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Total hip replacement recovery tips please

(42 Posts)
Mwdebbie Tue 26-Oct-21 02:07:38

Almost 2 weeks ago I had a total hip replacement. I’m 66, pre-op was pretty fit, walking 10,000 + steps a day, swimming x 3 a week, and doing Zumba. I’m quite shocked, tbh, by how much the op has floored me. I’m gradually building up my walking, and doing physio exercises several times a day, but I feel so ‘fragile’. Emotionally, I cry at the drop of a hat. Physically am exhausted and feel helpless, I have a puzzle in the go., knit, sew, read, watch TV etc so I’m not just curled up under the duvet, but I would appreciate hearing others’ experiences of recovery, as although I have the help and support of my loving partner, who is herself a nurse, I feel isolated and low. Thank you.

Aveline Tue 26-Oct-21 07:14:25

Sorry to hear this. I'm 12 weeks out from a hip replacement. I found that I felt much better when I could sleep properly ie not having to lie on my back all night.
I also had a target to aim for. We were rehoming two cats and I was desperate to be fit enough in a month so we could have them.
I didn't do exercises just walked about.
Focus on having a good rest, sensible diet and looking towards a pain free future. Good luck.

Humbertbear Tue 26-Oct-21 07:29:23

I found I got very depressed in the third week after the op, but then I started to feel better. Don’t try to do too much and concentrate on doing your exercises. I had a wonderful physiotherapist and was lucky to be given a few sessions of water therapy which really helped.
I’m afraid that when we are in the older age group we don’t bounce back as quickly as we once did but you will get there.

Katie59 Tue 26-Oct-21 07:50:55

OH - 70 had his done a couple of years ago, fairly straightforward I made sure he did the exercises and took the tablets prescribed he was back driving in 6 weeks. Everyone is different and pain thresholds vary, for most a hip replacement is a life changer with a very good outcome.

Aveline Tue 26-Oct-21 08:08:48

The op is a shock to the system. Energy drain is common. Maybe, like me, you had the op hanging over you for months then suddenly it was over. Slight anti climax? Reaction? Shock? All take time to recover from. thanks

seacliff Tue 26-Oct-21 08:14:56

I have this to look forwards to early next year. I'm so unfit, and want to improve before the op. Not sure how to get fitter before hand, as I can hardly walk.

silverlining48 Tue 26-Oct-21 08:19:23

I posted yesterday for advice about a hip injection I had a few weeks ago, hoping it would help but it has not stopped the pain, instead it’sworse.
I was disappointed to have so little response, as thought the injection would be a common treatment that many would have experienced.
So trying again, did any of you have a cortisteroid injection before you had surgery?
Still in pain, not easy to walk and trying to contact my doctor to discuss.
Basically is it normal to have such pain 5 week later. Thanks.

Alizarin Tue 26-Oct-21 08:26:24

'Almost two weeks' isn't very long. If you were that active prior to it the contrast must be hard now. I've had both hips replaced this year and after the initial sleeping-on-the-back nuisance I recovered quickly. It will get better, be gentle on yourself. It's a major op, after all.

seacliff Tue 26-Oct-21 08:34:51

Debbie, if you're on Facebook there are some groups for "hippies." I'm sure you'd get support there? From what I've read, crying and feeling very emotional are pretty common. Give it time, you'll get over this stage I'm sure.

Aveline Tue 26-Oct-21 08:35:15

Silverlinings48 my surgeon initially suggested the injections but after he saw my X-rays said they'd only delay the inevitable. I gather they only work for some people but not others. Hit and miss about getting the right spot. Also only work for a set time.

Shelflife Tue 26-Oct-21 08:35:46

Haven't had a hip replacement but wanted to say how sorry I am you are feeling this way. It is still early days and I feel sure you will improve as the days pass by. Take care and don't be too hard on yourself. Relax and good luck .

Aveline Tue 26-Oct-21 08:38:18

seacliff can you work on your upper body strength? I wished I'd known to do that. You'll be leaning heavily on a walker or sticks and will have to use your arms to help heave yourself out of chairs. Armchair exercise would be a start. Maybe some on YouTube?

Alizarin Tue 26-Oct-21 08:56:05

seacliff, I couldn't walk, sit, or stand for more than 10 minutes without awful pain before my ops. I have an allotment and was used to being fit and I worried about approaching the ops so unfit (and heavier than I've ever been). But I found that I was quickly able to get my strength and fitness back afterwards, so take heart!

muse Tue 26-Oct-21 08:59:01

I was just the same Mwdebbie. The slightest silly thing would open the flood gates. This was not me. I'd coped with many pressures in my life. My routine was completely out of the window and that was my problem I think. I remember my first night home and my DH got dinner ready. He'd got side tracked slightly, which I am used to, but dinner was late, I started and couldn't stop crying for ages. Even lying in bed I would start. I'd never slept on my back and was worried I'd turn in my sleep and dislocate it even though there was support on that side too.

