THR Rick's Right Hip Recovery experience


new member
Jun 30, 2022
United States United States
I wish I had come across this board prior to surgery, I had so many questions! Well now at least I can post my experience for the benefit of others.

I'm going on 60 act like 40 and stubborn. Overweight mostly because I've been inactive for so long because of this hip issue. Always been a very active person, played sports my entire youth and active in skiing and tennis into adulthood until the hip issue got to the point I couldn't even go for a walk.

Finally I went to see several surgeons. I opted for a Complete Hip Replacement direct anterior approach at one of the top clinics in the US. The surgeon told me that their procedure would give me the best option for my goals which was getting back to my sports, in particular compared to the other surgeons who told me my skiing days are over! I could not accept that.

I had my surgery date within 4 weeks of the consultation and x-rays. The x-rays showed that I had been bone on bone for some time.

Firstly, I was very nervous about the surgery, I had never had surgery before, so it was weighing heavily on my mind. Turned out it was a nothing burger! The surgery was scheduled for early afternoon, perfect for me since I am not a morning person.

Probably had the BEST sleep and rest in decades after I gently fell asleep while I looked up at the ceiling of the OR not even realizing I was entering unconsciousness.

Waking up I slowly noticed growing pain from the incision, but that was taken care of in quick order with pain killers. My wife finally got to come into the recovery room and we talked. I was starving, so ordered my dinner and ate. I had a really good rest that night, and the next morning I was assessed by the PT person, I got out of bed with assistance and was able to use a walker to walk the corridor without any issues and walked up some test steps and returned to the room. I was released that afternoon.

Later that day we went to dinner, I walked with a walker from the car to the restaurant. It was a little difficult getting in and out of the car, but walking was easy, I felt as if I could go much farther if needed. Headed back to hotel to stay the night.

That evening I learned quickly that managing pain was going to be important, stayed on the med schedule and tried not to let it get out of hand. Sleeping was OK, slept on good side or on my back most of the time. Getting out of bed needed a little help the first 2 or 3 days. I did the exercises as prescribed 3x per day.

Since I chose to get the surgery out of state, I had to travel back. It was a long day, but it wasnt too bad. Had scheduled a wheelchair at the airport, so i just had to use the walker to get into the terminal and they took it from there. Kind of funny to see that it was usually a tiny individual that was to take me 255 pound nearly 6' guy to and from the plane!!! Unfortunately it was not a direct flight so got to experience this several times.

Wheelchair took me to the aircraft and then I used a walker to get to the isle then I walked holding onto the top of the seats to aid me to my row. I booked first class so I did not have to walk far and had plenty of legroom.

The flight was no issue, I got up to use the restroom and again used the top of the seats to make my way there. I had no balance issues and while I had a cane with me, I never used it, nor have I since.....a complete waste of money for me.

The first two weeks at home were the most difficult in terms of pain, but it was managed well with what was prescribed, Oxy, Tramadol and Tylenol. It was usually a Tylenol and Tramadol combination that got me through the first 2 weeks, with Oxy only a few times. I should note that I tend to push myself, so a lot of the pain was from me doing more than most people would.

It was only a few days at home before Im using the walker 50% of the time. By the end of the week I was 90% walker free. Into the second week, I rarely used it.

The biggest issue the first 2 seeks was swelling, but icing helped, and lots of rest with elevating the legs. I was walking around the home a fair amount. I could NOT go upstairs the first 2 weeks, it was too painful to do that, but I could walk down to the end of our driveway about 75'.

I got into my car a couple of times just to try, it was hard but taking my time it was manageable. By the end of the week I could operate the car but didn't go out on the street.

Week 3 was like a SWITCH was turned on! The swelling rapidly went down, but the stitches still seemed a bit "raw" so I didn't push it for fear of opening them. I could go up the stairs one step at a time, it felt weird at first. The most incredible thing to me was the lack of pain and ease of movement to something I had not been able to do for a very long time.

By the end of the 3rd week, I could go up the stairs normally using the handrails, and down cautiously. I could get in my car, and go to the store. It was a little hard getting in and out but manageable.

At this point Im realizing that my range of motion is increasing dramatically. There is only surgical pain and now I'm off painkillers during the day.

