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Walker vs crutches after surgery?

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nerdgrrl

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Yay! I finally have a date for surgery - Nov 7, 2012.

Now I am starting to think more about the practicalities of maneuvering around after surgery. So does anyone have an opinion on using crutches vs. a walker after surgery? I already own some crutches and am pretty nimble on them (or I was last time I needed to use them), so I was planning on using those. However, if there is a strong case for a walker, then I can see about getting one (it will be cheaper than buying from the hospital, I am sure).

Also, I live on a hill and getting into my house requires the use of stairs. Mentioning just in case those are factors for one or the other.
 

Josephine

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Such things are usually dictated by the surgeons and PTs, nerdgirl. Though personally I was more comfortable with elbow crutches than either a walker or a cane. Apart from the fact that my PT only allowed me a walker for two days and then took it right way so I would have to use my crutches! I was perfectly happy with them and even when I went down to one, persisted on that until I needed nothing any more. So no walker, no cane, just crutches! Got them still upstairs waiting for when I have my other knee done sometime next year!
 

sharonslp

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Nerdgirl, I've gotten the sense that people in the US are more likely to use a walker and then a cane, and in the UK and other countries, it's more likely to be crutches. This is not across the board...there are exceptions on both sides... but more of a general trend. Did your surgeon's office give you any material to read, or any packet of info? I was given a packet when I scheduled my surgeries, and the folder included prescriptions for the assistive devices he wanted me to use....walker, cane, raised toilet seat, and optional for a grabber thingie and sock aid. Check your insurance...these may be covered for you when you have a prescription.

If not, call or email the office and ask. And if you prefer to use crutches, say so and ask if that's okay. Do you know if you will be weight-bearing right away? If you're not, it seems to me that crutches make more sense. If you are, then it doesn't matter as much.

Regardless of what you use, you'll be on your own two feet unassisted in the very foreseeable future. Isn't that a wonderful thing to contemplate. :)

Sharon
 

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I used a walker once in the hospital and found it very awkward. Since I had been on one crutch for 6 months pre-op I was more comfortable with it. They made me leave hospital with two but I got rid of the second one after about a day at home.

Sharon is right - talk to your OS and the PT when you are in hospital. If they see you are comfortable they will let you go home with it.
 

Road_Clam

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My surgeon commented he want's me to use a walker.
 

rider1960

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The walker felt very stable to me, which was what I needed. I really leaned on mine afterwards because my leg was so weak. It also won't fall over like crutches will if you happen to let go of one. Both my hospitals and my surgeon recommended a walker. I used that for about 3-4 weeks and then moved to a cane. I don't think crutches are used as much in the U.S. for hip replacement as they are in the U.K. or other countries.

Dorothy
 

Anniepops

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Yes, it does appear to be standard in the UK that you use the walker on day one then progress to crutches on day two. Personally, I really disliked the walker, I found it really hurt my wrists and hands, possible as I was non weightbearing. I was so happy on day two to get my crutches and felt very steady on them but that's not saying it would be the same for everybody.

Nerdgirl...you will most likely be shown how to use stairs before you leave the hospital and will need some sort of cane or crutch to use on the stairs. Best to have a chat about that with the hospital people.

Good Luck

Ann
 
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nerdgrrl

nerdgrrl

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Thanks for all the replies! I am awaiting my packet from the surgeon, which should be here early next week. I'm sure that will answer many of my questions and raise a few more. The surgeon mentioned either walker or crutches when I met with him, so as you all mentioned, it probably depends on how the PT and surgeon evaluate me after surgery. It sounded like he prefers weight-bearing right away, I'll have to look at my notes from my original appt. I'll ask at my pre-surgery appointment at the hospital, as well.
 

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Hubby John was full weight bearing immediately; they had him up and walking as soon as he was awake enough and recovered enough from the anesthetic, which was early evening after surgery was mid-morning.

He liked the stability of the walker for the first day home while figuring out how his leg muscles worked after surgery. Then he navigated around the house with nothing; used a cane when he went out for the first couple weeks. He felt very stable very quickly, but he does have a really good sense of balance. I don't have that type of balance, so I'll probably use a walker for several days and then progress to crutches...but I'm also have both hips done at once, so I won't have a leg to stand on! :heehee:

I prefer crutches over a walker, but with my knee replacements, I HAD to use the walker because of the extreme pain and the fact I was drugged outta my mind for a couple of weeks afterwards. But knees are very different from hips! I plan to only use the walker for a few days at the most with my hips.

Weezy
 

alexthecat

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The first time I walked after my surgery, I used a walker because we weren't sure if I would be stable enough for crutches. My THR took 5 hours and I'd lost a lot of blood. Since that first walk went well, I switched to crutches. The PT was supportive of that, but the nurses made it clear that they did not approve. I'd been on crutches for about six months at that point though and felt very comfortable with them. I continued using crutches for the first week after my surgery and then switched to a cane.
 

Elle11

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Hey Nerdgirl,

That is great news you have your surgery scheduled and pain free looms in the future for you!

I used my walker for three weeks. My PT wanted to get me on crutches wight away, but I took an immediate dislike to them (not to mention I couldn't hang things from them like you can with a walker!) The walker made me feel safe. I kept it at my bedside for night time bathroom trips, which also made me feel safe. After that, I used a cane for a couple weeks.

You said you used crutches before and you liked them, so perhaps that might be your way to go. Let's see what it will say in your information packet.

Warm regards,

Elle
 
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