The physio at the hospital told me to have an afternoon sleep -about an hour - flat on my back. I felt this did help with the exhausted feeling. A lot of it is the mental stress.

After 4 weeks there were far less tears and I was almost ready to stop using the final crutch. I seemed to have turn a corner.

You will get there. Because you are fit, physical recovery will be much quicker. I'd done years of Pilates and this helped me and I did the set exercises from the physio every hour and increased them daily.

Don't struggle with this emotional time. Ask your doctor for CBT. I had a bad hand injury a year after my hip replacement and the tears were far worse. After six months, I was mentally drained. The hand therapist got me onto a CBT course for four weeks. It did help.

😊It should pass and I wish you lots of enjoyment with your new hip. 🤗

Aveline Tue 26-Oct-21 09:01:51

I second the afternoon sleep in bed! It really helped.

Newquay Tue 26-Oct-21 09:14:24

Absolutely-off to bed every afternoon.
Do prescribed exercises religiously.
Eat well, I mean little and often and good stuff-protein, fruit and veg.
Pain relief if needed then start walking little by little ASAP.

seacliff Tue 26-Oct-21 09:18:31

Thanks Aveline and Alizarin. I will certainly do that, I have arm weights I can do whilst sitting. I am overweight and unfit, which worries me as I know it affects recovery. I'm eating much less. I need to find things to do, so every hour I get up and do 5 mins exercise.

Sorry to hijack your thread Debbie. Best wishes.

Aveline Tue 26-Oct-21 09:31:51

My Fitbit is invaluable. It counts and records my steps so I can measure progress, reminds me to move every hour and records my sleep. It's been really helpful.

silverlining48 Tue 26-Oct-21 09:42:37

Thanks Aveline, I really thought it was usual that most people started the replacement process with a steroid injection and a bit surprised no one seems to have had one, So I limp on.
Next stop is replacement I suppose, best get on the long long waiting list,

luluaugust Tue 26-Oct-21 09:50:40

MWdebbie I think two weeks in is a very short time after a major op. The anaesthetic alone can cause a feeling of depression in some people and you have been pretty knocked about. I have had a shoulder replacement and it does take a while, think of how long a small bruise can take to go. Be kind to yourself, exercise and rest, keep trying but not too hard. Good luck.

annodomini Tue 26-Oct-21 10:13:28

Sixteen years ago, I had my new hip. I was reasonably fit before the op, but took as much rest afterwards as I felt I needed. I didn't have prescribed exercises, but walked a little further each day. It also helps to have something to look forward to. My family had asked me to go to a gite in Normandy with them, two months after the op, by which time I was down to one crutch, though walking on a beach was a challenge. Perhaps you have something you can plan to do - difficult in current circumstances, I know, but even a day out can make so much of a difference.

Sunlover Tue 26-Oct-21 10:20:21

I had my hip replacement done 10 years ago when I was in my late 50’s. Best decision ever. Yes, recovery had its ups and downs but being pain free was such a relief. Take each day as it comes. Before you know it you will be up and about again. It seems to drag but each day you will begin to feel better and be able to a little more. I found an internet group called ‘bone smart’ invaluable. So much advice and support from others going through the same worries.

Redhead56 Tue 26-Oct-21 10:40:14

I had my new hip at 53 that was 12 years ago. It was about three months after my new hip I started to feel more confident. I was told not to use a walking stick but to walk on my own. I bought a wedge for my shoe because I was walking with a kind of hobble.
I used to love to swim but lost my confidence I have always walked a lot but can’t run my ‘Exeter’ hip has always felt stiff and rigid. I hope you have a good recovery.

Larsonsmum Tue 26-Oct-21 10:43:49

Every day gets better. You will notice that when you look back each week.

Jane43 Tue 26-Oct-21 11:05:10

DH has had three hip replacements and the advice given here is excellent. For anybody who hasn't had the procedure yet, if you are offered the option of an epidural rather than a general anaesthetic please consider it. DH had general anaesthetic the first two times and when I was sitting with him after he had been admitted for the third procedure, which was to remove the failing replacement and to insert a more robust replacement, the surgeon came in and said he didn’t recommend a general anaesthetic but an epidural and he went on to outline the procedure and the advantages of an epidural over a general anaesthetic. DH took it all in his stride and signed the consent form, I have to admit I was in shock as it hadn’t been discussed before and my motto is always they can do what they want to me as long as I am asleep. For the first two surgeries he was really out of it so I didn’t visit until the following afternoon but at 3pm the day of the op my phone rang and it was DH sounding as fresh as a daisy and really upbeat. So my son and DIL visited that evening and they couldn’t get over how well he was. The following day he made so much progress with mobility he was able to come home in the evening.