Anissa – turning a corner – just about 8 months postop

About a month and a half ago I was really in a funk. I was still having a lot of groin pain which also was contributing to pain all down my leg and pain in my back. I don’t quite remember all the details, but I do remember feeling very irritated and thinking that this wasn’t much better than I felt before the surgery. At 7 months, I thought I should at least be able to walk long distances at a decent pace, but just walking about a mile wasn’t worth it due to the pain. Since I had to have the THR because of a previous femur fracture surgery failure, I was worried that something was wrong with the THR surgery and that a revision was surely in my immediate future.

I still had about about a month to go before my ortho follow-up and when I emailed them about my concerns, they speculated that it was still just soft tissue healing and to keep going to physical therapy. So I increased my PT appointments to once a week and mainly saw a therapist who does Graston work. Basically that means she used some metal tools to kind of dig or massage over the surgical area to help break up scar tissue and increase circulation. I also gave up walking and focused just on the PT exercises and on the elliptical. I never liked the elliptical much, but when I tried it, I didn’t experience the same pain as when I was just out walking. And I started to ice more than I had been and I took ibuprofen and tylenol a little more regularly and I scheduled regular massage sessions.

I’m happy to say that something happened. I can’t say what exactly led to it whether it was the Graston, or the PT, or the elliptical, or the rest from walking, or just the plain old passage of time. I started to feel better.

I don’t have the pain down my leg anymore. I don’t really have much back pain. The groin pain has significantly improved to the point where I’d say that I feel it only under certain circumstances. I’ve added spin classes on top of my elliptical workouts and I’ve been taking my trike bike out regularly. The week before my ortho follow-up I had a vacation in Asheville, NC and went hiking just about every day without the need for ibuprofen, tylenol, or ice. I was tired as heck at the end of that vacation but it was a significant improvement compared to how I felt last year. I can say that now, I might feel sore after working out, but it’s a good sore, it goes away in a day or so and I can tell that I’m getting stronger and building muscle.

The ortho appointment didn’t last more than 10 minutes. They took an Xray. The doc came in and said everything looked normal. He did mention that my surgery leg still looked like it had some muscle atrophy compared to the nonsurgical leg. I felt pretty good so I didn’t have any questions – I definitely wasn’t going to ask him about running because I know he won’t say it’s ok to run, he’s already made that clear. My thoughts are that he’s a surgeon, not a personal trainer, and until I need him again, I think I’ll just keep my running goals between me and my PT (hopefully, I won’t ever need him again). In the end, he reminded me to use antibiotics before dental procedures and the last thing he said was “stay away from doctors” – he’s a funny guy.

So now, I’m looking ahead again and hoping I can make that 15 minute per mile cutoff for the 5 mile event I registered for in October. The last time I went out for a “speed” walk, I did about a 5k at a 15:30 minute per mile pace, so there is hope 🙂 My next update will probably be after the event, so good luck to you all out there!

Anissa- Just chugging along

It’s a little over 5 months since the operation. I haven’t posted in a while because there hasn’t been much earth shattering happening. At one point, I worried that I wasn’t making comparable strides to some of the other hipsters, mostly due to some pain issues and glute med weakness issues. I emailed my surgeon and he reassured me that it might take longer since my replacement was due to a hip fracture that hadn’t healed and there had been some damage to the glute med tendon area that he had to repair as well. He is saying a full recovery could take 6 – 12 months even. I wan’t ready to trust that assessment, but sure enough, much of what was bothering me has subsided which is giving me a little hope that time will make a difference. This time last year, with my hip fracture, I was taking ibuprofen at max doses every day around the clock and even some tramadol too when it got really bad. I’d say after about 2 months from the THR replacement, I’ve only needed ibuprofen with Tylenol once a day when I have some soreness. The one thing that seems to be consistently bothering me right now is in the groin area. My PT and I are working on the iliopsoas to try to release the tendon (she says it’s the same rehab they do with dancers sometimes) and I also got a groin wrap that helps to relieve the pain when it starts to get too worrisome. And, there’s still more work to do with the glute med. My follow-up with the surgeon isn’t until July. Hopefully, he’ll have only good news by then.

