and just go ahead and spell it all out. I know I certainly would have been reassured to know that any number of feelings, aches, twinges, etc., are within the range of "normal" after a THR & to know time frames too. Though I had a list of questions & all were answered, in hindsight, perhaps I bought in a little too much to the "amazing" recovery stories of anterior patients, as well as the "boy wonder" reputation of my doctor, and I didn't want anything to spoil it. [Climbing down now . . .thanks for indulging me.]

Anyway, Josephine, just want to be sure you know that, knowledge & experience aside, what incredible value you bring to this forum with your empathy. Odd as it may seem, sometimes it's really comforting to hear "yup, that's perfectly normal," or "hey, you don't need to be a hero!" Thanks . . .
 

JudyS

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Of course I agree about Jo and any comments she makes. Very reassuring. When I went back to my pt for thoracic spine and neck pain, he reassured me about hip/leg pain. He said it is major srgery and for at least 8 months pain/twinges/etc. are all normal.
Only in the last 2 weeks has my hip started bothering me again after many months of being pain free. I have not brought it up with my doc, just assuming anything requiring attention would bring me to my knees!!!!! Seeing they are bad, probably just fall on my face.
I do see him on Dec 24th so I may just mention it for peace of mind!!! Or seeing I am currently immobile post a question to Jo!!!
Keep resting your body needs it a lot.
Major surgery
Judy
 

Josephine

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Well, half the reason doctors don't go into that detail is because often they don't know the detail (truly) and if they do, they don't know how to empart it to the patient in a basic kind of way. That's usually where nurses come into their own! I suspect that when he said that it was normal, he assumed you would accept that it included such things. After all he knows what he means and therefore anyone else would naturally know too!! Yes, I know it's a tad daft but often these brainy guys takes such things as read when nothing is further from the truth. And all of the other points you made are very valid too. Very succintly put, if I may say so.

And thank you muchly for your kind words. I'm always delighted, as are the owners, to know that
this forum succeds in providing excellent such support.
 
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PRGal

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"Daft" really made me laugh--hadn't heard that word in a long while! I guess the "ideal" doc who could understand/anticipate everything a patient may feel would be one who had gone through it themselves. But that's perhaps a bit easier for an OB-GYN, say, than an orthopedic surgeon. However, I would argue that some of those "brainy guys" assume patients are as dumb as rocks and could never even begin to understand anything more complex than 2 syllables. A happy medium would be nice ...

And you're absolutely right about nurses filling the gap. Therefore, there should be a med school course called "How to be a Great Doc 101" stressing the critical importance of hiring a brilliant nurse to handle all patient communications!:)

"Boy wonder" remark aside (my surgeon is barely older than my daughter, finished an anterior approach fellowship in '06 & has done 700+ anterior THRs since then), I have absolutely no regrets about choosing him over the first OS I saw (traditional approach guy), nor the surgical approach itself. Just being able to cross my legs, not to mention no other restrictions & my comparatively good progress, has been proof to me I made the right choice.

Today marks 7 weeks post-op & 2nd week back at work full-time. This morning, I took a couple Aleves, put on 2-inch heeled boots for the first time in months--and it was a GOOD day. I still have this weird sensation of having foreign parts in me & my thigh bone hurts when touched (even by my my dog's wagging tail--admittedly a REALLY big 110 lb+ dog). But walking in heels felt better than in flat shoes (outside of knee didn't hurt)--go figure! Bottom line--today was better than just a week ago, so I have to have faith that each week ahead will bring more improvement!
 
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