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.

Author: nickyturnerphysio

Mother, Physiotherapist, Traveller, Cyclist & Hip Replacement

7 thoughts on “Hip Rehabilitation – 6 months”

  1. Dear Nicky,

    Thank you for sharing your story, I came across your story while researching hip replacements in young adults. I am 34 years old and am in need of a hip. Just like you said, it is devastating to hear that you need a hip replacement at any age. For me it is very much so devastating! I have taught aerobics since i was 16 and have been an avid runner signing up for any race or marathon I can. I thought that I just had a stress fracture and that is not the case. I am researching all I can and trying to find the best surgeon for my needs. Thank you for sharing your story and for inspiring others like myself that life does continue and I see your ups and downs but you seem to keep such a great attitude. Thank you, I will continue to follow your success with your new hip. Wishing you the very best full recovery, mentally, and physically.

    Kate Bell

    1. Hi Kate
      Thank you for your message.
      I am sorry you have to have a new hip. It is very hard to get round your head when someone tells you that is what you need, especially as you are so sporty and young.
      When did you have your hip diagnosed and what are your symptoms?
      I know a few good surgeons if it helps. Do let me know.
      Take care
      Nicky xx

      1. Hi Nicky,

        Thank you for responding. I agree, It is hard to wrap your head around such hard facts especially when I just thought “stress fracture”. I know first hand what “hip replacement” means. My beautiful mother has had 4 hip replacements and she has always done extremely well. Her first hip she had at the age of 41. By the time she had her 3rd hip surgery her bones were not so great and she had major reconstructive surgery, including a cadaver pelvis put in so they could have bone to work with for the new hip. She was bed ridden for 3 full months. Bed panned, bathed and never once do I ever remember her complaining. I so admired her for her positive attitude and her beautiful way she held herself through such a hard time. With her hard work and positive attitude, she pulled through with flying colors. For me it left me scared to death to even the thought of ever needing a hip! I truly prayed that I would never have to go through having to have new hips because I didn’t think I could ever be as brave or as strong as my mom and hold it all together like she did. I felt NO WAY WILL I HAVE THE PROBLEMS MY MOM FACED. I exercised always, I am a healthy eater and I take pretty good care of my body. I just thought i would never ever have bad hips. Well………this last summer in June, I went out for my saturday run, it was a 8 miler and about 6 miles I was feeling sharp pains in my right hip and I had to stop and walk a bit but continued my run. By the time I got home my pain was so sever that I was throwing up and could barely walk. I made an appointment to get x-rays thinking stress fracture and I was not so lucky. My Dr. Told me that my hips were shot and I had bones of a 50+ yr. old. So I went to a specialist and he told me the same thing. That I had significant amounts of osteoarthritis and that my right hip need replaced. I obviously wanted more opinions and took my x-rays to some of my closest friends that are my neighbors and happen to be Dr.’s so they lined me up with some of the best Dr.’s at the University of Utah. I have been to 3 specialists and they all told me that my hip needs replaced and felt that if I waited more than a yr. my bones would be harder to work with because of the degeneration/loss of the bones.
        I have had pain for a long time in my hips but figured it was just because of all the miles I run and the marathons I would do. I thought my hip pain and stiffness was just my body saying not so many miles for tomorrow please. 🙂
        I do have a high tolerance to pain, but yet at the same time have gotten used to some limping and just plain out bad hip days(I call it) I didn’t know I had bad hips, until my X-rays confirmed my symptoms.
        It has been very hard for me to think that my life as I know it is coming to an end to my passions. I know that it sounds like I’m a dooms day, and I don’t mean to feel bad for myself but I do. But just for today, for tomorrow, and maybe the next week or month, but I know that I will get past the hurt, the devastation and I will focus on getting past my selfish thoughts and just learn to live for new passions. I not only run, I personal train and run boot camps that have came to a halt. I admit that after I heard my news of my hips, I had a complete melt down! I have been depressed and really it’s been hard for me to be positive about this. But……..I realize that life does continue, I have wonderful friends and family and life is good. I would not want to trade my challenges for anyone else’s. I am truly blessed for a healthy body and I know many that pray for one. So when I think of this I try not to be depressed about my condition. When I read your blog, it really touched my heart because i felt of your positive ness and I realize what a challenge it might be to be in your shoes. Your young, have a small daughter your picking up and carrying around your body how hard that must be on your hips. I also see the challenges your facing but you keep working on all of those with good attitude. I appreciate so much your willingness to share your story. You don’t hear too often of young adults needing new hips. And now that I’m faced with that I am terrified and searching for results on those that have gone through it. It helps to know that there is real life after. You really have gave me hope. So appreciative for you sharing your blog. Sorry that my post back is so long, to answer your questions I have been experiencing the hip pain for years but the really bad hip pain just since June. I have had one cortisone shot right before a race to give me some relief and I have done physical therapy. I cant run at all anymore, it hurts too bad and i don’t teach aerobics or bootcamps because I physically cant teach and do what is required for my clients. i limp most days and live on ib-prophin’s. i think the hardest thing for me is not being able to be so active. It mentally and physically kills me everyday. I live in the mountains and am very outdoorsy so I’m missing out on the skiing with my family and the snowshoeing. It’s not that I haven’t tried because I have it just hurts too bad. So now I am deciding when the right time is for my surgery. And if im really ready for this. I have two sons, 16, & 13 and a wonderful husband that will be willing to get me through this. I also have my awesomely, amazing mom that can give me inspiration to get me through this. I always knew that I felt so bad for those that had to go through this kind of surgery but when I’m put in these same situations it gives me a deeper since of understanding and sympathy for others. This I am grateful for. I hope through this trial to be a better person, to help those around me more that are sick or afflicted, and to be more grateful for my body.
        I appreciate you posting me back, for your time and your concern. I’m sorry that you have had to go through this yourself. It is a long process, mentally and physically. For you is this hip condition genetical? What was your first signs that you had bad hips and when do you know when it is the right time to have your surgery? Is your scar long?

