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Old 11-23-2008, 03:12 AM   #1
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Anne7 HB User
five months after hip replacement

Hello, can anybody help lift my spirits? It is five months since my hip replacement. I had very little pain before the operation except for a short period of having a very bad pain in my groin after sitting for any length of time. This seemed to correct itself after a month or two and then, apart from not being able to totally straighten my leg, which caused me to walk with a limp, I had very little discomfort. However, X-rays showed that I have osteoporosis in my hips and other joints and it was decided that a hip replacement might help with my walking.

I had the operation in July and recovered very well after the operation. However, my hip is still very stiff and I still have a pins and needle feeling in my foot. My balance seems to be worse since the operation. I can now straighten my leg though, but I still walk with a limp. I had quite a few falls before the operation and am not very confident walking on crutches in case I fall. I do use them indoors and am trying to only use one crutch to get about although I do sometimes 'furniture walk' when doing this. When going out I use a rollater because this gives me more confidence. Again, no pain, but I walk very slowly and not as well as I do on crutches because my right leg turns out and my heels hit one another! Anyway, at least I am out and about and am walking!

I see a PT once every 3 weeks and I exercise indoors and walk about a lot.

I also have what I call muscle spasms after lying in one position for any length of time. When I try to straighten my legs they go completely stiff for a few seconds and then they gradually relax. What is all this about!

I am wondering how long the recovery process is. Is there anything else I can be doing?

My consultant is referring me to a neurologist to see if he can come up with anything.

I count my blessings every day because I have very little discomfort. I just want to be able to walk a bit better.

Any help would be much appreciated!

Last edited by Anne7; 11-23-2008 at 03:14 AM.

 
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Old 11-23-2008, 05:21 AM   #2
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Re: five months after hip replacement

Dear Anne:

We all take our own individual time in recovering from any surgery. I think that five months is probably still early days for you.

If the Rollator helps you walk more easily, why not use it indoors, too? I found that my walker, with the wheels in front, gave me much more equal support than a cane. I never did use crutches - and from the sound of them, glad I didn't. Years ago my sister used crutches after a hip replacment and they gave her a lot of strain on her underarms and back. I think a walker would have worked better for her, too. I love my walker! I still use it in the middle of the night when getting up for the bathroom, because I have a kitty that might trip me up, and I feel safer using the walker at night.

I take a cane along when I go out in my car although I only need it "just in case" I get overtired and feel the need for some support. By the way, I will have my one year anniversary of the right hip replacement December 12.

It is said of osteo arthritis that it is good to "keep moving" in order to avoid stiffness when changing positions. That works best for me. Don't sit too long, or lie down too long at a time, for instance. When getting up, it takes a few seconds for me to "straighten out".

I hope I have lifted your spirits somewhat. Patience is required! That is probably the hardest thing after having a hip replacement. I found that things got better every day. Think of how things were right after your hip replacement, and how you can do things now you couldn't do then.

Shirley H.

 
Old 11-23-2008, 12:00 PM   #3
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Re: five months after hip replacement

Hi Anne,
I too have the "stiffness" when getting up from lying or a sitting position and just have to stand there until it goes away. It is especially bad when riding in the car. My husband just helps me out and then I have to sort of get everything moving again in order to walk.
Am 4 months post RTHR and still have problems walking a lot although I don't use the walker or cane anymore unless I am ill. Had the "stiffness" problem prior to surgery for a few years. Also had severe muscle spasms after surgery that only stopped long enough to let me sleep if I took Zanax about three times a night. This lasted until PT started 3 times a week then gradually got better as my muscles in the surgery leg improved.
Don't know what the "stiffness" problem is. Wish someone would comment but have not seen any other similar problems.
Also had many falls before surgery and very little pain in the joint although I could see for myself on the exray that the joint was gone. My walking is better than you describe but very laborious and is not a natural gait.
Hang in there,
Darlene

Last edited by drlene47; 11-23-2008 at 12:04 PM.

 
Old 11-24-2008, 02:53 AM   #4
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Re: five months after hip replacement

Thank you Drlene 47 and Silver Swan for replying so quickly.

It's so good to hear from people in a similar situation. I'm feeling much more positive today and keep telling myself things will improve!

