My orthopedic surgeon, who did the hip pinning, told me to be on crutches/ toe touching for six weeks and see my local OS at home at 10 days post operative, for wound care.
She did not have to do an open procedure but was able to put the screws through three small incisions in my skin, similar to my arthroscopic surgery, which is pretty amazing really.
My thigh was still badly bruised from my fall and super sensitive.
I am just home, resting a lot and doing some crutching around the home. Doing stuff in the household is minimized and I have to super prioritize.
Toe touching (= 10% weight bearing) is pretty tiring, for both legs. The main leg has to schlepp 90% of the body weight and you better make sure the other one is not down more than only the toes. So far my left hip has done a fabulous job, considering it also is an operated hip.
During the days I was fine but nights were ROUGH, when the night pain came.
I have never experienced anything like it.
Since you need to protect the hip which is still broken and only being held together by screws you need to be really careful with movements. External rotation was OUT, the smallest try would really hurt, so it was pretty much stretched out on the back or on the left but not for long either, then the op side would start throbbing and aching.
My leg was still very weak from surgery and I had to move it manually each time I wanted to change position and each time all the muscles were screaching sore, down to the knee.
The best I slept in those first two weeks was actually in the hospital when they gave me pain meds every four hours. Pain was kept under wraps and it was pretty doable.
When I left the hospital I was given Oxycodone, which is a pretty strong pain medication – 60 pills, which seems like a lot to me.
At home I made some research about it and found out it is a strong narcotic with a ton of side effects including “you can stop breathing”. No thanks. Haven’t taken a single one and toughened it out even tough pain was often 8/10.
Of course we had to make a lot of phone calls about the accident but probably the most important one was to call health insurance and ask if the incident was covered. Yikes.
I was told, quote “as long as it was an emergency, it is covered. We cover world wide. Or was it elective surgery?” (FOR SURE it was NOT “elective” surgery. It’s not like I woke up that day, looked outside at the blue sky and said to my husband “you know what? Today looks like a fine day to go and crash my hip.” Geez.)
I finally saw my OS on PO day 12.
He wanted to have fresh X-rays taken, so there I went, dressed in super sexy blue paper shorts, having my compression socks peek out from underneath my cozy warm ski socks.
While I was in the waiting are, an older man sat next to me, looked at my op leg that was covered in a compression sock up to my mid thigh, and my crutches and said “doesn’t look pretty.” “It isn’t.” “Ski accident?” “Yep.”
And the real kicker was, when he was called in, the door hadn’t closed yet and I overheard him saying “I am here for my right hip”. HA! We are probably here for the same thing!
Anyways, it was good to see my OS, I wish the circumstances were different though. He is a very smart guy, is well trained and he is an excellent listener. He performed two great surgeries on me before so I know I am in good hands again.
He looked at the Xrays and showed me where the fracture was. Right underneath the femoral head. Gulp. (Left picture.)
He was happy about the other surgeons work but he was not happy about the location of the fracture. The closer to the femoral head, the higher the chances of getting AVN.
AVN, also known as osteonecrosis, bone necrosis or bone infarction is a condition in which the bone “dies” as a result of a loss of circulation to an area of bone tissue. In extreme cases it can result in the collapse of a segment of bone.
Two other complications could be “malunion” or “nonunion”. The first means the bones grew together crooked and the second stands for bones not growing together at all.
My doctor could not see the blood supply for the femoral head on the Xrays and told me, we need to keep a close eye on things and take another image, at the 6 weeks follow up appointment.
If ANY of those just mentioned scenarios happens it means THR (total hip replacement). BAMM! There it is, the much dreaded three letter word.
He asked me if I tend to fall a lot when I ski and that’s the sarcastic thing – I don’t. The last time I fell was many years ago. I am a solid skier, I do blues and blacks just fine and I have good balance. The one time I didn’t, I ate it. Ugh.
I also told him about my night pain and asked about the pain meds. He was very clear about them. “Stay away from them. Only take them when you need them. They are strong narcotics.”
So basically, there are two very crucial appointments coming up. The six weeks and three months appointment. The future of my hip depends on how well it heals.
The risk is definitely there but I still have good chances of healing well. Till I get the official okay, I am not out of the woods though.
I usually heal well, but ultra super duper slow, not sure why but even that’s okay with me. I take “slow but steady” improvement any day.
I asked my OS about physical therapy and he said, before anything else, the bone needs to heal, it takes a minimum of six weeks. And even more important – it is a major weight bearing bone!
Before that he does not want me to go to PT, I should do my few non weight bearing exercises on my bed and try for five minutes on the stationary bike every day. Non resistant, the left rides, the op leg just comes along for the ride, and very gentle and slow, to help against scar tissue and adhesion build up. Otherwise, rest and heal.
Also, NO driving till the bone has healed. (If I remember correctly from my previous recoveries, I was not allowed to drive till I was at least 50% weight bearing. So, that’s gonna be a while…)
He also took the bandage from surgery off and put steri strips over the portals. (First time I got a look at it!) There are no visible stitches because my Os used glue and stitches that dissolve on their own.
The only time it really aches is when I lay on my left side. Sleeping on the op side is not happening for the moment but even if I lay on the other side it aches. I guess my femur is not too happy about it to have somebody pound three screws through it, as just so… see below.
The tools for this surgery remind me more of some kit from Home Depot. Yikes.
Anyways, two weeks under the belt. 👍🏻 I am getting there.