THR Starting recovery - THR 15th January 2022

YorkieSimon

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Hi All

Simon here in the UK (Harrogate in Yorkshire for any of you that know this part of the world). I had my left hip replaced on Saturday - I was coming out of surgery 72 hours ago - and am now at home beginning the journey to recovery.

Not surprisingly, my left leg is pretty swollen from the knee up, and I have quite a bit of pain and discomfort. I can see from all the helpful advice and comments on the site that I need to get some gels so I can ice my leg. I have codeine and paracetamol to help with the pain, but I am missing the OxyContin that they gave me in the hospital! Hopefully, I'm just a few weeks away from being relatively pain free.

This has all been a bit of a rush - I was still in denial in December about whether or not I even needed THR, but my specialist (who I had not been able to see because of Covid) told me a month ago that I needed the op, and then gave me a surgery date of 15th Jan... I had bone growth around my hip socket ("I'll need to take a chisel to that!" in the words of Mr Conroy, my consultant), and the operation was pretty brutal. My abiding memory is of the sound of something (my skeleton!) being hit hard with a hammer - and that is certainly what my leg feels like it has experienced.

Looking forward to sharing my journey with the forum, and I am so pleased I have found somewhere I can find some lived experience of all this. Health websites are all very well, but too often it is from the medics not those who have been through it!

Take care all

Simon
 

newguy

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Simon , welcome , yes my left hip was replaced on December 21 here in North Carolina USA. I had turned my hip into bone dust from all my years of running while the hip was impinged and didn’t know it until it was too late . Oh yes the first few days . Ouch . My nurse said I was abused in the surgery!! That stuff goes flying!! But it is what it is and our nice new hips don’t hurt . The surgery pain will go away . Today is my 28 day post op . Using a cane outside to walk 4km today and no cane indoors . My swelling is just about gone . That was no joke for the first 2+ weeks . It gets better!! Allen
 

Jaycey

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@YorkieSimon Welcome to BoneSmart! I too am in Yorkshire! Was Jon Conroy your surgeon? Lucky you! And more luck in getting a surgery date. The situation here in the UK is pretty dire for anyone waiting for "elective" surgery.

Get that icing going if you are having break through pain. Ice for 45-60 minutes several times per day. It's all the internal and external swelling that is causing the pain.

Do let us know if you have any questions or concerns. We have already been through this journey (some of us twice) and are here to help!

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.
 

Layla

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Hello and :welome: to BoneSmart and recovery. Thank you for joining us.

Looking forward to sharing my journey with the forum, and I am so pleased I have found somewhere I can find some lived experience of all this. Health websites are all very well, but too often it is from the medics not those who have been through it!

You’ve come to the right place. We’d love to share in the progress of your recovery and will be available to offer advice, encouragement and support along the way. I wish you comfort as you begin healing and look forward to following your journey.
Stay in touch. :)
 

Caison113

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Welcome Simon. Funny how all our stories are different, but still sound so alike. I'm about to hit week 5 and could not be happier with my progress. Still have some stiffness and residual pain (that likes to move around), but I'm pain meds free, cane free and can move around pretty well -- but still taking it easy on any sudden moves.

Ice, elevation and not doing anything are really the key for the first week, and even longer depending on how you are doing. Sleep won't come easy for a bit, but you should start to see real differences 7-10 days out. Once the swelling, bruising and incision pain start to fade, you'll be amazed at how you no longer have to "pre-wince" at certain movements that used to cause you pain. It's weird, but wonderful.

Best of luck!
 
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YorkieSimon

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I've been sleeping on my back since then op, and can probably cope with that in the medium term, but was told I could sleep on my non-op side if I wanted. The couple of times I have tried to get in that position, I felt a lot of pain and decided not to go through with the move.

Any experiences or tips around that? Should I just be brave, or does pain mean "don't do it!"?
 

subie2021

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You're very early in recovery...just days!
Would there be a point to sleeping on your side when it hurts so much you couldn't sleep anyway?
Speaking from my own experience, and probably for many other hippies' also, you have quite a bit of back sleeping in front of you. If your surgeon has cleared you to try, you might find it easier to use several pillows between your legs and as a sort of wall in front and back to support you so you don't roll over and hurt yourself.
I found back sleeping easier with the judicious use of pillows...two under my legs, one between my feet, and two (or a wedge) to support my head, neck, and shoulders.
As far as pain being a signal to stop doing whatever.... yep, it's your body telling you that you need quit doing that particular thing.
Don't try to push, don't try to rush recovery, don't stress out by comparing your recovery to anyone else's. Everyone is different but it takes as long as it takes for each of us.
Good luck! Be patient! Remember that you have a great community of support right here.
 

Coddfish

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Welcome to the healing side. I found I could only sleep on my back for the first few weeks. Eventually I could lie on my good leg with a pillow between my legs. Even now, over 4 months in, it’s uncomfortable to stay long on the side that was cut. It’s a pain but you will get through it - we all do.
 

Elf1

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@YorkieSimon :wave: Happy you've decided to join us. It's great to share your recovery so those coming after you have some insight just as is learning from those going before us.

