Recovery will now be broken down into weeks rather than days
Day 90 is the 12 week mark. I am not taken off hip precautions yet and will see my surgeon next week. The Physio told me that precautions are taken away gradually between 3 – 6 months.
Canada Day !!! I walked for approximately an hour with a rest in between. Our town celebrates Canada Day by closing off the main street and having vendors pitch their tents to sell their wares. There are also vendors down by the lakeside. It was fun to walk, albeit slowly, with just a cane and stop to chat to people I know. It was tiring due to the heat as well as the walking but thoroughly enjoyable.
The resistance band exercises are getting easier, although some days are better than others. The steps are still hard but getting a little easier.
Standing on the cushion on the operated leg for 30 seconds is easier and still hurts when I take the weight OFF although not quite as bad as it was. The aim of this exercise is for both legs to feel equal.
This week I have visited a friend, been out for coffee and celebrated my birthday. I was a little less active on my birthday because I got so many phone calls and messages, but no complaints here.
I have done some more cooking which entails standing up in the kitchen, so little by little is the key.
My husband had a week of vacation this week so we also went to the movies twice. The second time I forgot the raised cushion so just ensured that I was careful to extend the operated leg out and kept it extended.
I am still ensuring I either walk around a store or walk around the block. I am still not able to bend so I am still not able to walk the dog to poop scoop!
Surgeon “12” week visit
So technically this appointment was supposed to be at the 12 week mark, however, I was not able to get an appointment until this week which is at the 14 week mark.
The surgeon told me my precautions were lifted!!! If I had managed an earlier appointment I would have had them lifted earlier.
He got hold of my operated leg by the calf and pushed my knee to my chest, saying “oops” as he broke the 90° !!
I asked if I was allowed to swim breaststroke with whip kick, line dancing with pivot turns when ready…… he told me I can do ANYTHING I want to do. Of course I’m not able to do these things yet but know I can when I feel able.
Being allowed to bend and to sit on the couch felt very strange at first. It also feels scary to bend!
Physio Last Visit and Discharge
I was officially discharged and told to keep up the exercises 3 times a week, so really every other day is good. However, because I am not able to return to work yet until I can tolerate at least 3 hours standing and walking I was told to keep doing them every day for the same amount of time.
I am also struggling to get rid of the cane. The surgeon was concerned I could not put weight down, but I can under sufferance. When I stand on the operated leg for 30 seconds it doesn’t hurt as much but is still sore when I relax. The aim is to have no different feeling between legs.
The physio suggested I walk round the house as much as I can without the cane. Even 5 steps across the kitchen is helping with weight bearing. I have been trying this for a couple of days in order to gain strength.
The physio also suggested that if I need some things from upstairs to make 2 trips instead of one in order to practice the walking. If you water the garden then don’t use the hose but use a watering jug several times for the walking.
The Physio said that she would miss me!! She thanked me for being a great patient and doing what was required! She said she liked my positive attitude.
In other words, push yourself a LITTLE bit….. remember not to overdo it!!!
3 Days post precautions lifted I can touch my toes!!
- Lie on the bed on your back. Bring the unoperated leg up so the knee is bent. With the operated leg, keeping it straight, raise it as much as possible towards your body. Repeat 10 times without resting the leg in between lifts. This is the same as when I used to do aerobics in the 80’s ! (I was a huge Jane Fonda Aerobic fan)
- Lie on your side with hips forward, this is the same as the side leg lift but instead of using the resistance band I lift the leg higher and do this without resting between lifts.
- Leaning with back against an exercise ball against the wall, stand with legs hip width and perform small squats.
This week I managed to put more weight on my operated leg. I walked longer walks and only used my cane every few steps. I still limp but I am more concerned about weight bearing and tolerance currently.
I managed a couple of trips this week into small stores without the cane. I went to fill up with gas and went inside to pay without the cane. It then spurred me on to go into another couple of small stores where I knew I only needed a couple of things. I was OK, still limped but tolerated it. However, my last call was for a few groceries and I knew that I needed the cane. It is still an achievement!!
I decided a while back that until I was off hip precautions and could walk from the changing room to the pool without a cane I would not go swimming. Now I am feeling more confident, I got to thinking about balance and fear of slipping at the pool.
I then discovered water shoes. I phoned my local pool to ask if they allow water shoes, which luckily they do.
I plan on buying them and will review them.
This week was a very varied week. I had very good days and very bad days. I had mediocre days, but still cannot get rid of the cane totally.
