Hip Rehabilitation – 6 months

Hello all,

My blog posting has not been so good over the past few months, probably because I am getting back to normal life and activities which starts to take over and as we always say, I have no time. Rubbish really because you do, just need to manage it better.

Well, I am now 6 months post hip replacement. All is pretty good and I would say I am so much better than before surgery. I am not perfect by all means. I still have a slight limp and I do have pain from time to time in my thigh, over the scar, in my lower back and pelvis. My back is particularly bad and first thing in the morning I find getting out of bed, flexing my hip and moving a real struggle. Bending over is a real problem and my back kills, not sure why, perhaps it has something to do with picking up Lily my 2 year old daughter or years of walking badly and compressing my spine on the right side???

However, I am better. My pain has gone. I can walk but it still does not feel natural and after going to Coniston Water in the Lake district for 4 nights I felt, will I ever be able to hike the fells again!!? I probably will but right now it feels I won’t ever be able to. My leg is still very weak but this is an accumulation of the 2-3 years of pain and limping before I even had the surgery. Despite trying to get strong before my op my pain was so severe my muscles were inhibited due to the pain i.e. they just wouldn’t work! My friend Dr Lindsay did say the other day, I wasn’t quite smooth walking but at least I was not lurching around with a positive trendelenburg (or massive waddle!). Nice GP friend she is!! I know it will take time, about 18-24 months before I feel the leg has returned to me, if it ever will….

I manage to exercise 4-5 times a week which is a mixture of buttock, thigh and abdominal strength work, cross trainer, bike, swimming, water exercises, hip flexor, hamstring, quad and lower back stretches. The creche at Dulwich Leisure Centre http://www.fusion-lifestyle.com/centres/Dulwich_Leisure_Centre has really saved me and now I can let Lily have a hour of playing whilst I do my cardio and strengthening exercises.

I do have some clicking during bending over and flexing the hip and also and more weirdly my hip/bum area knocks a little when I shake my leg, as if you were nervous. I do not like this sensation and I hope it will decrease as I get stronger. I have spoken to my surgeon and he says he is not worried.

I would have thought by now it would have been easier (hip stronger, full movement and able to run  little) but in some ways it feels harder and my walking is not quite as good as it was, mainly due to funny painful weird sensations in the leg and knee. If I miss a few days of not doing any strength work then I feel slightly more discomfort and thigh pain. However I realized yesterday that my quadriceps are still very weak and perhaps this is the reason for not feeling as though the leg is working properly whilst walking. Additionally my hip rotator muscles are weak and that is another area I need to work on which even as a physiotherapist is hard.

So on reflection I will spend more time in the pool to strengthen hip rotators and then concentrate on my quadriceps. Lets see if that works. Will keep you posted.