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THR Winspiration - almost 6 weeks on, recovering well

Winspiration

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Hello! I did mean to start a recovery thread at a much earlier stage, but as you can see, it didn't happen for various reasons, including concentrating on recovering of course, and spending much less time on the pc than normal.

Thank you very much for all of the information on BoneSmart, which I have found really helpful, particularly in the run up to surgery, getting prepared with various gadgets etc and a good idea of what to expect. I had about 5 weeks notice of the op and had been expecting to wait a lot longer for it, so was very pleased that it happened sooner than expected.

My left hip had been deteriorating for a few years, starting with a very slight limp which got a lot worse over time. Fortunately it wasn't hugely painful, but it did end up very much limiting my mobility. I was diagnosed with trochanteric bursitis to start with, but eventually went for an X-ray in Feb 2020, which confirmed arthritis in both hips and lower back. Due to Covid, I didn't get to see a consultant / get onto the waiting list until March this year.

The op itself went very smoothly, I had an epidural with sedation. I didn't want to know anything about the mechanics of what was going on while it was happening, and fortunately I was fast asleep for most of it, waking up about 10 mins before the end when all the heavy duty stuff was over and done with!

I was back home within a couple of days. A relative very kindly came to stay for a week to help out, since then I've managed on my own, with regular visits from a friend to help out with the things that I couldn't do.

The new hip itself seems to have bedded in fine and I've had very few aches from it. After reading up on Bonesmart, I had bought a wedge pillow and a couple of extra large ice packs. I also took note of the advice not to overdo things, and rested a lot, so no doubt plenty of RICE helped with that :ice:

I had awful backache for a few days after the op, which the painkillers I was on didn't touch, until I was given a dose of oral morphine in the hospital. After that sleeping propped up for a couple of days and then using a small cushion under the small of my back while sleeping / using a hot wheat bag on it during the day helped to calm it down. I expect it was mostly a reaction to what was done during the surgery, but I had had quite a bit of back pain in the run up to the op, as I was busy moving things around and decluttering as part of getting ready for it. Funny, I never seemed to experience much back pain until being told that my X-ray showed signs of arthritis in the lower back!

The other main issue that I had was a reaction to the wound dressing, which I think was an Aquacel dressing. It was getting a bit red around the edges and itchy, which was a problem at night particularly when trying to sleep. I thought this was part of the usual healing process, until I realised that a huge blister had come up under one edge of the dressing. My appointment for removal wasn't due for a few more days, but I managed to get in to see a nurse at my local GP surgery straight away. She removed the dressing (it was day 13, so due to come off soon anyway) and confirmed that I'd had an allergic reaction with a couple of blisters coming up - fortunately not infected and not affecting the wound itself. Happily that's all cleared up now although there is still a reddish outline of where the adhesive was, several weeks on. I did have at least a couple of conversations before the op about my declared allergy to plasters, and the doctors concluded that it was likely to be to the old red style of plasters. Once I realised that I was allergic, I hadn't really considered experimenting with different types of plaster - just avoided them altogether. Being a bit slow on the uptake, I hadn't twigged why they were so interested, but I suppose to be fair, with a wound that is about 10 inches long, they did need something fairly heavy duty as a wound dressing and I'm not sure what the alternative would have been.

Almost six weeks on, I've mostly dispensed with crutches whilst walking about the house and garden, and am now down to one crutch on outside walks. I've been going out most days for a stroll of up to an hour - although this includes time out to rest on a bench once or twice per outing, and I can really feel the improvement in strength and posture as a result. I was very tired when I got back from the first few outings, but less so as time has gone on. I have been doing some physio stretches / exercises daily too, although the physio has stressed that walking is the best therapy and the exercises she has suggested only take a few minutes per day.

So all in all, I'm very pleased with how things are going so far, and fingers crossed I will continue to improve.

Going forward I am thinking of getting a recumbent exercise bike and / or possibly an elliptical cross trainer to use going forward, as I would like to improve my overall fitness. Prior to the op, I was using a Wondercore exercise gadget for at least half an hour most mornings, basically just pumping my legs up and down on it. Before getting it, I was getting a bit doddery on my legs and had had a couple of falls - I do feel that it really helped to strengthen my legs and contributed to my post op recovery too. Obviously I can't use it yet, due to hip precautions, but I think it will be a bit too tame now anyway and something requiring a bit more effort is probably needed! I do realise that at some point down the line the right hip will also likely need to be replaced, especially since it has had to take extra strain for the past few years.

Apologies for such a long first post, thank you again for all the excellent information and advice from BoneSmart.
 
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Jaycey

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@Winspiration Welcome to the other side! Sound like your recovery is going well.

My lower back issued flared post my LTHR. It's not unusual and things should settle with time.

I'll leave your recovery guidelines here for you.

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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Happy Two Month Anniversary!
I hope the wonderful progress you shared last time you posted has continued beyond your expectations. All the best to you!
@Winspiration
 
OP
OP
W

Winspiration

new member
Joined
Jul 31, 2021
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Age
60
Location
Warwickshire
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Yes I am still doing well, thank you, Layla!

After two virtual appointments, I had my first face to face physiotherapy appointment yesterday and it was very helpful. She noticed that I had tight muscles / ligaments still in the operated leg affecting the range of movement and my gait when walking. I notice it most when lying on my back and putting my leg straight, also when I get up after sitting, even for a short time. I had sciatica like pains in that leg for a long time before the op, so I guess it will take a while to get back to how it should be.

She did some manipulation which helped and also gave me some stretches to do several times a day. These do seem to be helping already, although my hip was a bit achy in the night after all that - it occurred to me rather belatedly in the morning that I could have taken some painkillers, I have got so used to not needing them anymore :)

I am still doing plenty of walking, no crutches now but I take my fold up walking stick and use it if needed. Can also do pretty much everything I need to do about the house now that bending is no longer an issue.
 

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