Its now been 4 months since my THR on the L hip and I have finally managed to see my surgeon for a follow up. Well I had gone in with a list as long as your arm of questions, how long before I can do this and that.. My physio wanted to know what she could and couldn’t do with me. This is the shortened version of the list Weight training – yes! Even squats..!!! Cycling – yes I can get back on my racer, not just the mountain bike… I can now do easily 20 plus miles in a day, even with my daughter sitting on the child’s bike seat behind me. Horse riding – I have been back on a horse a few times now, the only thing I changed was how I got off! Just swung my leg over the neck instead of over the back…. Oh and I now use a mountaing block… Skiing – Yes but don’t be silly with it My preferred option was the cross country skiing, as its more low impact and a good substitute for running in the winter in Germany. So Lang laufing is OK too. Rowing – used to row at novice level at a club in Henley on Thames and I can now go back to it as I can easily manage a full slide now on the rowing machine. Rock climbing – enough said, but I shall be doing it again!
For me the most important one is the running! I spoke to my surgeon at length before the op about my “ocd” / need for running, and had basically said there was no point having the op in my view unless I could run again. Anyway today he totally blew me away by saying I could go back to running tomorrow if I want, just to start gently… Well considering the week leading up to the appointment was hideous, this feels like I have won the lottery!!! Now I am here in the UK, wishing I was at home in Germany with my beloved trainers looking for a bit of soft ground to run on!
Still, its been a long slog. I have to say I take my hat off to the older generation who have this done as I salute you for getting on and doing it.
My advice which my sister told me ( she is a double THR, like my mum) have it done sooner rather then later as your muscles are in a better shape to handle it and why put yourself through the pain?
I have been very fortunate to have the physios at my husbands Army base take a real interest in me, they don’t see manyinjuries/ operations like mine. They managed to squeeze me into Army hydrotherapy sessions to help me strengthen my leg / joint.(The only down side was the pool was outside, I am skinny and it was very cold, doing slow walking exercises in 25C water when the outside temp was 5C) They have monitored me very well and kept me from doing too much too soon! But also upped the exercises as needed. The only real thing was waiting for the bony in growth in the implant to take, which is apparently 6 weeks or so according to my surgeon, my physio was more cautious then the surgeon but not in a bad way, and I think it made me work harder to achieve something new each week. Of course there have been ups and downs, but on the whole 90% and maybe 5-10% downs, mostly due to my frustration in the beginning of having to wait for bony in-growth. I was on walking sticks by day 3 and after a week 1 stick only. I had to use that for about another 3 weeks, more to keep people from jostling into me and to remind my husband I wasn’t as fast as normal.
I should point out that I mentioned the noticeable difference I have in range of motion in abduction in my L when compared to my right. The answer really surprised me at how much my surgeon had really listened to me. He said he had put the acetabular cup in at a smaller angle then normal to increase the weight bearing surface and allow me to run again without hopefully having to have another replacement.The change in angle meant I have traded weight bearing surface and ability to run again with range of motion in abduction. For me that’s a small trade off if it means I can run about again and play with my now 5 year old daughter. Its obvious to me that hip dysplasia and FAI’s run in our family and so I will be keeping a very close eye on her as she grows up. If I can prevent this happening to her, I’ll move heaven and earth to do it. The best feeling was being able to chase her and the dogs about in the park like a normal person again, so for those wondering out there, you can lead a normal life after one of these, just make sure you tell your surgeon EVERYTHING you want to do and why it is so important. I was lucky – Mine got it! he has now asked me to write a few emails, detailing all the activities I am doing so He can show other younger patients its not what feels like a death sentence. I shall now continue to learn a new sport every year as I used to, but I think I wont be renewing my skydiving licence! Thanks again Ali for your blog, its the only one of its kind and is very important for the younger fitter types to know life doesnt have to end with the THR op.