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Recent Total Hip Replacement

post #1 of 68
Thread Starter 
I had hip replacement surgery about 2 weeks ago. I wasn't originally planning to have it done this year because the hip didn't really bother me much during the ski season, but it really started to get worse with summer activities and I began to walk with a noticeable limp. I don't expect to miss too much of the ski season - I'm hoping to be back between mid November and mid December.

So far, rehab consists of recuperating from the surgery and a little walking around the house with a walker. I sometimes forget the thing and wander into another room without it, so I guess I'm almost ready ditch it and start using a cane. The first thing that I noticed when walking around in the hospital was that the operated leg felt about 1/2 inch longer than the other leg. The doc says that this goes away over time as things settle after the surgery.

The rehab prescription is mainly to do a lot of walking with the cane. Where I live, nothing is flat, and not much is paved, so at first I will need to drive to town for a more appropriate walking route.
post #2 of 68
JimL good luck with the recovery.Did you have the Total Hip Replacement or the Birmingham Resurfacing Procedure? I have a bad hip also and will need a replacement some time in the future. Keep us posted with your recovery.
post #3 of 68
Thread Starter 
I had the total joint replacement.
post #4 of 68
Thread Starter 

A lot of progress the last few days. I'm no longer taking pain meds, so my reading comprehension has improved substantially. Also it is now safe for me to drive. The operated leg is the left, so it should be easier to get in and out of the driver's side than it is the passenger's side. In  2 more days I'll be done with the anticoagulant medication which I have been required to take as a precaution against the risk of blood clot. I'm done with the walker and now using a cane, which I am told I should use for the rest of the 60 days after surgery. I spent about 45 min doing laps around King Sooper's parking lot today with no ill effects. When I asked the doc about rehab, he said to do a lot of walking. I've lost some weight - the last time I was down to this weight was in Basic Training, which also was the last time I went this long without a beer.

I asked about the Birmingham hip resurfacing procedure. I was not a candidate on two counts:
too old (over 60) and my hip was too far gone.

post #5 of 68
Good luck, Jim!  Hope you're back on skis soon!
post #6 of 68
Thread Starter 
Thank you, Prof. If I do what what I'm supposed to do during recovery, and don't do anything stupid, I should be good to go on schedule. I have a friend who was skiing 60 days after hip replacement surgery.
post #7 of 68
I had bilateral total hip replacement September 2005. I first skied late January 2006. The procedure improved the quality of my life and although I ski more cautiously I ski under more control and with far more comfort.
My advice to you is to do lots of walking(get an MP3 player) and swimming, if possible. Don't rush the skiing this year. The snow will still be around later in the winter and next year will be even better.
post #8 of 68
Thread Starter 
Being able to drive is making a big difference. I've been walking daily for the last ten days, going somewhere flat and level. Prior to that I was limited to just walking around at home. Each day it is a little easier to keep going for a half hour to 40 min. I'll have to try out the lap pool at the local rec center for good non-impact exercise.
post #9 of 68
My husband was recently told he needed hip replacement.  He has bone-on-bone contact in his right hip.  He is going to try to get through this ski season and have it next May since he probably will need both hips done by next summer.

Those of you who have had it, please keep posting about your progress.  We are very interested in figuring out how he will be able to do next season.

He is also somewhat apprehensive about this season.  I am curious how people did skiing the winter before their hip replacement surgery.

Many thanks.
post #10 of 68
Thread Starter 
My hip didn't bother me much during the last season except for a sharp pain once in a while when I encountered an unexpected impact. It started to really bother me when I started hiking during the summer. An x-ray showed significant bone on bone contact and I was advised to go ahead with the surgery instead of trying to make it through another season. So far I'm happy with my progress and I'm expecting to be back instructing at Loveland by November or December.
post #11 of 68
The skiing before my hip replacements was relatively pain free. Each person has different reactions and different medical problems. I found my endurance was down. I could not walk around in my ski boots at all. I was extremely sore after skiing and found great relief in the hot tub.
Post surgery none of the above exists.
post #12 of 68
JimL,

Happy recovery! I had both knees done; left in 07 and the right, 1/4/09. You don't mention streching. I think it is the most important of therapy. Your range of motion should be from 0 deg to 120-125deg. If you don't get started on a program, your joint will "freeze" up and you will have limited ROM. I asked my physical therapist how long should I wait before skiing. She said at least 9 months to let the bones finish rebuilding.

