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THR When can I walk

J lincoln

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This is my first post in this forum. 54M with right hip replaced Feb 24, 2020 (anterior approach). I used walker for two weeks then switched to cane which I need primarily for balance. For the first four weeks I had moderate pain in upper thigh that has now subsided for the most part short of PT exercises. My frustration is that I still very much rely on the cane for walking. I walk the dog about 3/4 mile over the course of a day and I can walk at a decent rate of speed but without the cane I would be a wobbling disaster. I am doing all the PT exercises at home I am supposed to do but seem stuck at this phase of relying on cane. Curious about what others experienced with the goal of unaided walking.
 

Jaycey

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@J lincoln Welcome to BoneSmart and the other side of surgery.

Still very early days out of surgery for you. Just keep using the cane until you start leaving it behind. Walking unaided is different for everyone. If you need the cane for stability and it help you avoid limping then please keep at it.

Sounds like you have a lot of activity going on. You really don't need any PT exercises if you are doing all that walking. You might want to ease off the PT and just focus on heel, toe walking to improve your gait.

I'll leave your recovery articles here 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:
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 Welcome to BoneSmart. Thanks for joining us here.
I had a pesky limp also and found relief through the heel-toe walking, Jaycey, described above. It took concentration, felt unnatural and slipped my mind often, but it does work. Please try it. It helped me feel more in control than just allowing my familiar sloppy gait take over each time I was on my feet. Let us know how it works for you.
A great rest of the week to you. stay safe and well!
@J lincoln
 

CricketHip

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Hello and welcome! If it helps to relieve your mind, I walked with a cane for the first 9 weeks while working hard to get my gait established. It was even longer before I felt I could walk with any speed associated with it.
I need to echo Jaycey's thoughts on your activities. You sound like you are doing a lot if you are walking 3/4 a mile on top of the PT?
Then when you factor in your activities of daily living, it sounds like a bit too much to me.
 

Eman85

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It's the old story of everyone is different. What is the same it seems is the length of recovery which you can see in the guidelines.
My proper walking tip is to use a shopping cart. Now with the stay at home orders this will be tougher. I would park at the furthest cart corral that had a cart so I didn't need my cane. I would then use the cart as a gliding walker and walk slowly and very purposefully. I would make laps around the big store and then back out to the car. I assume no responsibility for how this works or how much money you spend.
 
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J lincoln

J lincoln

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Thanks for the kind welcome and the advice. I am 6+ weeks post surgery now and still have the limp. I guess I just need to stay the course with PT and/or long walks with cane and soon enough I will be able to walk unaided. On the positive side I already have better flexibility (e.g. Putting socks on without issue) and much less pain. Before surgery I was taking a lot of ibuprofen daily (probably above recommended limit... about 2000 mg daily at ~ 275 lbs). Now I am not taking any pain meds on a regular basis. Only an occasional Tylenol if i have pain flair up.
 

Layla

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Good Morning J lincoln,
Six weeks already, my how time flies. I’m wondering if your PT has advised heel-toe walking in an effort to lose the limp?
A tip -
Try heel-toe walking when / if you're limping. Let your heel hit the ground first followed by toes. It takes a concentrated effort but I believe you'll notice a difference. Give it a try.

It sounds as though you’re making great progress. Improved flexibility, putting on socks, losing the need for daily pain relief. All very encouraging.
Take care, be safe, stay well and keep in touch! :)
@J lincoln
 

Layla

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Happy Two Month Anniversary!
I hope you’re doing well in your recovery and making steady progress.
Please leave an update when you have time. We’d love to offer support as you continue healing.
Have a great weekend...be safe and stay well!
@J lincoln
 

Eman85

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Part of my walking routine was at the local city park. They have a small walking track which is flat so walking was easier there. I would go every day and walk and was sure to walk slow and properly, or as best I could with the cane. Little by little it got better and I would touch the cane to the ground every other step and then every 4th step. It took time and I went every day, distance came with it but I was more concerned about form. Walking was the PT aside from some stretches. I have people I know that have had THR and still limp, they didn't do the walking PT.
 

swimmer77

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I have read a lot of very good things on this forum but to me this is the best piece of advice:

"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."

I will get another crack at this healing process with my other hip eventually. And that BIG TIP is firmly entrenched in my brain. I tried to do too much (PT, walking, steps) in the beginning. I wouldn't hesitate to can PT in favor of walking as much as I think is enough on a given day.

If you follow the "BIG TIP" then other things (icing, rest) have a chance to be more effective in the healing process.
 
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J lincoln

J lincoln

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Thanks for all the feedback and recommendations. I have tried the ‘heel/toe‘ approach and I think this has helped. Tomorrow, (4/27/20) will be exactly 9 weeks post THR. For the last few weeks I have been able to walk without a cane but when I do I have a slight wobble in my gait. So, around the house and in the yard I am cane free (with wobble) but I use the cane for longer dog walks. One pleasant surprise in this recovery process is that I am and have been mostly pain free since week 2. My limp is due to lack of strength and balance but I am not in pain trying to walk. Pre surgery I got in the habit of buying ibuprofen by bulk as I was using them so often....now I have about 4 unopened bottles at 500 per bottle that I am not sure what to with. I am glad I am not taking them as much as I know I was exceeding daily max dosage. My hitch in my gait is gradually getting better and I think I am very close to walking unaided and in a straight line. I am really looking forward to putting that cane down for good.
 

Celle

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Pre surgery I got in the habit of buying ibuprofen by bulk as I was using them so often....now I have about 4 unopened bottles at 500 per bottle that I am not sure what to with.
When you can, return them to your local pharmacy. They can dispose of drugs safely.
I'm afraid you probably won't get any payment for them, but at least you'll be assured that they won't be mis-used, or put anyone's health at risk. Those NSAIDs can have nasty side-effects.
 

Mojo333

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:wave:@J lincoln
Splendid update...:happydance:
You will get there...lots of improvements to come. Time is often the biggest factor and it's hard to be a patient patient.

I love this quote:
We ain't what we want to be. We ain't what we gonna be. But, thank God, we ain't what we was.” ― Martin Luther King Jr.

Hope you have a Happy healing week.
 

Layla

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Great progress! Good for you...thanks for the update. Continue to concentrate on the heel/toe walking, it does help.
Happy Nine Week Anniversary. Hope you have a wonderful week!
@J lincoln
 

Layla

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Happy Three Month Anniversary!
We would love to hear from you, hope you’re doing well and enjoying steady progress.
Hope to hear from you soon. Until then...all the best!
@J lincoln
 

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