THR Pain After THR

Alice D

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I am 72 years old and had THR on May 9th. I am getting very discouraged and depressed because I don't seem to be healing as fast as I thought I should. I did some post op therapy until my surgeon told me to stop due to swelling in the incision area. I still have a lump on my leg and also pain when I walk. I think my left leg (the one I had surgery on) is longer than my right leg so I walk crooked and with a limp which I don't want to do!! I'm sorry I even had this surgery..... I still cannot sleep on my side (either one) without pain and hate sleeping on my back. I would just like to hear that I will get better and will walk without pain and a limp. The last thing I want is to be crippled the rest of my life. I walk daily but not very far...maybe a couple of blocks a few times a day. I do ice it when it hurts. Is there anything else I can do to help my healing? Exercises? Anything? Any help/suggestions/ideas would be very much appreciated.
 

subie2021

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Hi Alice! I'm glad you found Bonesmart - you'll find lots of support and helpful information here.
Congrats on your new hip. I'm sorry that it isn't living up to your expectations. But you know, it there is a way around that - change the way you deal with your recovery from a major, traumatic surgery.
It isn't fair to yourself to set expectations on something you can't control. Our hips will heal as they will, not as we want. And it takes as long as it takes, no matter what we expect. Some hips heal up pretty quickly and others take a while.
I think it's great that you can walk so much! At two months out, I couldn't do what you're doing. You are way ahead of where I was at two months. It can take a few months for everything to settle into place, so don't worry too much about the leg length difference yet. For limping and other gait problems, it helped me to really concentrate on heel-toe, heel-toe whenever I was walking, even if only from the recliner to the kitchen.
I think various aches and pains are normal for quite a while after THR. First one part hurts, then that gets better only for some other part to act up. It's aggravating. But it's part of the process.
Many of us here on Bonesmart love our pillows...we have lots of them! I mean lots! Pillows are so helpful with getting more comfortable in bed. For back sleeping, try one under your knees; it might help to add two or three as support for your upper body. Try one between your knees if you decide to take a stab at side sleeping on the un-opped side. The long body pillows are great support for side sleeping too.
I hope you feel better soon. Being down in the dumps is normal for recovery too..we've had lots of stress, pain, and aggravation and the good times seem like they won't be rolling in like....forever. But they will come!
Focus on accomplishments - like walking blocks several times a day - and know that sooner or later what you can't do now will be on that "Accomplished!" list.
 

Doglover7

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I am having the exact same thing..operated leg feels/is longer and I think that's what is making me limp but nope put my shoe on "short" leg still limping...imagine if you stump your toe you limp for days. Now if you saw what happened to your leg! You may limp for months. Everything takes time.
 

Jaycey

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Is there anything else I can do to help my healing?
Yes, reset your expectations for this recovery. You have just had major surgery. Give your body time to heal. Stop trying to push through. Walking is fine. But if you are pushing through pain it is counter productive. Ice, elevate and rest. The healing will happen in time.

Here are your recovery guidelines:

Hip Recovery: The Guidelines
We are all different, as are the approaches to this recovery and rehab. The key is, “Find what works for YOU.“ Your doctor(s), physiotherapist(s) and BoneSmart are here to help. But you have the final decision as to what approach you use.

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 this BoneSmart philosophy for sensible post op therapy
5. Here is a week-by-week guide for Activity progression for THRs
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 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.
 

Boofit

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I think my left leg (the one I had surgery on) is longer than my right leg so I walk crooked and with a limp which I don't want to do!!
Hi @Alice D , you may feel that your operated leg is longer if it is still swollen and stiff. Or it may be that your surgeon felt it was necessary to place in larger or longer implants. The best thing would be to ask your OS or PT to measure it at your next visit, and address any issues then.

I still cannot sleep on my side (either one) without pain and hate sleeping on my back.
Some people advocate sleeping in recliners. But not everyone has one. Like you, I couldn't sleep on my side earlier on, and couldn't sleep on my back for longer periods either. I do not have a recliner, so what I did was pile up lots of cushions and pillows and tried to sleep in a semi-sitting position, sort of like sleeping in a simulated recliner. It helped me get in a longer periods of sleep. Also, if you are not getting enough hours of sleep during the night, maybe try napping for short periods during the day? Gradually you will get to sleeping on your side without pain (it does take some practice!!!)

I would just like to hear that I will get better
Yes, you WILL get better. Give it time. Patience is the name of the game. Just keep on icing when it feels painful:ice: and try to avoid getting yourself into the "PAIN"zone!

Sending you hugs and warm wishes from Hong Kong!:friends:
 
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Welcome,
Yes you will get better, start by reading some of the other posts from those who had the surgery, you will find we all were frustrated and concerned about how soon everything would be better.
Also felt my leg was shorter but it's all settled now after a little over 4 months plus my foot was pointing outward and that has resolved as well.
I'm still icing and resting when I need to. I'm 70 and was very active before my accident that necessitated the hip surgery so I do understand your frustration, you just want to get your life back on track.
Thank goodness for this forum because I learned so much from others experiences.
Rest, read, ice and try to be patient.
 
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Alice D

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Thank you so much for your kind words! I'm so happy I found this site...it helps so much to read others' comments.
 
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Alice D

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Thank you so much for your words of encouragement!
 
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Alice D

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Thank you so much for your post...it helps me so much to hear from others.
 

Layla

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Hello and welcome @Alice D Thanks for joining us!
Please try not to get discouraged this early on. Your body is healing from major surgery, but maybe just not as quickly as you hoped it would. Give yourself the TLC and time you deserve.

