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Hip replacement - any advice please?!

Hi! I guess I am not the first silver surfer to have a hip replacement. Under the new enhanced recovery plan implemented by my local hospital, I received instruction on how to carry on with my own physio exercises at home. I am now 3 weeks post op and wonder how others have progressed with returning to normal? I cannot go in a car for another 3 weeks, and must continue to sleep on my back. Any advice please!

Created By on 11/09/2015

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18th Sep 2015 16:45:30
Thanks for voting!

I had a THR in March this year so I'm just coming up to 6 months post op. I had an uncemented ceramic replacement because of my age..apparently they last longer! The surgeon I had also operated from the front of my leg (anterior) which apparently gives more stability and is less likely to dislocate after. I was using crutches for 6 weeks and started driving at about 7 weeks post op. I started sleeping on my side with a pillow between my legs from about 3 wks.

I had exercises to do at home and if anything my advice would be to stick with them cos they work!

Its difficult to tell how good the THR has been as I also have arthritis at the base of my spine. The operation site is still very tender and feels bruised. My operated leg is slightly longer than the other..a common problem. Whilst I am not in the constant pain that I was in before my op, I do still find walking any distance uncomfortable but this could be the arthritis in my spine. I do feel that the muscles in my operated leg need some work and I'm due to see my consultant on 1/10 so I will be asking about returning to the gym to try and build them up.

I was back at work at 7 weeks post op on a part time basis gradually building back up to full time from June.

Overall I still feel that I am in the recovery stage, it is, after all, a major operation. Most people need a good 12 months to return to normal..whatever their normal is! I'm just glad to be out of the constant pain and no longer have to live on pain killers.

How do you feel you are doing?
Response from charliegirl Original Poster made on 19th Sep 2015 10:30:24
Thank you windy weather, began to think I was being a bit of a wimp for posting my worries. But, I had a really bad week last week, had done more walking and was moving around the house with one stick, ending up with a really stiff knee and needed painkillers again. I tried to ring the ortho nurse at the hospital, as instructed, but couldn't get to speak to anyone. Didn't know if I'd done too much or not enough, whether to push on or rest! Still not sleeping well. Did you just start sleeping on your side, or were you given "permission"?
Doing better this week, but would still love the reassurance of someone telling me I'm on the right track, and how and when to start doing more. You would think I'd be old enough to judge for myself!!
Encouraging to hear from you that all will be well, thank you. Another 4 weeks before I see the consultant.
Response from windyweather made on 19th Sep 2015 13:22:13
I started sleeping on my side because i found I was trying to do it in my sleep anyway. I'd also read up on internet about the way I'd been operated on and it gave me reassurance to try it. It seems that a lot of the information you are given even by the hospital is still based on the operation being done posterior. Although I'd had raised loo seat and settee I was told I didn't really need it so things haven't really caught up with the changes in operating techniques.
Funnily enough I started getting knee pain on my operated side. I put it down to walking differently. I suppose if you've been compensating for pain before the op plus the general mankiness of the joint ,when its replaced by a sparkly new one you are going to walk differently!!
Be kind to what you feel you can do and rest if you need to. I still get swelling if I do too much. Like I said, this is a major op and if you've ever watched it on YouTube it's pretty brutal!! I still can't watch it all the way through lol.
Thinking about it I think I had a pretty rough time at about 3 weeks for several days. I felt quite low and wondered what I'd done and whether it was the right thing to do which was silly really cos a lot of the pre op pain had gone!
Sorry if I've whittered on but I haven't come across anyone who has had the op recently so its nice to chat!
Response from charliegirl Original Poster made on 25th Sep 2015 18:13:58
You are very encouraging, thank you! I had real trouble finding our thread on the website. Finally I scrolled through my emails and got the link to your reply.
Had a great day yesterday; managed to do some cleaning while my husband was out, just dusting and light stuff, but it felt good! Then attacked the bowl full of windfall apples, peeling, chopping, par cooking to go in the freezer. Not all of them though, we had apple crumble for pud! Had a walk that felt as though I was walking "normally" and pain free, more importantly saw a neighbour who said I was doing really well!
Today I ache
My 6 weeks is up next Monday woo hoo! I've been promised a ride out in the car to have a walk with different views. Only a short one though, hope to walk a bit further every day. I wonder if I can make it to town on the bus for coffee and cake? Bliss.
Oh I must say, I've had 3 showers! Brought our motor home onto the drive, fab shower!! Not just a pretty face. Are you still doing ok? You are nice to chat to, enjoying it.
Response from windyweather made on 26th Sep 2015 14:53:07
Strange about not finding the thread..I get emails when someone replies to anything I've commented on and I use the Forum Notifications at the bottom of the page.

