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[THR] Weird Symptoms 16 weeks post hip replacement

Carol514

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Hello All -

I've been reading this forum and have received so much valuable information. I thank you all for that. Now I'm having some serious symptoms, concerns, worries, and would like to know if anyone has experienced any of this and might have some advice or comfort.

I'll start by answering Josephine's questions to others who are experiencing problems. I had a right posterolateral total hip replacement (supposedly 'mini' but there was nothing 'mini' about it) on 5/14/2019. I seemed to recover really well. For four weeks after the surgery, I was on gabapentin 100mg 3x daily, 325mg aspirin and Protonix to protect the stomach. I was given oxycodone, but didn't need it. I progressed really well from a walker to a cane and was getting stronger with PT (maybe something went wrong in PT but I don't think so). Was walking at least a mile daily and doing the stationary bike.

At 8 weeks post surgery, I started to get an annoying dull ache in the lateral (outside) calf area. At around 12 weeks, I started to get a burning feeling and pins and needles feeling in that calf area and my foot (all this is on the surgical side) along with the calf pain. At about 15 weeks post-surgery, I started to get pain in the right buttock; it feels like I'm sitting on something weird. The pain ranges from 1 to 10, depending on my position. It seems to be alleviated by walking and/or riding the stationary bike. Worse when lying on my back. I've had lower back issues in the past. Also had bursitis in the past but thought the surgery would eliminate that.

I saw the surgeon, who said it's not piriformis syndrome (I thought it was, it seemed to fit all the criteria). But he said piriformis syndrome isn't common and almost can't happen after hip surgery. He thought it was a pinched nerve. He stopped the PT and put me on a 6 day prednisone dosepack which seems to have helped a little. I'm taking that and Tylenol and now, occasionally, the oxycodone to help me sleep with the discomfort.

Anybody have any experience with anything like this? I tend to catastrophize things and imagine myself in pain for life, unable to walk, my nerves shriveling up, etc., etc., etc.

Thank you!!!!
 

Jamie

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Hi, Carol...welcome to BoneSmart. I'm glad you have found BoneSmart to be helpful and hopefully we can get you through this challenge to your recovery.

Not that I want to knock your surgeon, but he needs to read BoneSmart and he would find that piriformis syndrome is quite common after hip replacements. We have many members who share this "pain in the butt" with you. It can be tricky to get it resolved sometimes, so you'll need to be persistent. Here's an article for you, if you haven't already seen it:

Piriformis syndrome - a pain in the butt!

Did he have anything to say about your calf pain? It may be that you were a bit too aggressive with your exercise as you started feeling better. If you still are experiencing that pain, I suggest you stop any exercises for a couple of weeks and rest/ice any areas that hurt to see if you have any improvement. What kind of other activity do you have during the day besides exercise? Job? Family? Errands/household chores? Hobbies? The total of a lot of seemingly "normal" activities can also stress muscles and ligaments that are trying to adjust to their correct alignment with your new hip.

Please try not to worry about this. It sounds like soft tissue issues which frequently happen after joint replacement surgery.

Here are some basic recovery articles that will give you a better idea of how long complete recovery generally takes.

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
5. At week 4 and after you should follow this
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.
 

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