Bilateral THR IT Band Lengthening?


new member
Sep 9, 2020
United States United States
I am 12 weeks post op for bilateral thr. I can not pull my knees together closer than 6-8 inches. There has been no improvement since surgery. It puts a lot of stress on my lower back and leg muscles to try to walk with my legs closer together. I have found little information from any one that has had bilateral. Has anyone experienced this? Will it get better? Any advice is appreciated.
I had bilateral June 18, 2020 and am having issues with my knees and ankles being wide. At least 6-8 inches from touching. Did you have this issue?
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Welcome to BoneSmart, glad you joined us!
Please post your surgery date, a moderator will add it to your signature for you. Having the exact date will help us properly advise you. Thanks!
@Mojo333 had Bilateral THR's and will be able to tell you her story.

I can not pull my knees together closer than 6-8 inches.
What does your surgeon say about your knees being 6-8 inches apart when walking.
My suggestion would be to place less focus on bringing your knees together, and just walking so you are not hurting your back.

You are still very early in this year+ recovery and have plenty of time to improve. Hips do a pretty good job of recovering on their own if you let them.

Here are the Hip Recovery Guidelines, the articles are short and will not take long to read.

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:
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 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.
Hi @DollyS :wave:
Welcome to the forum.
Three months out is certainly still early in recovery with lots of improvement yet to come.

It would be nice if you let us know how your early recovery went...whether you were or still are engaged in any exercises that might be leaving to tightness and if you still ice and elevate after activities. I know I was!

I am 12 weeks post op for bilateral thr. I can not pull my knees together closer than 6-8 inches
I'm a bit confused.This is not when just sitting, right?

It puts a lot of stress on my lower back and leg muscles to try to walk with my legs closer together

I agree with Pumpkln, this should not be a concern as with proper walking stance, your feet should be aligned with your hips so that would naturally make your knees and ankles further apart.
Actually walking with feet too close together can cause hip, back, knee, and foot problems.

I know that I did tend to feel like I walked a little odd...maybe "waddly" for a bit as my body continued to regain strength and flexibility.
Perhaps that's what you are feeling?
But forcing your knees and ankles together, like Pumpkln mentions, is likely to be causing your muscle complaints.

It also took lots of heel to toe concentration to walk properly after the many years of bad gait and posture with bad hips.
We are recovering from our surgery and from the period before surgery as our body adjusts to our new good lower back especially took some time to sort out.

I don't know if you have considered having a therapist assess your gait as I did...of course times were not as tentative then.:unsure:
Please know that though I was back to life much full recovery took over a year and I could almost forget about my bionic hips except for the huge change it has made in my quality of life.:happydance:
Thank you. I am pretty much back to normal activities. I guess I was just afraid this would be my new normal since my stance seems just as wide as it was 6 weeks ago. My leg muscles are just so tight when I walk that I tire easily. I do well with heel toe but I have been trying to walk with my legs more together so maybe I will try and loosen up on myself in that regard. I was just curious if anyone else had the same issue. NO ONE I know has had simultaneous bilateral so I have had no where to turn for advice. Even my physical therapist has not had experience with both. Thank you. diagnosis for horrible lower back pain and limping was elusive, consisting of a plethora of imaging procedures which all showed no back problems.

Even had a bone scan to "check" for bone cancer.:flabber:
Finally, a neurologist appointment led to another dead end, but the intuitive doctor, asked if I had a hip specific xray.
Well, the rest was history...end stage OA at 53 1/2 years old, and surgeon recommended BTHR.
Okay I Say.
After my pre-op tgree days prior to my surgery ..where the EKG tech, phlebotemist, X-ray tech and intake director all asked which hip I was having replaced...and my reply was Both...and each of their responses were "At the same Time?!"...I was crying, and was completely stressed out.
That's when I found Bonesmart.

I'm certainly glad now that I'm One And Done.
And there are plenty of double hippies who have been on the forum and most were tentative, but did very well and are back to their lives.:) :-) (:

Things were different at two weeks, two months, three months, five months and so on.
You can click on my recovery thread to check out my Progression as it is in my signature.
Warning...lots of whining and just as much insecurity about the different phases of recovery.
They often don't give us a lot of "what to expect" after info.