Good to hear you had a better day, just be careful to pace yourself.

My physio told me that I would need to be walking about a mile a day by the 6 week stage so I downloaded 'Runkeeper' to my phone and used that to record my daily walks. It was useful as I haven't got a clue what a mile would look like!

Have you noticed whether one leg is shorter than the other? I've been told that my operated leg is a slightly different length than the other. Sometimes I notice it but most times its ok. Supposed to be seeing the orthotics people about it but nothing has happened there.

Loved your comment about the shower! I couldn't have one until about wk 6 as my shower is over the bath and they said I could risk climbing in and out so it was strip washes for me. It was bliss when I could eventually have a shower and as for my fist bath...well I never knew a bath good feel so good LOL!

Are you doing your daily exercises? I was very good and did mine religiously. I'm due at the hospital next week for my 6 month check. I'm thinking of trying out Pilates if they say I can do it. My lower spine has been pretty bad this week so I think I need to do something to strengthen the muscles there. I think I've probably done too much as I'm on leave from work for a couple of weeks. It's made me realise that not all my pre op pain was coming from my hip and that some of the stiffness was caused by my back rather than my hip.

We visited the Coronation Street Tour last Tuesday and I managed all the walking around that. I know that before my op I would have really struggled even with a walking stick. If I can get my lower spine sorted I'll be laughing!!

Which part of the country are you based? Nice chatting! x
Response from charliegirl Original Poster made on 26th Sep 2015 15:41:47
How great was that doing the Corrie tour?? Did you see the cake lady? Word perfect on the adverts now. I hear the programme is all set to change soon, with lots of the actors going. Some of the story lines are a bit far fetched, but I love the humour. Hey, if you are reading this and not recovering from a hip replacement, check out the earlier posts!

I've been to town! Hubby took me on the bus. Bus station is really close to town and our bus stop is across the road, and I sat in the reserved for disabled seat (well I am temporarily ) with my husband hanging on to me for the sharp turns! Managed the short walk to M and S, 50% off today. Not that I bought anything. It was great to be out, feeling normal, and I'd like to bet I walked further than I am doing on our streets.

I do feel my leg maybe a different length. I am getting backache trying to walk without limping. You sound to be doing really well despite your Arthritis, and you are working too! I retired after a power clash with my boss some years ago, and at 67 now, I'm really glad I did.

3 weeks before I see the consultant. What questions should I ask do you think? Do you have an X-ray or anything? What will happen at your 6 month appointment? Seems hospitals differ with recovery, help, physio etc. here in Harrogate they have an Advanced Recovery Plan which I think works well until about week 3!

Off to do my exercises standing in the kitchen, then I'll wash up from lunch!

Cheers! X
Response from windyweather made on 28th Sep 2015 14:38:22
Well done on getting out and about! You do get to a point where you are getting a bit stir crazy I think! You live in a lovely part of the country as well...Harrogate is so pretty! I live in Streetly, Sutton Coldfield..not so pretty but could be worse.

Yes I work full time. I'm 53 so still a way to go yet before I can retire although some days I feel like throwing the towel in!

I had something like the Advanced Recovery Plan. I had to attend 'Hip School' before my op so they could go through all the procedures etc. They do major on how its your responsibility to get better and your recovery is in your hands! I think that they do get some people who think the op is a magic cure all and that they don't have to do anything other than attend the surgery.

At my first check up after the op I didn't see the consultant but I did see one of his team. I think she was a senior physiotherapist. I had an x-ray taken which they showed me..totally fascinating! She also went through a series of exercises to check the mobility of my hip. She thought I was doing really well which I took as a good sign as she must see people with new hips all the time. I just used the time to ask about things like swimming and having a bath and driving, although returning to work was a big one for me as well, so getting advice about that was good. Just ask whatever you want to really. I did write some questions down before I went as well as I'm rubbish at remembering stuff!

Have you been out driving today? Seems you get different advice about driving depending on which hip you had replaced and whether you have an automatic car! Think left leg and automatic is the best combination lol. I have had my right hip done and my car is manual so all they said to me was that providing I could do an emergency stop I would be fine. Hospital also said to let my insurance company know but they got confused when I did and said they were only really interested if DVLA had said you shouldn't drive!

Been and bought my first lot of Christmas cards today..suppose that will soon be here!

Have a good day! x
1st Nov 2015 09:10:57
Thanks for voting!
I have been given alendronic acid and understand it has severe side effects. Would appreciate some advice.

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