But by the evening I feel drained and need sleep. Should be noted that GOOD sleep has been difficult.

I'm now also sleeping on the surgical side part of the night, no issues. I realize that Im probably doing MORE now than before the surgery where the pain was so bad that it was difficult getting around, rolling over in bed or getting up. The only issue is fatigue, and I take multiple rests during the day. I found it helpful (or my imagination) to sit outside and expose the incision to sunlight and heat. It seemed to heal faster after I started doing this twice a day.

Im approaching the beginning of week 4 and there is no issues with me getting into the car, driving or going to the store for a short shopping trip. I doubt I could take an hour car drive or sit in a restaurant chair for an hour but its no problem moving around.

The pain is almost all gone even at night....only need to use Tylenol at night if I had a lot of exercise during the day. Im now walking without a limp!!! First time in 6 years!!! My biggest challenge right now would be getting up from a sitting position on the ground.....that still takes a lot of effort, but I'm getting there. My energy is getting a bit better each day, the Dr says that's normal since the body is expending a lot of energy on the repair process.

I'm anxious to get into the pool, but my Dr wants me to wait another 2 weeks before I do that so not to risk an infection. He examined the incision a few days ago and says it looks great and I'm almost there.

In summary, I cant believe I waited so long to get this done, but I'm glad I did the research for the best options and finally pulled the trigger and now can look forward to getting back to my life and doing the things I used to . One of my goals is to get back to the ski slopes, but my Dr says I need to work my way up to that and it could take a year before I take that one on, but right now I'm positive that day is coming.

Hope my experience might help someone


Pre surgical I was really concerned about what to do in terms of "adult beverages" and medication.

The opinions were all over the place. So I cut back the last week and a half to only a half glass of wine per day. I don't really take meds, but they had given me advice on what to eliminate weeks prior. Mostly things that are "blood thinners". I still could continue to take Xanax to sleep if I needed it. My Pre Op visit 3 days prior to surgery I asked about alcohol and they said normal use is ok prior to surgery, so I had a glass of wine the night before which helped me relax. Im not suggesting this is OK for everyone, but it was for me and that consultation put my mind at ease after reading so many varying opinions.

Post OP I was on my best behavior, no alcohol for the first week, then after that just a half glass of wine before bedtime. Only now am I increasing it to 1 glass per day and will stick to that until I'm off the Tylenol.
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What a great recovery! So happy for you! Wishing you all the best with your new hip!
Onto the slopes you go!
So nice to see another relatively easy recovery!
Great recovery! You may want to ask your Dr about exposing your incision to direct sunlight. I’ve read that an incision is like new skin and should never be exposed to sunlight. I’m sure it feels great though!

I envy you getting down onto the floor. I am 6 weeks and still terrified of trying that! I also had anterior surgeries but am still cautious about dislocations.
Yes that is good advice, I had read the same I limited the time to 30 minutes and tried to do either early morning or late afternoon when it was not too strong. I did not see any signs of sunburn or skin damage.

My scar is really healing fast now. Also the area around the incision was super sensitive. If I were to drag a cloth across it, it felt prickly and sensitive. That is now gone, and the area that was numb is coming back to normal slowly.
Thank you for sharing your story. I put off hip surgery (my left hip) for so long because I've heard awful stories -- my dentist never shuts up about how much he regrets doing it, and a friend claims she's never had a pain-free day since her surgery four years ago. Stories like your are vital. Hope you'll be back on the slopes soon.
Hello Rick,
Welcome to BoneSamrt and thanks for joining us and sharing your THR story to this point. We'd like to create a signature for you and will guess your month of surgery to be June 2022, but would appreciate if you'd share the exact date and which hip was replaced.

I will leave our Recovery Guidelines as some of the info may still pertain. I hope you will stay in touch with further updates. We"d love to follow your progress.
All the best as you continue your healing journey!

As you begin healing, please keep in mind that each recovery is unique. While the BoneSmart philosophy successfully works for many, there will be exceptions. Between the recommendations found here, your surgeon's recovery protocol and any physical therapy you may engage in, the key is to find what works best for you.