Though I’m still working on rehab issues, I have to say that my situation this year since the surgery is significantly better than last year. At PT they would ask me to rate what percentage of ability I thought I had, and I’d say around 70-75%. Now, I have to say it’s in the 90s since I have to admit, I’m doing pretty much everything except running. I can do pool workouts (I don’t swim but I do pool exercises), I get up on the elliptical in the gym, I’ve been out power walking with the dogs up to 3.5 – 4 miles, and I’ve been out on my trike bike (got it after the hip fracture), and I bought a new upright hybrid bike for commuting around town. That bike purchase is probably the biggest accomplishment since my original bike accident. There was absolutely no way I could ride an upright bike in the condition I was in last year. So I got the trike and road that all year long. I was grateful to have the trike for rides, but I really like the feeling of being back on an upright! Now, I’m looking forward to riding the hybrid on little commutes around town – still keeping the trike for longer road rides.

Last but not least, I signed myself up for a 5 miler event. It’s the Bull City Race Fest in Durham, NC and it’s not until October. I’m sure I can go 5 miles even now. But, I need to work on “speed” in order to make the 15 minute per mile cutoff. I know I have plenty of time so I’m not worried yet. I’m continually inspired by all the contributors to this site. It gives me that little extra motivation to keep working toward that goal!Screen Shot 2014-04-12 at 6.49.48 PM

Anissa – Happy day!

Screen Shot 2014-01-30 at 8.23.42 PM

Had a PT session in the pool today. I used these buoyancy cuffs for the first time to add resistance to many of the exercises. I also used them to do some deep water jogging. I really like them! Much more fun than a jogging belt and takes more core activation. I also did some for real jogging in the shallow end the pool. It’s the first time I’ve done any jogging in or out of a pool since June 30th 2012! Feels good to be going in the right direction~

Grateful for ortho surgeon, but LOVE my PT and massage therapists!

Thanks to everyone who responded to my last post with words of encouragement! Since my follow-up with the ortho, I’ve been back to PT a couple of times and also been to my massage therapist a few times. I always feel better after my sessions with them. I was reunited with the PT I worked with after my first surgery, Kim Keyser. She is awesome! At one point she asked if I could get in a downward dog position. I told her the ortho said I shouldn’t be doing any yoga moves. But she said since my femur was dislocated anteriorly for the THR, that it should be ok. I did it, and everything was fine. Baby steps. I also told her the ortho mentioned that my glute med and min were damaged and had to be repaired. She looked for the information in the surgery note and it wasn’t mentioned there. She’s going to email the ortho to find out for sure before she gives me any exercises that may stress that area too much.

She also brought my attention to something called Sharpey’s fibres. She explained that when the muscle is pulled back from the bone for the surgery, it takes a while for those fibers to grow back to help attach the muscles and tendons. She seemed pretty concerned about letting enough time pass for those fibers to grow back before we started on any exercises targeting that area. Not sure if anyone else has heard of something like that? I’m glad to just keep up with my pool PT exercises for now and get out to walk the dogs every day or so. I’m not planning on training for anything until I feel pretty secure with my walking gait. I want to make sure my core and all that is in good shape. I’m hoping by spring/summer I’ll be in good shape to start training for a fall run 🙂

I mentioned in my last post that I felt some deep pain down my leg one day and wondered if it was because of the weather. Still not sure if it was related to pressure changes in the weather, but I’m happy to report that I haven’t felt that way again since that day.

I’m at a point where I don’t take much pain med at all. I’ll wake up the morning and feel kind of stiff and sore and think to myself that I should take something, but then, as I move around and get ready for the day I pretty much forget about taking anything. I also used to wake up at night from being uncomfortable, and would take something in the middle of the night to get back to sleep, but I haven’t done that in a while either. I’d say I might take something in the afternoon and right before I go to bed, but that’s about it.

