THR Nick's Hip

marlowtech

new member
Joined
Jan 6, 2024
Messages
7
Age
54
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L THR - 28/11/23

I have found this forum an invaluable form of support over the last few weeks and hoped that some of my own experience might help someone else who has a THR.

Top line background - 53 year old male, pretty fit who enjoyed cycling and golf, and used to enjoy running, longer walks, squash, and touch rugby. Had hip pain for the last 5 years which was progressively getting worse, but was manageable depending on my activity levels. I was in pretty good shape - still able to walk a golf course on a good day, cycling 100 miles at a time, working out 3 times a week with squats etc. But I was curtailing my activities - no running, shorter walks, no team sports. Sometimes pain was keeping me awake at night, other times it wasn't so bad. Told that it was inevitable I would need a hip replacement in the next 2-3 years, I decided to have the THR because it seemed sensible to get it done, get the benefits and then go back to my more active lifestyle - hopefully pain free.

Things I wish I'd known before :
  1. Mentally this is much tougher than physically. I was very lucky to have low levels of pain (more of an ache - say 2 or 3/10), but I was totally surprised by the impact the op had on my mental wellbeing. A massive part of the problem was this feeling of "what have I done". I walked into hospital ok, but I left as a total invalid. After the initial elation of getting through the op, and in part probably due to the anaesthetic, I then went through some really emotional days which I was just not ready for.
  2. It is not a straight line to recovery. I would have a better day and then be totally despondent the next day when I went backwards. This has been stated many times on the forum but recovery is a muddled line. Try not to get down when the next day is not as good as the one before.
  3. I did worry about infection (still do a bit) as well as dislocation. It is born out of the fear of going back to the start again. I reassure myself with the statistics (circa 1% - or 99 people out of a 100 won't have either), make sure I kept to the 90 degree rule, and also remember that this can happen at any point in the future - so you're going to spend a long time worrying about it if you don't put it to the back of your mind.
  4. This forum : after loads of googling stuff, I stumbled across it. Wish I'd read stories on here before the op to prepare me mentally and also had the support afterwards.
  5. You will overdo it on the good days - and that's ok - but be patient. After 2 weeks, I walked on crutches down to a coffee shop which is about 2 miles away. Absolutely stupid and put me back for 48 hours. At just under 3 weeks I got the train and tube into London to meet friends for dinner. Looking back, that was crackers (have you ever tried getting on an escalator on crutches during the Xmas rush in Oxford Street?)
  6. "Comparison is the thief of joy". I came across this expression and it's become a bit of a mantra. The first time I managed to sort of tie my shoelace was a real bit of independence for me, but then I robbed the happiness of the moment by thinking how ridiculous this was compared to me before the op. Turn off those comparison thoughts as to what you were capable of before, and focus on how far you've come since the op.
  7. You will get better - be patient. I became obsessed with being able to walk properly even though I was getting knee pain. Instead of waiting for the body to heal, I became determined to walk properly. Such a waste of mental resource and energy. Continue with the crutches and it will come when it's ready.
Things that I am grateful for :
  1. An amazingly supportive wife and family. I was very lucky to have people that looked after me. I needed much more help than I thought.
  2. Being able to rest and sleep in the day - nighttime sleeping on your back is not the best. Working from home and the xmas break has been invaluable.
  3. Getting on a static bike after 2 weeks - mentally this was a massive help. My surgeon is a keen cyclist and he advised me what to do and not to do - I think 2 weeks might be too soon for some people and I only managed 10 minutes the first time, but I was up and running (...well cycling).
  4. Terrible weather outside - made being inside and watching tv much more manageable with the dark nights.
  5. This forum!
  6. Access to hydrotherapy - I was fortunate to have insurance so went privately and was in the pool 40 hours after the op. I couldn't recommend this more highly.
And to finish :

Heading towards 6 weeks and hopefully sign off from the surgeon. I am not using the crutches at all round the house. Still got a bit of a limp but the knee pain has gone. Outdoor walks are a combination of one crutch and hobbling. Doing my physio religiously. Really feel that I turned a corner after 5 weeks. Getting in and out of bed became much easier, sitting down less painful, mobility improved, and walking more sensibly. It still hurts to sit on that side, and it's still swollen -I won't be running a marathon this week - but I don't think about my hip all the time now.

Apologies if it's a bit self indulgent but I think it's through your stories that I felt reassured over the last few weeks so hoped by telling mine it would help someone else.

Thank you.
 
:wave: @marlowtech
:welome: to the forum and...
:goodpost:

These are the best kind of "shares" and you are so kind to take the time to give a detailed report along with your takeaways.

I had my hips replaced almost 7 years ago when I was 53, and everything you said resonates with me.
I was a very physically fit person too with a very labor intensive job and the initial feeling of dependance and being "infirmed" reaked some havoc on my psyche too.:nah:

Reitterating that this hip journey is individually unique and has ebbs and flows is a big part of why Bonesmart was so helpful to me during my recovery too.
I know you are going to continue to see improvement and if you are like me... consider it a life saver eventually.
 
I know you have likely seen these articles but I will leave you our Recovery Guidelines. (Sort of a given with new members:) :-) (:)

We like to acknowledge that all people are different, as are the approaches to this recovery and rehab. The key is, “Find what works for you.“ Your doctors, PTs and BoneSmart are available to help, but you are the final judge as to the recovery approach you choose.

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.
 
Thank you so much for taking time to provide the details of your recovery experience for others here on BoneSmart. I can assure you that your story will be appreciated by many of our members. So many times we are called upon to help when a member has a challenge. But it’s important to hear the good recovery stories as well.