I lost my cane at 5 weeks. I was riding my bicycle at 6weeks. My first rides were flat and 20 minutes in length. I increased to 30 minutes within 2 weeks. I did not try any intervals until 2 months. I have been doing 5 days a week since, and an hour  to two hours. Instead of riding, lately, I have been hiking for up to 40 minutes, with an elevation gain of 200 feet.

I had my hip replaced in 1996. I probably have 800 ski days on it and it is still hanging in there.

Cheers...Rick
post #13 of 68
Good luck with the recovery, but I would suggest you wait a bit longer to start skiing. What does the surgeon say?

I had hip surgery in Jan 09 for femoroacetabular impingement (FAI), a labral tear and some microfracture to address some of the cartilage thinning.  I actually contemplated trying to ski toward the end of March but decided not to risk it as I still had a significant strength deficit in that hip.  I was doing weights at that point and was able to start running again within 5 or 6 months and was largely ready for activities like skiing in July although not so much snow around here in then. :) 

My understanding is that the surgery I had is a longer recovery than hip replacement (I'm 38 so wanted to avoid a replacement), but still thought I'd offer that time-frame for perspective. I wonder if Feb is a smarter target?  I know it sucks to be off-snow (I had to miss the last 2 full seasons for this injury, so believe me, I know!), but it would be worse to end up needing a revision that prevented skiing in future seasons because you got back on the slopes too soon. 

Whatever you do, make sure you work on your glute medius (mini-band walks, clams, glute bridges...), as they have probably been very dysfunctional for however many years you've had hip problems.

Good luck!
Elsbeth
post #14 of 68
I had THR in 1996. My ortho at the time told me not to ski for two years. That was to let the bone rebuild around the new joint. That was good advice as the hip is still hanging in there.
Rick H
post #15 of 68
Thread Starter 
My last visit to the ortho was about a month ago. They took x-rays which showed the hip to be firmly anchored by the bone growing in around it. The doc lifted the restrictions on normal activities and okayed me for skiing as soon as 12/15 if I feel ready. Since then I've been walking without the cane, although I sometimes carry a treking pole when I'm walking with the dog on the hilly gravel roads near home. Snow, ice and 0 degree weather has put a crimp in my walking regimen recently. I've been going for physical therapy which includes pilates and other exercises to increase flexibility and strength in the operated leg - glutes, quads, hip flexors, hamstrings, etc. I've also been working out at the gym. When I use the leg press it shows me how weak the operated leg is compared to the other leg. Its getting stronger, but its a slow process. The good news is that its probably no worse now than it was last ski season before the surgery. I'm signed up to instruct  at Loveland  one day a week when I'm ready. I'm planning to try a few test runs on the beginner slope in another week or so.
post #16 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by JimL View Post

My last visit to the ortho was about a month ago. They took x-rays which showed the hip to be firmly anchored by the bone growing in around it. The doc lifted the restrictions on normal activities and okayed me for skiing as soon as 12/15 if I feel ready. Since then I've been walking without the cane, although I sometimes carry a treking pole when I'm walking with the dog on the hilly gravel roads near home. Snow, ice and 0 degree weather has put a crimp in my walking regimen recently. I've been going for physical therapy which includes pilates and other exercises to increase flexibility and strength in the operated leg - glutes, quads, hip flexors, hamstrings, etc. I've also been working out at the gym. When I use the leg press it shows me how weak the operated leg is compared to the other leg. Its getting stronger, but its a slow process. The good news is that its probably no worse now than it was last ski season before the surgery. I'm signed up to instruct  at Loveland  one day a week when I'm ready. I'm planning to try a few test runs on the beginner slope in another week or so.