For the past week or so, I’ve also been able to bend over to put on shoes and actually tie the laces. No more shoe horn for me!

Anissa – 6 weeks post-op

Had my 6 week post-op ortho appointment yesterday. It’s the first time I’ve seen the surgeon since the surgery since I only saw his PA at the 2 week visit when she took out the staples. I was looking forward to having a nice chat with him about how far along I’ve come and about all the great things I’ll be doing. But I felt like the visit was a little bit of a let down. He told me that he discovered during surgery that my glute min and glute med had some damage from the broken screws. He said he repaired the damage and that with time, maybe a year or so, they should work just about normal (that was news to me!) And then he asked me a few questions and did a little exam and I could tell he felt satisfied with what he saw and I got the feeling the visit was about to end. But then I started asking questions. I asked him about doing yoga, showed him a few pictures of a couple of moves I was concerned about and he just kind of cautioned that I probably shouldn’t be doing it. He also cautioned against ever running. When I asked why, he just said that I should want to avoid running (anything high impact) if I wanted the hip to last as long as possible. I kind of knew before the surgery that he felt that way, but still wanted him to do the surgery because I had several recommendations that he is a good surgeon. I thought, as long as he puts everything in there the way it’s supposed to be and as long as he uses good parts, then I can do what I want once I’ve recovered. I wanted to bring up some of the examples from this listserv but didn’t feel like getting into a discussion with him about it since I got the feeling like he wanted to move on. My next visit with him is in 6 months. So my conclusion is that for the most part his job is done. Now it’s time for me and my physical therapist to get to work! I’ve even thought about finding a different ortho for my follow-up from here on out. Maybe someone who is a little more accepting of me being able to do the most I can with this new hip I have.

So anyway, aside from the ortho visit, I’ve had two PT sessions in the pool. I love doing the pool workouts! The PT exercises that they gave me at discharge are so boring. I’m ready for more and looking forward to my next PT appointment in a couple of weeks (I would have gone sooner but she didn’t have any openings). I have been out walking up to 2.5 miles and feel like I can do more and am looking forward to getting out on some of the hiking trails. I started working full time right before Christmas. Still taking some Tylenol and Advil for pain during the day and oxycodone here and there especially at night to help sleep. I really felt the pain deep in my leg all the way down to my ankle today and was wondering if it’s because of the cold or if it was from something else? Lastly, I’m spending most of the day without using a cane (I’d say 90% of the time without a cane) and I can finally step up those stairs even if I’m a little wobbly.

All in all, I’m feeling pretty good about the progress though I feel like it’s been slow and it’s going to take a long while before I’m in any condition physically or mentally to start running again. I want to make sure all my muscles are built back up and working the way they should to help support my hip. I’m not in any hurry and I definitely do not want another surgery any time soon! I love reading about everyone else’s progress! The posts really keep me motivated!

Anissa – Two weeks post-op

Got the staples out today! Wasn’t so bad. Told I can now work out in a pool if I want (been looking forward to that!) Basically, I was told that I could advance my workouts as much as I can tolerate it, just don’t go past the 90 degree bend in the hip and don’t cross the legs and don’t sleep on my stomach. The X-rays looked good so no concern about fractures or dislocation or loosening. Time to start getting some strength back!

Over the past two weeks I’ve been doing the very very basic PT exercises that they gave me at discharge. They gave me a sheet with Level 1, 2, and 3 based on time post-op. Have had some groin pain with the straight leg lifts. I read that it might have to do with the ilio-psoas tendon, so I take it easy with those. Also, I don’t walk up steps very well yet. Need more strength for that.