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. Here is a week-by-week guide

6. Access to 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 the at each member have only one recovery thread. This policy makes it easier to go back and review history before providing advice.
Less alcohol more better. Yea right..... :))) welcome to the club. Yes get off Tylenol before more than 1 glass of wine a day. But man its so good to walk w/o Pain!!!
Love my wine, yes I do and I hear ya, was tough to wait but I survived!
Sounds like you are doing great.
Stay well.
Hi Folks, just wanted to update on my progress.

First to Layla, yes it was the beginning of June.

It will be 2 months this week and progress have been remarkable. Its truly amazing how I can do work outside and not have ANY pain at the end of the day. I glide across rough surfaces now, whereas before I would be stumbling with pain trying to cross my lawn.

The other day I worked on some projects around the home for about 6 hours without any pain. Before the surgery I would need very strong pain killers to make it through the night and would hurt most of the next day.

My numbness around the incision is almost completely gone for several weeks now. The scar is barely noticeable and was completely healed about 3 weeks ago where I could enter the water in the pool. So about 5 weeks no pool, that's not bad!

I didn't go to therapy but I used information I read including here on how to speed up my recovery. I have a slight limp but its from learned behavior, so now I'm training myself to walk straight and hopefully I'll get rid of the limp soon.

I can stretch and touch my toes now, straining a bit, and I can kneel down with some effort and tie my shoe. I can cut my toe nails with some strong effort too...hooray!!

I suppose I'm in the final stages where I'm working on getting full motion so I can put my sock on without an aid and tie my shoes normally. I don't want to push it until I have my final examination with the surgeon in a few weeks.

It's truly amazing, and I look back and wonder...why on earth did I let myself suffer for so many years? Crazy!

PS - I was reading some of Layla's links.....especially the "energy drain" link. It is so true and accurate, its exactly the way I feel. I'm slowly getting my energy back, at first I didnt understand why I had so little energy, but it makes sense when you read. I'm glad I have another few weeks before I return to work, because I'm not quite there yet in terms of "energy".
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Life without hip pain is indeed sweet and sounds as if you are doing just great.:tada:
Yeah, that Energy Drain is a real thing...but likely keeps us from really getting too froggy with our new hips.:froggies:

Lots of improvements to come!
It's truly amazing, and I look back and wonder...why on earth did I let myself suffer for so many years? Crazy!
Isn't it? I believe many of us felt this way.
I'm glad I have another few weeks before I return to work, because I'm not quite there yet in terms of "energy".
Good old energy're certainly not alone in experiencing that.
Our body's energy supply isn't limitless. So when we're in healing mode after major surgery
our energy will be used for healing first, not leaving a great reserve for all the other activity of daily life. It is completely normal to feel tired for quite some time. How long....most likely relates to your body's rate of healing. Making our best effort to get adequate sleep and rest is beneficial.
Our body does it's best healing while we're sleeping.

You're doing so well. You will continue to build strength and stamina, It is still pretty early days in the entire scheme of things. Thanks for sharing your great update.
Enjoy the rest of the week! :wave:
What a great recovery story - thank you. I have been searching for a forum since my hip replacement on June 24 2022. I had a great surgery experience and healed very quickly, only for my hip to dislocate at day 18. (I was standing in the kitchen and twisted the wrong way without even know it). Since they put it back into place, I've been over cautious and I feel like a prisoner. I'm 54, very active and fit and I am afraid to get back to my life. Every twinge I feel I freak out and and scared to death for it to pop out. It's been 24 days since the the dislocation and I am trying to get to be more active. At this point I am only walking and doing some seated upper body. Today I went for my walk, and not even 2 blocks away, I have this weird feeling, my thigh ( quad ) feels like it's pulling and popping. Not the hip, but the thigh. My walk yesterday was uneventful. 1 mile was easy peasy. The 24/7 nurses are telling me I will feel things. What weird things have you felt? Am I overreacting ? Appreciate your experiences.
@dnordo220 If you start your own recovery thread you'll get lots of response.
Understanding exactly what they did to us to perform the procedure will help a lot in understanding what causes dislocations and all of the odd sensations.
To Rick999 - Congrats on what seems from every angle to be a successful procedure and good recovery.