That's fantastic that you're progressing so well, although if you have a noticeable strength deficit, I would strongly suggest you wait a bit longer.

If you've noticed significant improvement in the last couple of weeks then that's probably a good sign that you'll continue to see even more improvements in the next month.  What if you waited until even the first week of Jan to try?  You'd still have a lot of skiing ahead of you this season, but your body would be much more ready for it.

Of course if your surgeon gave the go ahead then that is worth listening to.  Just thought I'd throw out another thought.

You must be excited to be getting back out there!

Elsbeth 
post #17 of 68
Thread Starter 
This is a quick update -
I tried a couple of runs on the beginner hill at Loveland in mid December. I wasn't quite ready yet. I went again in mid Jan, skipping the beginner hill and going right to lift one, skiing some greens and easier blues with no problem other than being a little rusty and lacking confidence. The following week I put in 2 days free skiing and my first day of the season back with the Loveland ski school. The next week spent 3 days on skis including one work day at the ski school.  The 1st week of Feb spent 3 days skiing at Aspen (Ajax and Highlands). By then I was feeling pretty good on skis, although the operated leg was not yet quite as strong as before. Since then, between free sking and instructing I've been on snow 3 days a week, and I now feel like I'm about back to where I was last season. I haven't skied serious steeps or big bumps yet, but the below average snow cover season to date hasn't made me feel like I'm missing too much.
post #18 of 68
JimL glad to hear you are recovering well from the total hip replacement. As I mentioned earlier I will be needing one shortly. I had an appointment with Dr Rector in Boulder this morning and scheduled a Birmingham Resurfacing Hip Procedure for next month. Hopefully I will also make a quick full recovery and be able to enjoy next snow ski season. Keep us posted, James.
post #19 of 68
Thread Starter 

JMD,

 

I hope that your Birmingham procedure goes well. Based upon my experience, there is a lot to be said for having the hip surgery in the spring so that you can start your rehab during warm weather when you won't have to contend with snow and ice.

post #20 of 68

JIML, just wondering how the hip's going these days. Your experience parallels mine very closely. I'm normally a 50-70 day per season skier, mix of back-country, downhill and skating. My hip started to twinge 4 years ago but was bearable. Then a year ago it got worse in a hurry. Skiing, cycling and swimming were OK, but walking difficult. Now walking is very difficult. I was hoping for a resurfacing replacement but the specialist said I'm too old (63) and the bone head is too far gone. He's recommending the big metal head as a replacement since I've stressed I really want to continue to ski. Because our local ski season (Vancouver) was shot by the Olympics I didn't miss much this past season. Managed to get 19 backcountry days in and the skinning up was very painful but the runs down were more than worth it.

Frankly, I'm very nervous about this whole replacement thing. I'm scheduled for surgery Sept and I've already bought my pass for this coming season. Any advice/assurance you can supply would mean a ton to me.

post #21 of 68
Tagalie, my husband had 2 THRs this past winter, one in late January and one on April 1. Surgeon was Dr. Brad Penenberg at Cedar Sinai in LA. He did Jimmy Connors' hip several years ago and there is a video of how well Jimmy did. You might want to take a look at it. If you can find a surgeon in your area who does the same procedure I recommend you see him.



My husband did incredibly well. He was able to walk with a walker the same day, only spent 36 hours in the hospital, and was walking without any assistive device within 4 days. He had very little pain.



He skied 2 months after the first surgery, but soon realized that the other hip needed replacement as well. He skied very carefully one month after the 2nd replacement. A month later he was back to skiing black runs fast.
He had a slow fall on one of the hips in mid-June and suffered no ill effects.


I skied 2 months after a tibia plateau fracture, 5 weeks after my surgery. So madness apparently runs in our family, and we are not young - he is almost 60.



