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Old 09-08-2008, 08:52 AM   #1
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Kathryn49 HB User
Post Hip replacement-One leg longer

I am wondering how many folks that have had a hip replacement now have one leg longer than the other?

I was scheduled for hip resurfacing on 8/1/07 but when the surgeon got in there, he replaced the socket part first, then when he went to grind the ball (for the cap) he discovered my bones were too soft (he said it melted like butter), so, . . . he had to do a hip replacement instead. Because he only planned on resurfacing, he didn't have the part he needed to match the socket, so he left the operating room to get it, had to re-scrub and then finish the job. He told my family he had to move fast so I didn't lose too much blood (which I did anyway).

After the surgery I was told that my leg was a bit longer than the other one now, to avoid the complication of "dislocation".

Long story short - as far as I can tell, it's at least 3/4 inch longer and now I have a lot of back pain on the opposite side that I never had before. Surgeon keeps telling me "you'll get used to it", and "if it bothers you, wear a lift in your shoe". He apologized for my discomfort. Hmmm.

I got lifts - I need at least 3/4 inch to be comfortable and walk without a limp - but then can't wear shoes cuz you walk right out of the heal - only boots work if I wear two like I need.

I've gone with and without lifts and my back hurts either way - (slightly less with the lifts) and now I'm doing PT for my back and that doesn't work either.

Anybody else going through this?
K

 
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Old 09-09-2008, 04:05 AM   #2
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Re: Hip replacement-One leg longer

Kathryn, I am sorry for the trouble with the surgery. I had my thr 11 years ago at Duke. I must have been very, very lucky. Results: both legs the same length, driving a car after 2 weeks. Got rid of the walker in one month, played tennis after 2 months. I had 8 years pain free. I am very active, tennis, walk the golf course 3 times a week, dance. I finally began to have pain about 2 years ago, gradually getting worse. Now I limp around the golf course. Must have a revision somewhere down the line. Sounds like you need to get a second opinion about your hip. It doesn't sound right to me. Good luck!

 
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Old 09-09-2008, 08:27 AM   #3
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drlene47 HB User
Re: Hip replacement-One leg longer

Hi Kathryn,
I'm kind of a silent reader of all the posts. Am 6 and a half weeks RTHR and have noticed that the THR side seems about a half an inch longer. Also had the problem with the top of the femur being soft but had gone in for replacement and not resurfacing. Ended up on tip toe weight bearing with walker for 3 to 5 weeks and now weight bearing as tolerated. Some days I do fairly well and some days not. Still using walker in house but do walk away from it if there is something to brace on and am using my cane when away from the house.
Sorry you're having so much back pain. I have read others post that their HR leg was longer at first but seemed to settle after about 6 months and ended up equal. I am hoping this happens with me but fortunately have not so far had the back pain, just problems with UTIs returning. Will have to do something about that I think, like seeing a specialist in the future.
Perhaps some of those people who posted about the replacement "settling" will post again as I would like to know what others have been through with this. Originally went to the OS because replacement side was longer than the other leg. Had no idea the hip joint was gone. Did not have the same pain as others. The joint felt spongy and sore at the time and I favored it by limping. By the time I had the surgery, 6 months later, mostly due to the fact that that side was so weak by then that I was falling down a lot. The indifference in the leg lengths had disapeared. I had been wearing 3 foam inserts in the opposite shoe to equalize the lengths so as not to be so clumsy but had stopped that about a month before surgery cuz I didn't seem to need them. Have already purchased more an added them to my opposite shoe again.
Hope this information is helpful and that someone else with this problem posts.
Darlene

 
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Old 09-09-2008, 11:06 AM   #4
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Re: Hip replacement-One leg longer

Thanks for your reply Darlene. This hip stuff is for the birds eh? It's amazing to me that the "symptoms" of bad hips vary as much as they do. I've not heard of symptoms such as yours before! Hey, you're an original!! As far at the leg length "settling", that certainly was what I hoped for, but after 1 years it's remained about3/4 inch longer. I just asked my back PT to measure it for me yesterday. Please forgive my stupidity . .you mentioned troubles with UTI's? What is that? (Dah). Also, what brand of lifts do you use. I'd really like some "statictics" as far as how many THR's result in differing leg length. . . so hoping I can find that somewhere too. THanks again Darlene

 
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Old 09-09-2008, 11:09 AM   #5
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Re: Hip replacement-One leg longer

Wow-Sorehip 38! Sounds like you're very active indeed. Great way to be - I used to be more active until my THR, but can't dance quite the way I used to or do pilates etc. I'm surprised you can do tennis! I'd think that's really hard on a THR. Take er easy there!! Yep, I agree, I think my surgeon messed up too. Looking forward to hearing more from others on this leg length descrepancy. Thanks again.

