22 days ago I had my right hip replaced. It was outpatient. Arrived at the hospital at 5.45 am, out at 4.15 pm. I’ve suffered with reduced range of motion and pain in my hips since I was in my early 30s. Bad conformation, especially if you want to ride horses, with deep sockets and constantly hitting the side of my femur, caused severe osteoarthritis. Riding, biking, running, hiking and even sleeping was becoming increasingly more painful. This was my first one, hoping to get the other hip done next year.
I am doing ok. First few days were rough, I am not going to lie. Muscle spasms, swelling, sciatica, pain at night, not being able to lift my leg very well, being dependent on others. Not my forte. And the pain meds made me sick, and gave me a migraine.
Ten things that made my life easier for the first few days and weeks:
- Rob, getting up three times a night the first few days and getting me those ice packs, pain killers and making sure I didn’t kill myself getting in and out of bed (I decided I wanted to sleep in our bed, on the top floor, 13 steep steps, step stool to get in our tall king size bed). And allowing me to shower…it’s the little things.
- A raised toilet seat, seriously, just get one. If you’re plus size, maybe not one with side bars, my thighs barely fit and I am normally a women’s medium.
- Grabber pick up stick. It’s hard to reach down and it allowed me to get dressed on my own.
- Long shoe horn, for taking off socks and putting on/off shoes. One downstairs by the door too. Because you won’t be able to reach your feet.
- XL Women’s Hanes Boxer briefs. I’m a Hi cut girl normally, but ouch, they sit in the wrong spot, right over my incision! All the forums said to get men’s boxers, but these work great and don’t have a hole in the front. I had anterior approach, and these do not bother my incision. Two sizes up.
- Ice packs, big one for the hip and another one for my knee. Doubles are helpful.
- Large lounge pants, I’m normally a M, I got XL. You won’t want anything tight on your leg.
- A walker, for the first 4-5 days, for me, and crutches for stairs, at first. I was done with these after a week.
- A cane, for a walking aid after I was done with the walker. My surgeon is not a fan of using crutches instead, because crutches are to keep weight off your entire foot/leg and make you dependent on your upper body for support and the new joint needs weight bearing to heal.
- A sock aid, best thing ever, when you can’t reach your feet.
So, what is recovery from a total hip replacement like? I was up and walking at the hospital a few hours after my surgery, using a walker. Physical therapy was started a week after surgery and I’ve been to my first post op appt. My surface stitches were taken out and I was cleared to drive short distances. The new hip was x-rayed and looks good so far. As far as muscles go, my hip flexors and adductors are super tight, still, from so many years of restricted use and may need additional intervention and it is so hard to be patient. My abductors are all weak. I am not supposed to cross my legs yet and have some stretching/twisting/lifting limitations, so I don’t dislocate the joint. Inside the house I am walking without an aid, unless I have pain and I walk with a cane outside for stability, although I am not always using it now. As far as exercise goes, I’m biking on my new recumbent bike twice a day for 15 minutes and I’ve been walking on the treadmill for about 20 minutes as well as walking some outside and going on short shopping trips. I have PT exercises I am working on after my biking and walking 2-3 times a day. Tylenol and Motrin are the only pain medications I am taking as needed, Vicaden was given to me for the first few days, but made me so sick I stopped taking it. I had a similar experience with Percuset after my c-sections, so not really surprised.
After 6 weeks I will be allowed to do more things and, stretching and exercise wise, push myself harder. Right now there is still swelling and angry, short muscles. My TFL(tensor fascae latae) was cut, and will need to heal, I have a 5-6 inch incision over my hip and an additional small area where the robotic cameras were placed. My right knee is angry where the IT band attaches and in general when I overdo my walking. My legs feel slightly uneven, the right leg is slightly longer. I was told my body will adjust. 12 weeks is the big mile stone, which is when I may or may not be allowed back on a horse. And do yoga, and twist, and possibly lift hay bales again. We’ll see. Current goal is getting on and off the floor without feeling like I’m popping my incision open, so there’s that.
I’m looking forward to being able to get back to riding and working on the farm. Goat kids will start arriving in late February. Onwards, and upwards. One step at a time. Quite literally…