For the pain - Icing. You can ice for as long and as often as you want. Always place fabric between your leg and the ice source. We suggest icing for no less than 45 minutes, when you‘re icing. In case you haven’t made it through the Recovery Guidelines here is an article in ICE http://bonesmart.org/forum/threads/ice-to-control-pain-and-swelling.5493/

Leg Length Differential -
As far as Leg Length Differential goes, you're not alone, many feel this sensation post op. In most cases it eases with time. We advise giving it 3-4 months as it can take that amount of time for things to balance. If at that point, you are still concerned we suggest you visit a reputable podiatrist or PT for a measurement.
Here's an article from our Library Leg length differential - LLD.

Side sleeping, it will come, please be patient - http://bonesmart.org/forum/threads/thr-laying-on-my-back-when-can-this-be-done.32099/
Try lots of pillows. Round up as many bed pillows as you can and surround yourself with them. It helps to be able to rest an arm or leg on one and feel like you’re in your personal recovery fort.

Limping…Here’s a tip -
Try heel-toe walking when you're limping.
This involves striking the ground with your heel first, then rolling through your heel to your toe, and pushing out of the step with your toe.
It takes a concentrated effort, but I believe you'll notice a difference. Give it a try.
Here is a visual of heel toe walking -
1657029365300.jpeg
Wishing you a great rest of the week. Stay in touch!
 
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Alice D

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Thank you so much, Layla, for your response and for all of your tips and links. I'm feeling much better after finding this site and reading so many others' posts about what they are also going through. I guess I just fear that maybe something is wrong and my surgeon isn't the most caring person about my concerns. Thank you again and have a great day...I will definitely use the advice/tools you sent me.
 

Hip4life

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You've been given some great advice. It does help to have people to interact with who understand and have lived it, doesn't it? At roughly two months I, too, was not as far along as I expected. This recovery just takes the time it takes. I thought I was in charge. What a revelation it was to me that my hip was actually in charge! Lol. Be patient and kind to yourself. You will get there.
 
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Alice D

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You've been given some great advice. It does help to have people to interact with who understand and have lived it, doesn't it? At roughly two months I, too, was not as far along as I expected. This recovery just takes the time it takes. I thought I was in charge. What a revelation it was to me that my hip was actually in charge! Lol. Be patient and kind to yourself. You will get there.
Thank you so much!
 

Dduck1968

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Alice stay strong. I also feel like I should be ahead. Feel better that you are not alone. There are alot here just like you. We will get through this. I hope sooner than later. Keep us posted.
 
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Alice D

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Alice stay strong. I also feel like I should be ahead. Feel better that you are not alone. There are alot here just like you. We will get through this. I hope sooner than later. Keep us posted.
Thank you. It does help to know there are a lot of people feeling just like me. I'm forcing myself each day to try and walk straight and now, today, going to try and walk without my cane. The doctor yesterday said I need to get rid of the cane...I just feel more secure with it but I do think it makes me walk more crooked. Have a great day!
 

Eman85

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I've posted my method of "learning how to walk again" and it worked well for me. To help me get rid of the cane I went to the big store near me which is a Walmart. I parked near a car corral that was far from the store but had carts. I would get a cart and use it for stability and walk slowly and deliberately with good form and no limp. I could walk the store slowly and no one was even slightly aware I was doing PT. I could stop and lean on the cart if tired. When leaving I could use the cart all of the way out to the car and place the cart at the corral. Worked for me and I was going almost every day to walk the store.
 

Lyla

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I agree with everyone here. Time and patience. I expected to be further along. I did heal quickly but I still have pain at times. I didn’t do much for 6 long weeks. It did make a difference not pushing any PT or anything in those weeks. I gave my body time to heal. I’m only 6 weeks out but by the feels when I even partially roll onto my side that will be a while!
Walking … I’m in the odic today. I thought I could keep going and went way beyond what I should. Now I feel it. I have to say heel toe walking as annoying as it is to constantly remind myself it does make a huge difference. If walking is painful go shorter distances for now and perhaps a couple of short ones instead of one longer ?
You will get there.
 
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Alice D

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I've posted my method of "learning how to walk again" and it worked well for me. To help me get rid of the cane I went to the big store near me which is a Walmart. I parked near a car corral that was far from the store but had carts. I would get a cart and use it for stability and walk slowly and deliberately with good form and no limp. I could walk the store slowly and no one was even slightly aware I was doing PT. I could stop and lean on the cart if tired. When leaving I could use the cart all of the way out to the car and place the cart at the corral. Worked for me and I was going almost every day to walk the store.
Thank you for this suggestion! I just got back from Walmart after doing this....thanks for the suggestion.
 

Eman85

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I hope it works as well for you as it did for me. My 2 THR's were winter so it was nice in the store. Now that it's hot it would work out even better with A/C in the store. One thing I learned the hard way, and this was pre-Covid, was to use hand sanitizer and wipe the cart down. Being run down from surgery in the early weeks I caught a doozy of a cold/sinus infection. Now it's general practice to take the precautions but then not many did it. Stores are are great place to pick up germs and such.
 
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Alice D

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Good morning all. I am 2 months post op today and I'm feeling discouraged....hoping others can share that they had or are having some of the same issues I am. I'm still having quite a bit of pain when I walk and many nights my hip throbs when trying to sleep (still sleeping on my back because on my side causes pain). I'm currently on vacation for 6 weeks so the only exercise I've been getting is to walk which I do daily. I did get an appointment with a physical therapist here where we are staying for next week and I'm praying I get some help/answers about my gait especially. I'm almost sorry I had this surgery because I walk with an awful limp (again, praying this goes away). If anyone else can share like experiences with me, I would very much appreciate it. Before surgery I was walking 2-4 miles a day, doing Zumba and water aerobics and now I can't even walk correctly. Thanks for any suggestions....have a blessed day.
 

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