THR Ryan's Hip Recovery

Rebelguy

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Hi All,

I just had anterior left total hip replacement on Monday, the 26th. Let me give a brief description of how we got to that point.

Last August, I started having pain in my left hip. I am 37 and have been active my whole life. Played all sports through high school and then became an avid runner. I also love golfing with my dad on the weekends. I thought this pain was just a hip flexor injury. After not going away for 2 months, I got an x-ray and was told I had severe arthritis in my left hip and moderate in my right hip. I saw an orthopedist who confirmed this and said it was just from wear and tear and that I would need a new hip within a year or two.

I was stunned as I thought arthritis was an older person's disease and that it was a slow process. Within a month or two I began limping severely and my right hip began acting up. In my head there had to be something else wrong. I decided to switch my insurance this past July to a PPO where I would be able to get a second opinion. The new orthopedic surgeon I saw took one glance at my x-rays and said "You have something called AVN and you need surgery as soon as possible". As shocking as it was, I knew it was right for the way my body had been feeling. It is almost as if my upper body was too heavy for my hips and it was starting to take a toll on my knees and legs. For some reason I trusted this surgeon's opinion instantly. He made me feel like he could really help me out. I scheduled my surgery that day.

Fast forward 10 weeks from that day and we are now at the present. My surgeon prefers the anterior method and uses a joint called Conformis. I had to get a CT scan so a computer could build a hip that is custom to my anatomy. I am extremely anxious any time I go to a hospital and this past Monday was no different. Everything went smooth other than this doctor gives a nerve block in the spine and the person doing it missed the spot about 5 times. :( After they finally hit the right spot, my whole lower body went numb, oxygen mask went on, and then I woke up in recovery. I stayed overnight in the hospital. The only hiccup being the first time they got me up and walking (4 hours after surgery) I felt like I was going to pass out and my blood pressure dropped significantly. It came back up and I was home the following night.

I am now on Day 3 after surgery. My leg is very swollen and I am icing it constantly. I use a walker to get around the house. I have moderate pain in my left thigh but I was told this is very common. I also have to wear these compression cuffs for a minimum of 6 hours a day.

I currently have thoughts that my hip will never be the same or that my thigh pain could be an infection. I have to continually remind myself that I am only 3 days out of a pretty big surgery. It will take time.

Anyway, I have a physical therapist that will be here in a few hours. I will let you all know how that goes. Until then I hope everyone with these issues continues to heal and stay positive. Talk to you soon.
 

HollyNY

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Hi Ryan,
You are in the right place for support. These folks really know their stuff.

Congrats on the new hip!

My surgery was 9/12 but similar to yours. Mine used the MAKO robot guided by a CT scan. Anterior incision w right hip.

I had hip dysplasia so my new hip was customized similar to yours to fix my leg length discrepancy and severe osteoarthritis.

Day 3 can be *real tough*. The spinal and other long acting pain meds have worn off.

I iced and elevated almost continuously and took the pain meds on schedule. These do help!



Holly
 

djklaugh

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@Rebelguy Welcome to BoneSmart! Yes you are only 3 days out from having MAJOR surgery! It takes time for your body to heal - not just the incisions but the internal parts too! It can take what will seem like a long time (6+ months or so) to feel fully back to a new normal. Please do NOT let the PT person force your new hip at all!

Here is our Hip Recovery Guidelines:

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
elevate
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

BoneSmart philosophy for sensible post op therapy
5. At week 4 and after you should follow this

Activity progression for THRs
6. Access these pages on the website

Oral And Intravenous Pain Medications
Wound Care In Hospital

The Recovery articles:

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.
 

djklaugh

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PS - around here the leg swelling after hip replacement is called "log leg" and is totally normal. It does take a week or 2 to subside - the elevating your leg plus ice packs does help with that. And yes you will definitely get to feel better soon - probably before you see your surgeon for your post op visit.
 

CricketHip

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Hi Ryan, I like how detailed your first post is.
First- swelling is very normal after surgery.
It’s your body’s response to create inflammation which then helps kick start the healing process.
In a way it could be viewed as reassuring, knowing your body is having a healthy response.
The swelling usually recedes by day 7 or so but can be helped by elevating properly and icing like it’s your job.
Glad you found the forum and hope it’s as helpful to you as it was to me when I had my THR’s.
 

Going4fun

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You had anterior approach surgery, from the front. So yes, it's normal for your thigh to be sore at three days. And swelling is absolutely normal at three days. In fact, swelling can last for weeks.

You haven't even begun recovery at three days ... ok, of course, you've begun! ... But your body will heal and you don't have to push it.

Keep reading here and go through old threads and read.
 

Layla

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Hello and Welcome to the forum. Thanks for joining us!
I currently have thoughts that my hip will never be the same or that my thigh pain could be an infection. I have to continually remind myself that I am only 3 days out of a pretty big surgery. It will take time.
Complications are rare. Pain / discomfort at this stage is totally normal.
Yes, it will never match your natural hip as my surgeon's PT reminded me, but it certainly feels like it, or better after dealing with a deteriorating hip. As time rolls on, you'll very often forget its a prosthetic. I am not going to say a day goes by that I'm not reminded a time or three, but I view that as my body's way of protecting me from getting foolishly complacent.

The first stage of healing is the inflammatory phase. During this time it is very common to notice swelling. After lower extremity surgery, or trauma involving bleeding and inflammation, there will be fluid in the leg causing the sensation of heaviness. Gravity pulls the fluid downward and since the patient is less mobile the fluid is not pumping back through the heart as quickly. The swelling gradually eases, but can persist for up to 3-6 months in some cases. Regular movement will assist in the reduction of swelling, as will elevation and ice. Your surgeon may prescribe compression stockings for a short period of time.