Listen to your body, stay slow and easy and try not to worry.
It gets better.

Wow you are spot on with all the responses of people when I tell them I was having or had both done at the same time. If I had a Dollar for every time I heard "what you're having both done" I could've paid for the surgery! even the morning of my surgery the anesthesiologist said "you're getting both done "? Freaked my husband out!

I too had terrible lower back pain specially in my SI joints. Wish I'd found this forum before my surgery But with Covid, I Was scheduled pretty much within weeks from my second consultation.

I have a friend who had one done just two weeks after me and Is so much farther ahead. It's hard not to compare. I will read about your journey, i'm sure it will help a lot. I wish I had journaled my recovery as well
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I actually can't see your recovery thread mojo. It says that you have restricted your account. Maybe I'm doing something wrong?
So, if you look at my 3 month mark, you will see I had my own set of ongoing issues.

Fast forward a couple of dozen pages, and see that things resolved as time went on...Time is the greatest healer and all did continue to get better.
I am ever so grateful to have one recovery so that now I look back...definitely all worth it.
Hello and Welcome to BoneSmart. Thanks for joining us, you brave bilateral hippie!
having issues with my knees and ankles being wide. At least 6-8 inches from touching. Did you have this issue?

While I only had one hip replaced, this was one of the first signs I noticed something was amiss with my hip. My declining ROM was no longer allowing me to sit, or stand and pull my knees together (touching). My ailing hip was not allowing it. I have the ability to do so once again and can’t recall how quickly post op I noticed it. As far as walking, I can’t imagine you’d want your legs / knees any closer together.
I hope you have a nice weekend!
I am 13 weeks post op (6-18-20) with Bilateral THR. I have asked advice previously about the wide stance of my hips and not being able to bring my legs closer together. I feel a lot of this has to do with muscle tightness in IT band. Is there any advice on stretches etc. to give some relief in these areas? When I walk they tighten up like rock, along with lower back and glutes.
@DollyS you will notice that I have merged your two threads together as we prefer that members in recovery only have one thread.

This is for three reasons:
1. if you keep starting new threads, you miss the posts others have left you in the old threads
2. it often ends up that information is unnecessarily repeated
3. it's best if we can keep all your recovery story in one place so it's easily accessed if we need to advise you.

Please keep all your questions and updates on this thread. If you would like a new thread title just give a shout.

There are stretches you can do for a tight IT band. However they involve crossing the midline. Were you given any restrictions post op? Are you working with any physio?
Thank you, I'm new so now I know! sorry about that.

I was not given any restrictions crossing midline. I have my first appointment in 2 weeks with a PT. I made the appt on my own as my OS doesn't recommend it too often. I thought it would be a good idea for my gait to be checked and have recommendations for other stretches/exercises than what doc gave.
I have my first appointment in 2 weeks with a PT.
PT should be able to give you stretches for that IT band. It's best if you can work with someone who can show you how to do IT band stretches safely post THR. Most involve crossing the midline so do be careful. And don't let PT get too aggressive. Gait training and gentle stretches is all you need.

Let us know how it goes.
Happy Three Month Anniversary!
Hope you’ve had a good week and your weekend is even better! :SUNsmile:
Happy 3 months, double hippy compadre....
Lots of improvements to come ..:friends:
Hi @DollyS, I had BTHR May 2019 and I found the flexibility took awhile to regain post op. My legs were splayed open pre surgery. Pain and stiffness would not allow me to bring them together at all.

After surgery I continued to use the pillows between the legs when sleeping so I didn't break hip precautions. I would check with your OS to see what is normal, but I really wouldn't worry. Just focus on your gait while walking to make sure you're not limping. Sometimes we have to unlearn things.
Hello Dolly, :wave:
Happy Four Month Anniversary!
I hope you’re doing well and benefitting from PT. Please leave an update if you care to share a little about your progress. We’d love to hear from you.
I hope you have a nice week! :)

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