I also have been walking quite a lot. Most of it is as I “run” errands which I’ve been doing with assistance and increasing duration since the third day after surgery. Started driving this week Monday. I’ve reached a point where when I run the errands, I take a cane and use it for longer trips, but I can walk unaided if it’s a shorter trip. I also got a pair of Black Diamond trekking poles with which I have walked up to a mile. Now that I have the green light from the doc, I plan on increasing that distance steadily. I’m personally not comfortable pushing my distance without the poles until I work with my PT to improve my gait, since I have some major muscle weakness from the last year’s failed surgery and I don’t want my body developing any bad habits.

I plan on going back to work at the end of next week which is 3 weeks after surgery (not in a hurry to get back to the grind again). My next post-op appointment is in a month. Based on some of the other posts, my guess is that I should be doing very well by then~

Anissa – Post-op week 1

Before THR
Before THR
After THR
After THR

Had my surgery on Wed 11/27 at 830AM. Got discharged the next day on Thurs 11/28 by 11AM. The person who came in to do my PT was amazed that I could do all the required exercises and that I was leaving so soon. But I was totally motivated by all the posts I read on this site. The ortho doc just said to “be careful” and that he’d see me in two weeks to get the staples out.

First day back home was a little rocky but it was nice to be able to pass out on my own couch and sleep for 12 hours straight without being disturbed by a nurse.

It’s been 72 hours since the surgery. I leave the house once a day to get brunch. The rest of the time I spend conserving my energy and just doing the prescribed PT exercises. I can’t say that I feel “great” yet, but I can tell that I’m on the road to recovery!

Anissa – Surgery scheduled November 27

I made a decision to get the total hip replacement and not the osteotomy. There was overwhelming positive endorsements from family, friends, and coworkers regarding the hip replacement. Seems that everyone knows someone who’s had a hip replaced and done really well afterward. There’s definitely much more information about hip replacements and many more of them done than osteotomies. And after reading the stories on this site, I’m ready to have a surgery that will allow me to move on with the least amount of rehab and pain.

So the date is set. They tell me they plan on using the Pinnacle cup, the AltrX polyethylene liner, the Summit stem (probably cementless), and a ceramic head. I think those are all DePuy products. I believe they also mentioned that they will be using a lateral/anterior approach.

Good luck to everyone else out there on Thanksgiving Turkey Trots! Here’s to joining you out there next year!

Anissa – about me

I’m 44 years old and was a casual runner (several 5ks, a couple of 10 milers, and one half marathon) and cyclist (the most I’ve done is a double century during the MS150 in New Bern, NC) and was working on learning how to swim so that I could do the Ramblin Rose triathlon in Chapel Hill, NC. And then I had a bicycle accident on June 30th 2012 (me vs a ground hog or some such animal) that resulted in a fractured femur neck which was addressed with emergent surgery. They put me back together with 3 screws in my hip and told me in January 2013 that it was healed and I could start running whenever I felt ready. Unfortunately I kept having pain and eventually discovered last month that one of my screws broke because the original fracture actually had not healed. The doctor who took the Xray said they could do a bone graft or a THR, but he recommended the THR. I went to another doctor who said he could do an osteotomy where he would remove the screws, fracture my femur again to reset it, and then put a plate back in. I have an appointment to see another doctor this Monday who will give me more information about the THR. After that appointment I’m hoping that I have enough information to decide between the osteotomy or the THR. I’m so glad that I came across this site because I was told during my initial femur neck surgery that if I needed a hip replacement that running was out of the question! The way the doctor put it, he sounded like he was scolding me for even thinking of such a thing. Since then I’ve had other doctors tell me they don’t recommend it but that they do have patients who are running with a THR. And now, after reading the posts on this site, I feel a little more optimistic that maybe I will run again some day. I might not log as many miles as some of you others out there, but it would be nice to be able to do a 5k here and there. Anyway, I plan to leave an update when I know for sure which surgery I’ll be having.

Before I go, does anyone have any recommendations for the best material to use for a THR? I’ve read about metal, plastic, and ceramic. Seems that my last doctor was pushing for ceramic.