 
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Old 09-09-2008, 12:32 PM   #6
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Re: Hip replacement-One leg longer

Kathryn,
The UTI stands for urinary tract infection. From what I understand, this stuff and other infections like teeth, etc. can be very serious with THRs cuz the bacteria or whatever can travel to the replaced joint. Sounds horrendous but true so I have been trying to get the right antibiotic. Came down with this Friday night, wouldn't you know it would be on the weekend, so my hubby had 4 amoxacillin left from his last dental visit and I took those over the weekend to keep it from getting worse. Went to primary care physician Monday and got the PA to call something in and she called in the same anitbiotic I had for this right before the surgery which did not work and had to be changed. Hubby went back by there and told them and am still waiting on the new script. Oh well!
Didn't notice that it had already been a year since your surgery. The few that I have read about that "settle", do it within 6 months. The foam inserts I got were just those cheap ones from Wally World that you cut with scissors to fit your shoes. I used 2 at first and when they had squished down I added another. I already have arch supports that I must insert in my shoes which were NOT the cheap ones and they just fit on top of the foam with automotive velcro. This is what I have used to keep them in place and move them from shoe to shoe since I first started using the arch supports for prevent plantar fasciitis (sp) which is the strain on the tendon running under your arch. Gaining weight really puts a strain on one's arches if you tend to have high ones and it is an ongoing fight to keep my weight down.
Don't need the arch supports with heels with a minimum of 2 inches cuz they throw your weight forward, off the arch. However, with one leg longer, don't know if I will ever be able to wear anything dressy again and of course, I wouldn't dare wear heels now with "weight bearing as tolerated" and not being able to tolerate much anyway. That would be a sight and dangerous too. Makes me laugh just thinking about it. Have been in Crocs since the surgery cuz they are easy to slip on and off and I have 6 pair in 6 colors and it is still hot here in South Georgia.
All in all, it is still 3 steps forward and 2 back for me with this hip. Not very encouraging cuz I am just now after 6 weeks, at the stage I was before the surgery as far as my mobility. I AM stronger cuz of the PT but could do more, like squat for instance, before the surgery. I don't know what the rest of you ladies do when nature calls if you are riding along in the country but I usually find a side road with a large bush. We call it being "bush broke" here in the south. I asked my OS if I would be able to squat again and he said, eventually, then I asked the PT, and he said, maybe. My father, who has had both hips done and is in his eighties, says he can do everything he did before, including squat. Anyway, I found this thingie, online, that is suppose to make it possible to do this job standing up. I ordered it but it has not arrived yet. We will see.
Hope this helps,
Darlene

 
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Old 09-09-2008, 12:39 PM   #7
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drlene47 HB User
Re: Hip replacement-One leg longer

P. S. Kathryn,
I'm firmly convinced that you wear out the other hip going through the first hip cuz of the extra strain you put on it. Therefore, sooner or later you will have to get the other one done and when you do, they can equalize your leg length. Not much help am I?
Darlene

 
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Old 09-09-2008, 04:20 PM   #8
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Re: Hip replacement-One leg longer

I've had the same thought about wearing out the other hip....I also have had recurring UTIs and also just irritation in bladder that won't go away. I have been at wits end. Never had this problem until about six weeks before surgery. I'm now 6 weeks past surgery. I have an appointment with a urologist in 2 weeks as my primary physician suspects cystitis. I too have tried to be vigilant in handling these matters as I'm afraid of infection risk for hip. Taking some small comfort in hearing that I'm not only one with these kinds of issues.

Maggie

 
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Old 09-09-2008, 07:57 PM   #9
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drlene47 HB User
Re: Hip replacement-One leg longer

Hi Maggie,
I thought cystitis WAS a type of UTI! I have had SOME problems since I had corrective surgery to urinary tract and bladder to save my life in 91 after a botched hysterectemy but not nearly the problems I have had in the last year or two. Someone told me it was from presurgery stress before the surgery when I had a really severe UTI that was right down to the bell getting it clear for the surgery day. Well, now that it is back, what is it from? I know that it had to be clear for the surgery, and during the hospital stay of 3 days because I was on the same antibiotic only IV and then they gave me the 2 remaining pills to finish out the round from before the surgery.
Anyway, I agree that we need to be vigilante cuz of the new hip.
Glad to see you are progressing otherwise.
Darlene

 
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Old 09-10-2008, 06:20 AM   #10
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Re: Hip replacement-One leg longer

cystitis can be a UTI but there is apparently a chronic bladder irritation that occurs when there are no symptoms of an infection. Antibiotics are still used I think to treat it, but not sure about that yet.