Following joint replacement, you may benefit from the use of a Leg Lifter. The Leg Lifter is a mobility aid that can assist in getting in and out of cars, wheelchairs, beds, recliners and much more. The Leg Lifter is an inexpensive option that helps provide safe movement in the early days, to weeks, of recovery.

I'm betting you'll do great! Stay in touch with updates, we love following progress and offering support along the way. Congrats on your shiny new hip!
 

BellaMac

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Welcome and congratulations on your new hip. I look forward to following your journey to an active life.
 
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Rebelguy

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Just wanted to give an update after day 3. Physical therapist came this afternoon and had me moving more than I had any day so far. Just up and down my stairs and some walking. I don't know why but this is the first time that this surgery has seemed so overwhelming. My pain has increased a bit and I am just down right now. I am guessing there will be highs and lows during this recovery.

I also have a 6 year old son, my wife is 7 months pregnant, and I am facing the reality that I have AVN in my other hip as well.

I am about to grab some ice, pop a painkiller, and hope I wake up with a more positive attitude.

Ryan
 

Woodstockhip

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Oh, @Rebelguy, I get it. I had my left hip replaced about 12 hours ago. I’m trying (and) failing to sleep, achy and a little nauseated but hey, I’m awake. And so are you. So let me remind you, that feeling of being down is absolutely normal. In fact, there’s an excellent post about it on this forum to which a non-drugged mod will most likely direct you. I know the feelings are hard but they will pass and you’ll be feeling better in no time. And in 3 days, I’ll be reading this back to myself. Try to sleep and thanks for the company!
 

Tuppence71

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Hi @Rebelguy - I had a pretty down day yesterday, too. I’m a week or so ahead of you, so a lot of the really hard stuff is behind me, but it still feels as if there is a long road ahead before I can resume doing all the things I love. And of course, all that adrenaline that was surging through my system in the build-up to the operation has drained away now, so I just feel a bit flat.

It’s fine and natural to feel a bit low and sorry for yourself. It would be a bit odd if you didn’t. But you will start to see little bits of progress very soon - once you are over the early trauma of surgery, every day is going to be better than the last, so long as you force yourself not to push too hard. And by the time your new baby arrives (congratulations!), you are going to be in much better shape than you have been for years.

Be kind to yourself. You’ve had major surgery, it’s a Really Big Deal.
 
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cold_brew

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Hopefully all uphill after the 3 day ‘valley’ when all the adrenaline and anesthetics wear off. It gets better!
 

FCBayern

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Early, early days @Rebelguy. Lots of ice elevation and stay on top of the pain meds for now, things will begin improving soon. Even though this is a 12 month recovery, in a few short weeks you will realize your hip hurts less than before surgery and it's getting BETTER not worse! I've had many surgeries but joint replacement was truly life changing for the better.
 

Sgherzi67

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I’m just like Hilly. Had my left hip replaced 9/20 due to severe bone on bone osteoarthritis including hip dysplasia and leg length discrepancy. My dr used the MAKO robotic arm but not the anterior thigh incision. Night after surgery my pain was severe: 12/10. Finally the nurse gave me 10mg Oxycodone which took the pain down to a 4/10. Went home the next morning but had to take 2 Norco for pain at least twice a day. I’m now day 10 from surgery doing hip exercises as recommended by my physical therapist. Not much pain but still icing three times a day. Still using walker I’m hoping to go down to a cane soon. Wondering when I will be able to walk on my own????
 

HollyNY

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Hi @Sgherzi67
I was concerned about the same thing.

It was something I asked about in the pre-op appointment.

Being me I can never have just 1 problem. There is a small amount of lumbar scoliosis in my spine. My doc did not want to overcorrect the hip too much and cause other issues w my gait.

My legs are not completely even but it is nothing that can't be fixed w a shoe insert.

It is so much better than it was.

Some of your answer will depend on your specific anatomy and any other issues you have


Holly
 

Sgherzi67

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Holly;
Yes I too have spinal issues: scoliosis upper spine; some degenerative disc disease and also spinal stenosis but my ortho dr didn’t seem concerned. I have zero back pain and zero bilateral knee pain which I had before surgery. I just want to get off the walker.
 
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Rebelguy

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Day 4 was pretty similar to day 3. There were only a couple things worth mentioning.

Awkward topic: Constipation. In 37 years of my life, I honestly didn't know what this actually meant. I usually wake up every morning, handle my business and move on with the rest of my day. This surgery through that routine out of wack. After being told I should start taking something called ClearLax, let's just say I have never been so relieved to actually go to the bathroom. Definitely a day 4 victory.

The remainder of the day I spent just pushing my body a little more than I did in day 3. I went upstairs and spent some time in our guest room organizing a few things. I walked a little bit more than usual but not too excess.

At the end of the day I definitely notice when I have done more. I am also noticing at night I am starting to get little zaps/sharp pains in different places of my operated leg. Not too sure what these are, possibly nerves firing?

Anyway, mostly boring day. Time to tackle the weekend!

Ryan
 

HollyNY

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Good morning Ryan,
Yep those zaps and zings are from the nerve(s) being moved.

Totally normal.

I have taken the same approach to activity. Each day a bit more. But nothing to excess.
 

Eman85

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I was given Miralax in the hospital as soon as I got to my room and continued with it at home so I avoided any problems.
Zings and Zaps are common and attention getting, with my left they lasted for a long time right was over quicker.
 

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