Your remarks about your movements gave me pause, though. As someone who has had THR on both hips, I wonder if you were given any restrictions on your post-surgery movements or if your surgeon has lifted them. I think most of us are guilty of 'superman(woman) syndrome'….we just want to think we can sail through anything. And it sounds like you pretty much are. But I hope you are not 'pushing' too hard. Just cause we 'can' do something doesn't necessarily mean it's advisable. I don't mean to sound like a nosy scold, but want to see your successful recovery continue. Best of luck to you!
@dnordo220 If you start your own recovery thread you'll get lots of response.
Understanding exactly what they did to us to perform the procedure will help a lot in understanding what causes dislocations and all of the odd sensations.
So true, I had gone to 3 surgeons before I made a decision, of course everyone's situation is different, and they did not want to do a Direct Anterior approach on me, which from what i understood, makes a big difference.

After a lot of research and finally talking to a surgeon who told me that there would be "no restrictions" on my activities after surgery, meaning I could return to my sports activity...skiing, tennis in time, those were the magic words. The others told me my skiing days were over except for maybe the "bunny hill", no more singles tennis, but light doubles were fine.

Of course this was very important to me, but others might not see this as an important factor for their decision checklist.

So with this in mind, and my personality, I have pushed very hard, and some of the activities I'm doing now attest to his statement.

Last evening my wife and I went to dinner with an old friend at our favorite restaurant. There is a very steep stairway to the upstairs of this restaurant where the restrooms are located. I literally glided up and then down those stairs without an afterthought, and as I walked back to the table I remembered how painful and difficult it was the last time we were there.
To Rick999 - Congrats on what seems from every angle to be a successful procedure and good recovery.

Your remarks about your movements gave me pause, though. As someone who has had THR on both hips, I wonder if you were given any restrictions on your post-surgery movements or if your surgeon has lifted them. I think most of us are guilty of 'superman(woman) syndrome'….we just want to think we can sail through anything. And it sounds like you pretty much are. But I hope you are not 'pushing' too hard. Just cause we 'can' do something doesn't necessarily mean it's advisable. I don't mean to sound like a nosy scold, but want to see your successful recovery continue. Best of luck to you!
Hello Arjay,

I think a lot of the restrictions are based on the type of surgery and procedure. It was made clear to me that its up to me to decide on where I want to go, doubt, don't do anything where it would be painful....take my time and proceed with my goals.

The only caution I was given was not to stretch out my leg backwards in an extended "yoga" position. Not sure if that was only during recovery or permanently (I'll ask that question next visit) That was the only caution I was given prior to being released from the hospital after surgery.

My last visit with the surgeon was to take my time, give it approx 12 months before skiing, but it was largely up to me to determine where I was. He said that I was most definitely ahead of schedule.

I have my follow up and final examination first week of September, so I will pepper him with questions and find out what I cannot do. Of course I don't want to do anything that might dislocate, so this will be important.

Yesterday I spent 3 hours working on a little project outside, getting up and down ladders and then later that afternoon I went to a very large furniture store to have a look around. This store is 3 floors and massive. Prior to surgery I would have to stop and sit for 5 minutes at least 4 times while walking the floors and afterwards I was in a lot of pain, this time I walked the entire building without pausing.

My only complaint was that I had a little muscle discomfort, I suppose from years of muscle atrophy, but aside from that no issues and no pain that evening.

Yes I feel blessed....I'm obviously ecstatic, but I just want others to know what is possible. I believe that with a little research you can get a good surgery, and for most people you're not going to have to do what I did because you're not likely to be going to the ski slopes, but if you're the "crazy" mind set like myself, then research very carefully to ensure you get a surgeon that can get these results or at least give you a better chance that you can. I firmly believe that surgeons are not different than any other specialty, there's the good, the average and the bad. I was told by 3 others, that my skiing days were over....thank goodness I didn't take their advice. Of course my wife thinks I'm insane to want to go back to the mountains!!!! :spin:
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Interesting thing about implant surgery, you can do anything and everything especially if you know and you're willing to accept the consequences.
I agree with that, I know that I'm NOT the same as I was prior to issues, the risks are higher, and I accept that, but I figure I was given a reasonable chance at a normal life and the key will be NOT to abuse it, and therefore I must learn to temper my spirit accordingly.

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