 
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Old 10-15-2008, 05:28 AM   #11
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Re: Hip replacement-One leg longer

Sorry to hear that you are having this leg length problem.. It's one of the biggest issues today with hip replacement. It used to be dislocation, but with larger head technology, that seems to have been reduced. However leg length discrepency is the #1 issue with hip replacement. I too had my hip replaced and this was my 2nd question that I had for the surgeons that I spoke with. What I learned before I decided to have my hip replaced was that the only approach to get the components in accurately and to have the best chance of getting my leg lengths equal was with the Anterior Approach. The reason is that the surgeons that perform this technique use X-Ray during the procedure to accurately place components and use X-Ray to check leg length and offset before they close the wound. I was told that they can do this because they use a x-ray type table and I was being placed flat on my back. this would allow the surgeon to accurately place the pelvis level and to accurately judge my leg length. He told me that when I am placed on my side there are a number of factors that need to be taken in place such as the orientation of the pelvis and it's harder to judge on its side vs on lying on my back. The only option that I was told if my legs were different was to have a shoe lift put in my shoes. Otherwise I needed to go back and have a revision. This didn't appeal to me so I opted for Anterior. Good Luck..

Last edited by moderator2; 03-27-2009 at 09:45 AM. Reason: posted disallowed website(s) - please read the posting rules

 
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Old 10-15-2008, 08:23 AM   #12
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Re: Hip replacement-One leg longer

I had an anterior approach and still had a 1/4" discrepancy but doctor told me this before surgery, explained that it would be corrected when I had other hip operated on. Sometimes a slight discrepancy is unavoidable. I'm using a 1/4 inch lift to ease strain on affected leg b/c was suffering referred pain in knee from unoperated hip.

 
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Old 10-15-2008, 02:15 PM   #13
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markwillis HB User
Re: Hip replacement-One leg longer

That is correct.. If you are needing to have the other side done then yes they will lengthen the operative hip to match the other side down the road. My surgeon talked about this too.

 
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Old 04-02-2011, 08:09 PM   #14
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Re: Hip replacement-One leg longer

Hi Kathryn49, I just had total hip revision on February 15th, 2011. The same hip was replaced two years ago and for some reason the ball shifted and was causing me to have hip popping and grinding sounds, which my surgeon didn't seem too worried about but when I went to see him during the holidays, I mentioned that it was starting to become painful. I went through x-rays, arthrograms and nothing showed anything in particular, so my doctor said he would have to go in and look around. After 4 1/2 hours of surgery to remove the old prosthetic, repair the damage that metal shavings did to the bone and tissue in my hip joint, and putting in a new titanium hip, my right leg is now approximately an inch longer than my left. The surgeon told me that my right leg would be about a half of an inch longer but to even my knees out so that they are both straight, I am like an inch off. I have tried to find lifts but the more lifts you put in your shoes, you walk out of the heal of your shoe, especially that high. So now I have a routine check up with my doctor on Monday and I am going to ask him if he could send me to a specialist who can either build up the bottom of shoes or make me a special insert. I am feeling it in my knees, low back, neck and in my hip. Another issue I have noticed is that I think my siatic nerve if effected because sometimes I feel pain in my hip and it goes all the way down my leg. This revision surgery is a lot worse than the regular hip replacement. My incision this time was approximately 13 inches and I have hip precautions that are a pain. When you can't bend past 90 degrees, it seems like you drop everything. I have really been using my picker upper a lot. Anyway, I wanted you to hear my story. If you have found any inserts or know of anything that works great please let me know. Thanks......

 
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Old 04-07-2011, 10:18 PM   #15
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Re: Hip replacement-One leg longer

Hi. I was ice skating with my granddaughter, hit a divot in the ice, fell and broke my left hip (femoral neck fracture.) I had my hip replaced four weeks ago and now my left leg is longer also. My OS said he did not want me to wear a lift yet as he thinks I will adjust. So far, I am not having any back problems due to the difference in length.

Overall, I am told I'm doing well. I use my cane when my leg gets tired but can manage without it. I was told I could drive but have only ventured out once. I'm very cautious and not yet comfortable with crowded places such as the grocery store as I worry that someone will bump into me and cause me to fall.

Like someone in another post, I lost a lot of blood and had to have a transfusion. I think I was more worried about that than the surgery.

There was nothing wrong with the hip until I fell on the ice so hoping that the right hip will never have to be replaced.

I do have some numbness in the left groin area. Has anyone else experienced this?

Many thanks,
Merry

 
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