But you should get the surgery as soon as possible, and avoid poor early season conditions. Do your PT and if you are in reasonably good physical condition other than your hips, you should have no trouble skiing in December. Although he skied ridiculously soon, the Surgeon's approved time frame for healing was only 3 months.



Go for it and good luck!!!
post #22 of 68

Skibum4ever, your response means so much to me. Sounds like your husband's experience is very similar to mine. Fortunately I can still ride my bike and swim, both of which are keen interests. Walking is a different matter, It's more painful for me to mow the lawn than do a 70k bike ride or 1500m swim. That's my excuse anyway, though I'm not sure my wife buys it! Now, I guess because it's doing more than its fair share of work, the right one is going too so, like your husband, I'll need to get them both fixed in quick succession. I'm scheduled to have the left one replaced Sept 24. I've aleady bought my season pass so this had better work!

Did your husband have the total replacement or the Birmingham resurfacing?

post #23 of 68

Tagalie,

 

He had 2 minimally invasive total hip replacements.

 

If you're anything like my husband, you've done a lot of reserarch on the Internet.  I suggest you check out the following links:

 

http://www.hips4fastrecovery.com/default.asp

 

and

 

http://www.hipkneemis.com/drpen/

 

I don't know if there is a surgeon in Vancouver who practices the MIS techniques, but if there is you really should check him out.

 

I will also send you a PM.

post #24 of 68

Dear Tagalie:

I had bilateral THR on September 25, 2005. I skied very gently at the end of January. I would say that by March I was careful, but much more back to normal.

CSH

post #25 of 68
Thread Starter 

Tagalie,

Sorry not to get back to you sooner - I had some strange computer problems which prevented me from posting on the forums. Hope everything went well .By now you must be well on your way to recovery. Just don't try to do too much to soon. I made the mistake or trying to ski a few weeks too soon, and the resulting hip flexor injury set me back about a month.

post #26 of 68

I know that I am coming in late on this thread, but I might be able to offer some insight into THR. I had a THR in May of 1996. At the recommendation of my orthopod, I stayed off skis for 2 years in order to let the bone rebuild. From 1998 to 2006, I averaged 100+ days skiing per season. I have slowed down since then to advanced age. I am 75 this past December. I had xrays this past June and everything looks good. No abnormal wear.

 

The moral of this story is: DON'T PUSH YOUR REHAB.

 

Rick H

post #27 of 68

I have been skiing the last few years with a lot of pain from my arthritic right hip.  Finally, I had a total hip replacement done on October 27 of this year. So far my recovery has been pretty good. I only used the cane for a few days and right now I can walk with less of limp than before the surgery.  Don't believe I'll try skiing this year (gonna be real tough) just to give everything a chance to totally heal and get back to good leg strength.  Skiing is a passion for me and I hope I can get back to a decent level, even though I am expecting to give up on bumps which I always loved.  I am 56 and in good shape from a lifetime of hard exercising.  Reading posts from others ( Si, JimL, Rick H ) has been hugely encouraging and frankly is what allowed me to finally pull the trigger on the surgery.  Good luck to all and speedy recovery!

post #28 of 68

SkiCubed,

 

My only suggestion is not to push getting back to skiing. During my season off, I x-ced and snowsoed. Not the same but it kept me from getting cabinfever.

 

Rick H

post #29 of 68

Rick H I appreciate your advice.  Staying off for a season while I restrengthen my legs and let everything set up as best as possible seems smart. Does  wearing some sort of extra hip protection when I do return to skiing seem doable?  They must have some kind of padded protection like moto-x guys wear that might give me some extra safety just in case.  Any thoughts?

post #30 of 68

skiCubed,

 

Having raced bikes for years (the start of my hip degeneration), I wore hip pads. They didn't help much. In skiing, manmade and ice are the main concerns. I would say to twst away from the replacement, but that could cause more problems than it would solve. I had my hip done first, then both knees. I got to the point where I don't think about my replacements, I just ski.

 

Rick H 

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