Both my consultant and the physiotherapist were so against the use of a walking frame. They had everybody on crutches two days after their operations and we were not allowed home until we could climb some stairs and come down again with the use of the handrail and one crutch. I was terrified of taking a tumble whilst using the crutches and, in fact, I did just that whilst still in hospital but, thankfully, I came to no harm. I am better now but would not use them outside the home. I have much more confidence using my rollater but haven't told my PT!

I do intend to get another walker for use downstairs so that I can "potter about" more and carry things in the basket like dusters and polish etc. It's very difficult to do anything constructive on crutches - at least it is for me! How about kneeling - I am thinking of getting a kneeling pad with handles to help me get up again because it would enable me to do certain chores (my husband thinks I'm mad!) but I just want to get back to some kind of normality and I want to be independent! It seems like a lot of equipment to get and I keep thinking that maybe things will improve and I won't need any of it but then I'm no 'spring chicken' so methinks it won't be long before I'll find it all very useful anyway!

I am so grateful that I have no pain - mild discomfort sometimes but no pain. The peculiar muscle rigidity which sets in if I stay in one position for too long is mildy alarming but it goes quite quickly thank goodness. Perhaps the neurologist will have some ideas when I seem him - I will let you know.

Patience is not one of my strong points and it's very frustrating not to be able to dash about and get things done. Still I'm a great believer that you may not always get what you want but, without doubt, you always get what you need, so somewhere in all this there is probably a lesson for me that I need to slow down and work on my patience and trust. My thought for the day!

In the meantime, the sun has just come out, although it has turned very cold over here in England. My husband has just brought me a cup of coffee, so I'll drink that and then I think I need to be on the move again to keep those muscles working.

Thanks again for your support. I hope I hear from you again and you let me know how you're getting on.

In the meantime, take care.

 
Old 11-24-2008, 04:23 AM   #5
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Re: five months after hip replacement

Hi Anne:

It might be that your doctors and PT people wanted to keep you from weight bearing on the new hip. I don't know what their intention was in having you use crutches. I was allowed to weight bear as much as was comfortable, right after my hip replacement and no one objected to my using my walker as much as needed. You might want to ask your doctor what is the reason for the crutches.

In many medical matters, it has seemed to me that UK doctors allow more time in hospital to recover from surgeries than do our U. S. doctors. Each country seems to have differing medical protocols. Here, the idea after most surgeries is to get the patient up and walking almost immediately after any surgery. We often joke that childbirth here, is now almost "drive by". Here in MN, we even had to have a law passed that allowed new mothers to stay in the hospital at least two days!

It is my reaction that any walking aid that helps you the most should be what you use. Everyone is different. About kneeling on that gadget - I think I would ask the doctor about kneeling at this point. I had one of those kneelers but someone threw it out when we moved. However, if I still had it, I don't feel ready to kneel yet. Maybe because my other hip is bothering me now. I listen to my body on these things.

Since you know that you are a rather impatient person, you might have to be stern with yourself about being easier on yourself and let things happen in their own time.

Shirley H.

 
Old 11-26-2008, 12:14 PM   #6
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Anne7 HB User
Re: five months after hip replacement

Hello again Shirley

The reason given by the PT for it being better to use crutches was to keep the back straight and not to put too much pressure on hands etc. by leaning on the walker. I do definitely walk better on crutches but that's not good if I'm not walking very far because of the fear of falling over. Anyway, I agree with you that it's better to walk in a way that suits, you so I will keep perservering and trying to get better! My other rollater has arrived which I can use downstairs so I can potter about more.

Sorry to hear that your other hip is becoming bothersome but it sounds like you've made good progress since your right hip was done. You say it's one year in December? I hope that I will be as bright and positive as you are this time next year!

Thanks for keeping in touch.

Anne

 
Old 11-26-2008, 12:30 PM   #7
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Re: five months after hip replacement

Hi Anne:

My walker is adjustable and the only time I lean on it is when I am tired. I find it a good idea to consciously stand very straight when using the walker. I have always been very aware of standing tall and that helps, too. I think I would not do well at all with crutches.

Do you have the elbow kind or the underarm kind? I was thinking underarm kind. My sister had that kind. My late husband had polio age 17 and used the elbow crutches for decades until he went to a wheelchair.

When you are at a year post hip replacement, I think you will look back and realize how far you had come! Keep walking and get plenty of rest. Try to not overdo in anything. It sounds to me like you are doing well. Please keep posting and let us know how it is going.

Shirley H.

 
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