I couldn't sleep on my non-op leg for probably the first three months or so, and longer on the op side. When trying to sleep on the non-op side it felt like it was pulling on my other side. I'm guessing it was causing all those tendons and soft tissue to move around and they weren't happy! :snork:
 

Jaycey

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@YorkieSimon Very early days for you. I remember being able to sleep on the non-op side about 4 weeks out of my RTHR. But it took awhile before I could do this for any length of time. Do put a pillow between your legs as you don't want that top leg to fall forward.

Just keep trying - you'll get there!
 

Eman85

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Any experiences or tips around that? Should I just be brave, or does pain mean "don't do it!"?
Yes, pain means don't do it. When I first tried sleeping on non-op side I got an odd sensation like the leg was pulling out of the socket, not a good thing. Took some time and it got better. Pillows are a great aid when trying to find the comfortable sleeping position. I slept with a pillow between my legs on my back and used it as I started to move towards my side, it kept the pulling sensation from happening.
 
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YorkieSimon

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Thanks all! I am OK sleeping on my back so will stick with that for the moment.

I'm getting sleep in 2 hour blocks at the moment - usually just after I've had my codeine!

Day 4 today, and my poor swollen leg has been pretty painful. I have some very colourful bruises emerging - one on the inside of my thigh, the other around the wound. And I continue to be very thirsty - it's all very well drinking so much water, but it means I need the toilet every couple of hours!

Two ice gel pads got delivered this evening - they were pretty cold from the delivery van so I applied them straight away. Now they are in the freezer, getting ready for the second go.

Early days, and I am keeping myself positive reminding myself that it's only a few months until this is all a distant memory.
 

Layla

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Hello YorkieSimon,
Staying adequately hydrated helps your body get rid of toxins from the anesthesia amongst other benefits. The trips to the bathroom are good…keeping you mobile at a time when its easy to laze around. I hope the ice helps with any pain or discomfort you’re dealing with. I sure found it beneficial. :ice:

Should I just be brave, or does pain mean "don't do it!"?
“Pain Is Your Body Asking For Change” so you’re wise in listening.
I hope you have a nice rest of the week. :)
@YorkieSimon
 

Mojo333

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:wave:@YorkieSimon
Congrats on being on The Healing Side of your hip journey.:egypdance:

The Sleep Thing is pretty annoying, and as we are all different...I won't depress you with how long it took me to get back to an all night sleep in my bed after my BTHR.:umm:

Power naps sustained me as I resigned myself to just having to get up and putter about when I got too uncomfortable.
It does get better.

All worth the results, too.
 
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YorkieSimon

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Day 5 - it was a glorious sunny day, but cold! I am feeling a bit more steady on my feet, and am benefiting from my new ice gels and a heap of pillows. Today I ventured outside for a very short trip down to the corner of the road and back. Literally 60 yards in total, and I stood in the sunshine for 30 seconds when I got there.

Elevation and ice - why did the hospital not tell me about these??? My swelling has gone down a bit (or it had done until I sat for a couple of hours!), and ice on the wound site is such a relief.

For anyone else who has not tried these two wonders, get some ice and stack up some pillows!

I managed 4 hours sleep in one block last night, plus another couple later on and a midday kip. I'm sure that is also helping, and while it is still very early days, I am feeling positive right now.
 

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That is fantastic that the ice, elevation and pillows are helping! I seriously don't know why the hospitals don't seem to be on board with the ice and elevation either. Because I had found this site before my surgery I knew to ask for ice. They kind of looked at me like I had 2 heads and brought me a pack. When I tried to get a replacement for the one that had melted all over me they said the ice machine was broken. Hmm, found that kind of suspect! :heehee:

Wasn't a fan before the surgery but quickly became an ice fan!.:ice:
 

CricketHip

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@Elf1 and I suppose there was only ONE ice machine in the entire hospital??? eeesch!

Ice paks are the best for pain relief, I think I had a grand total of 6 to rotate in and out of the freezer.
Happy icing @YorkieSimon
 

Eman85

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Ice seems to be an American secret, for some reason patients in the UK are not informed by their OS or the hospital about the benefits of it. My surgery came with a take home icing machine that they placed on me right after surgery. It was a great friend and I kept it running continuously even when I went to bed.
 
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YorkieSimon

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Day 6 and a touch of the blues today. I didn't sleep so well and have been tired and in pain several times. Blues was more me feeling sorry for myself than anything else really, and a lunchtime chat with my son helped. He is being my helper through recovery and has been an absolute star so far.

I got out in the chilly sun again - down to the end of the road to look over the allotments to the Yorkshire Dales in the distance. This buoyed me up somewhat, until I got back and felt exhausted! ODIC candidate, I think.

A rest after lunch, but no sleep today. I'll hopefully compensate by sleeping a bit this evening and (fingers crossed) a lot tonight.

This time last week I was nervously awaiting the trip to the hospital in the morning, wondering how long I would be in for, whether it would hurt, and just what might happen.

Now I know the answers to those questions, but am wondering what "recovered" will be like, whether I will ever be comfortable again, and what else lies in store on my journey. I'm wishing I had a comfier chair and that my wife was in better health so she could help me more.
 

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