        Thank you for your feedback, hope your doing well.

        Love, Kate

      2. Hi Kate You message is very familiar and I totally understand what you are going through physically and emotionally. My hip was injured when I was 25 when I fell onto the hip scoring a goal. My hip was never right after that injury and I lost somr

      3. Hi Kate

        I am sorry i haven’t replied sooner. We have been embarking on a big journey by car, driving from London UK to Johannesburg in South Africa and I have been incredibly busy renting the flat, moving out, getting ready to go. Well, now we are just over 2 weeks into our trip and in Istanbul for 4 days. I am with my husband, his father and our daughter. It certainly has been a challenge for the hip and keeping the rehab going that is for sure!
        Anyway, my hip first got injured playing hockey and falling on it. It was never right after that and although i kept playing hockey, running, climbing etc it played up from time to time but only got bad 16 years later when I had my daughter. I remember a surgeon saying to me you will need hip replacements at 40 after just looking at my x rays (he say i had shallow hip sockets)and you kind of think when someone i.e. a doctor says that you are going to go that route but I was determined otherwise for this not to happen!
        Anyway I am 8 month post op now and although my nasty hip pain has gone i am still relearning to walk and try to jog. I had a big limp pre operation and was in quite a bad way so I know there is quite a lot of re learning especially as i am young and sporty and want everything to be as good as possible. My scar is quite sore still and will be and i do get aches in my thigh and knee from time to time but i think these are due to bad patterns of movement i have been used to for a very long time i.e. walking with my knee pointing more inwards or internally rotated femur due to weak hip abductors. My range is good and I am still working on getting better hip flexion and external rotation. It is coming.
        Regarding knowing when the time was right for surgery was the level of pain. My pain was so bad and my walking was awful and I couldn’t walk down the street with my daughter without being in agony. I saw the surgeon in Dec 2011 and I had my surgery in May 2012. I was put on the NHS list. I needed this time though to get my head into the right space as i was, like you, devastated when i got the ‘news’. I was really struggling to come to terms with what felt my sporting life ending. However and after speaking to a lot of my physio friend and colleagues i knew this wouldn’t or shouldn’t be the case. I have rehabbed young patients and they have got back to skiing which is awesome. I am also a skier and mountaineer and these activities will be my biggest challenges but i believe i will get there but not this season. I just want to wait until i am strong enough and also confident enough. That is my choice but i do know people who would get back sooner.
        Regarding my worries about surgery they were leg length discrepancy, scar length and infection.
        My scar is not long it is about 10cm and quite neat. I liked the look of it! Leg length is important and my surgeon got this as good as possible although after the op you feel that the operated leg is longer but that is normal. What did help me immensely was chatting to my surgeon right before the operation about my worries and meeting my expectations which was very important to me.
        So overall I feel much better but I still have a way to go to get back to hill walking and skiing. I will let you know and will add to my hip blog also
        Let me know how you are doing and if I can answer any more questions. Again sorry for the delay.
        Lots of love

        ps our website for the journey is http://www.exploreafrica.com and we have a blog called ‘family in africa’ under the News section

  2. Sorry Nicky, I asked you if your hip issue was the cause of genetical factors but I re read your home page and remembered yours was from a sports injury.
    😉 no fun!

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