My only suggestion would be to consider using a cane while you are still limping. The hobbling and jerky movements associated with a limp impact the rest of your body and can slow things down with your recovery. It’s so important to do whatever it takes to walk correctly as you recover. You want a smooth gait with a heel, roll to push off with your toes for each step. When you limp even slightly, this isn’t possible without a walking aid like a cane.

It sounds like you are well on your way to getting back to normal, though. Bravo to you for getting this done now so you can get on with your life!
 
have you ever tried getting on an escalator on crutches during the Xmas rush in Oxford Street?
This made me laugh. Yes I have actually tried this with crutches and indeed it is SO tricky. Crowds of people all trying to get somewhere quickly while you must carefully plan each step.

Welcome to the other side @marlowtech ! Still very early days for you. But sounds like you are right on track with this recovery.
 
@marlowtech Thanks for your comprehensive account of your experience! That is very helpful and hopeful for those who read it.

You may have seen this and already done it .... are you wearing shoes that you wore frequently before surgery? If you are still using shoes like that then look at the bottoms of them. See that wear pattern on soles and heels? That is the old limping pattern and that can have a negative impact on you getting a normal gait and might interfere with reconditioning of muscles and tendons around your new hip. So if old shoes are still being used .... get new ones!
 
Not in a million years even with perfect hips would I touch London Oxford st. You brave man :) :-) (:
 
Thank you so much for taking time to provide the details of your recovery experience for others here on BoneSmart. I can assure you that your story will be appreciated by many of our members. So many times we are called upon to help when a member has a challenge. But it’s important to hear the good recovery stories as well.

My only suggestion would be to consider using a cane while you are still limping. The hobbling and jerky movements associated with a limp impact the rest of your body and can slow things down with your recovery. It’s so important to do whatever it takes to walk correctly as you recover. You want a smooth gait with a heel, roll to push off with your toes for each step. When you limp even slightly, this isn’t possible without a walking aid like a cane.

It sounds like you are well on your way to getting back to normal, though. Bravo to you for getting this done now so you can get on with your life!
I know you're right about the cane. I'm trying to pretend I'm further along than I am. Good advice - thank you.
 
@marlowtech Thanks for your comprehensive account of your experience! That is very helpful and hopeful for those who read it.

You may have seen this and already done it .... are you wearing shoes that you wore frequently before surgery? If you are still using shoes like that then look at the bottoms of them. See that wear pattern on soles and heels? That is the old limping pattern and that can have a negative impact on you getting a normal gait and might interfere with reconditioning of muscles and tendons around your new hip. So if old shoes are still being used .... get new ones!
I picked up this tip and treated myself to new trainers. Any excuse.
 
Keep using that cane, it's better than hobbling.
Like you I've found this group amazing and so helpful.
Depression is a normal part of the recovery. You lose a lot of independence first few months and for anyone not used to that certainly can lead to feeling sad.
All my best as you continue to navigate this new world you have found yourself a part of.
 
I know you're right about the cane. I'm trying to pretend I'm further along than I am.
No worries…..you wouldn’t be the first person to do this. We all want to heal as soon as possible and sometimes will talk ourselves into thinking we are able to “hurry up” the process somehow. You’re doing just grea.
 
THANK YOU for a marvelous post.
I'm over on the knee side of things, but 100% relate to your experience (including finding BoneSmart via Google postop!).
We all go into the ODIC - overdo it club - initially from ignorance, but later on because as our abilities evolve, it's the only way to find our new limits.
Enjoy your every milestone!!!
 
Great to hear, here’s to lots more onward and upward recovery in 2024!
 
Great post; relate and identify with everything you posted from my experience. Beyond the mental and physical, the only thing I'd add relates to diet:

At 55, have never been a heavy drinker but a martini plus a glass of wine or two as a 'heavy' night is in rear view mirror. Long term recovery and alcohol IMHO don't mix: I've found alcohol and sugar, well known to cause inflammation, kick my a** when I indulge and set me back. But man I loved running around London in the west end back in the day till 1am haha! One of he coolest cities on earth!

Finally there is a great book called 'Blue Zones' which talks about longevity and diet if you have some couch time!
 
Thank you all for your positive messages and advice. They really help. I had my 6 week check with the surgeon on Wednesday and now signed off. He made the point that you get to certain thresholds with your recovery and then stay there for a while before moving on again.

I met a fellow patient who was operated on the same day as me, and we both felt that tales of people getting off crutches and climbing ladders after 3 weeks were totally demoralising when we were struggling. I am sure there are anomalies, but managing expectations to basically be on crutches for 6 weeks at least would be much better than over promising.

I do feel that 6 weeks for me has been a turning point. But that could just as much be the placebo of being told by the surgeon everything is on track.

Best wishes to you all.
 
@marlowtech IMO most of those stories of extraordinary recoveries are myths and the reporting of them are suspect. "Oh yes my third cousin's ex-boyfriend's great aunt had a hip replacement and she was out skiing in slalom races 3 days later!" ... and ALL of them should be taken with a very large grain of salt! Please do not be discouraged by those tales. True recovery takes time and energy because that is what the human body requires to heal from any major injury - accidental or surgical!

Nope, not a placebo from your surgeon! If he/she told you you are doing well and you were signed off then YOU are doing well and given the go ahead to proceed with your recuperation. Yes, I get it. You don't yet feel back to normal .... but you are getting there and the new normal of having a pain free hip will be well worth the effort!
 
I met a fellow patient who was operated on the same day as me, and we both felt that tales of people getting off crutches and climbing ladders after 3 weeks were totally demoralising when we were struggling
Let that nonsense go in one ear and out the other, it's usually a fabrication or exaggeration. I'll leave a thread from our Social Area on this very topic, for laughs, with best wishes as you continue to heal. Happy Two Month Anniversary! Tall Tales from the THR Fairy Tale Book
 

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