Around the house I was able to forego the cane, although it is with a slight limp. Part way through the week I went out for a few groceries (still not doing huge shopping trips due to all the lifting) and decided to change it up and wear my Dr Marten boots. For me, the boots are better for my feet than any kind of shoe because I have arthritis in my big toe and cannot bend that foot correctly. I walked WAY better than I have done before through all of this, so later the same day I walked around the block without needing the cane. I carried it but didn’t use it. I thought I had reached a breakthrough point but that was not the case. The next day I felt as if I was back to square one with knee pain. I’m no expert but it appears to be a possible IT band issue. For sure when I exercise and it strains my knees it then makes my muscles extremely sore and I am either in pain as I walk, or can barely walk.
As a result of this I rested for 2 days and then did stretching exercises, leaving off anything that was going to hurt my knees. I started to feel better and able to walk better.
I am returning to walk August 26th and am not sure if I will still need the cane. It will be a phased return to work. The first week I will do 3 hours every alternate day and then progress will be monitored and hours and days increased accordingly.
Halfway through this week I gave up the cane completely. I had a couple of good days and decided to try it on a short trip to the store. It was a struggle at first but I could manage.
I was still struggling with the exercises hurting the muscles in my thigh and knee so once I could walk without a cane, albeit slowly, I bought water shoes and picked up on swimming again. I started going every other day if possible but 3 times a week. This has made a HUGE difference, not only in my general well-being but with motion in the water. My injured knee was sore initially but that has strengthened as well as my operated leg.
Kept up with the swimming 3 times a week and have been without a cane for over 2 weeks now. Walking is still slow but getting better each day.
Swimming is as much exercise as swimming. My local pool has an area for aquafit and that is where I go, rather than the lanes. This allows me to exercise, then swim a little, then swim etc. In fact, I am more mobile than the” pool noodle ladies” who do nothing but let the pool noodle keep them afloat while they chat! Sometimes it’s difficult negotiating around these ladies!
I did have a day out to visit a stately home and museum. The guided tour took 90 minutes and by the end of that I was extremely tired from standing and walking. However, I wa pleased that I coped with it and also negotiated stairs, all without any walking aids.
Back to work !!
So this week I went back to work on a phased return. I work in a very large thrift store that involves lots of being on my feet and, as a supervisor, a lot of walking. However, my surgeon approved my gradual return to be 3 hours on alternate days and then increase as tolerated. Monday was hard and I went swimming after work, which felt great, but I hurt for the rest of the day. I am doing an opening shift because it is easier due to paperwork in the morning allowing me to sit down more. Wednesday I just went to work and came home to get a proper feel of how my body was holding up. My lower back was what really gave me pain from the time I was there because I was standing, reaching for items and generally moving more. Sitting down also includes a lot of getting up and down when I’m needed by cashiers. Friday I did a very early shift, due to cleaners being in, and left at 9.30am. I wasn’t too bad but still hurt a little.
I have had a terrible pain in my right side and decided to stop taking the glucosamine chondroitin that I started taking again about 6 weeks ago. I have had 4 days without taking the glucosamine and 4 days without the awful side pain that felt like a digestive pain.
Any muscle aches and pains I have returned to taking 2 aspirin which seems to be the only OTC painkillers that work for me. I have taken 2 aspirin before work and 2 additional ones 4 hours later if I felt it was needed.
I have stepped up from once and occasionally twice a week to 3 times a week. This has proved to be the best thing I’ve done. The exercises are so easy to do in water, although I do feel like I have worked muscles so I am careful to not overdo it.
Keep up the walking, even if it isn’t very far it is beneficial. On a day when I hurt from being at work I have not walked and I feel as if I have stiffened up due to not walking as much. So over the weekend when I did not swim I went for walks around the block. I did feel the benefit, even though at times you may feel sore, movement is better than sitting and it all helps to strengthen the operated leg.
I am now at the end of the 5 month mark. Going forward I am going to write month by month as there is less to report.
Full recovery is estimated to be between 1 to 2 years so there’s a way to go yet.
I think the biggest take away from this experience so far, is to not be upset if you don’t do as well as you expect or milestones take longer to achieve. We are all different. It is dependent on how bad the joint was before surgery, the type of surgery (mine is lateral), your mobility before surgery, how long it takes your body to heal. YOU can help by doing the exercises at home and keeping up the correct amount of frequency of those exercises. Don’t expect to heal 100% without your own effort!!!
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