8 month PO update

Another 31st of the month and another milestone – 8 months post operative to hip pinning, to the day. (Longest 8 months ever.)

 

Fortunately I have more good to say than bad.

 

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The positive:

  • I can live a normal life again.
  • I am mostly pain free, aching now and then but nothing dramatic.
  • My good hip took quite a beating for many months but has calmed down quite a bit.
  • My workout routine is going well. (Elliptical – 15 minutes/ level 1; treadmill – 20 minutes walking medium pace; stationary bike – 17 minutes/ level 1. Of all of these exercises my op hip probably likes the bike the least.)
  • Good gait
  • I can walk a mile very nicely

 

Best compliment I have gotten recently?  From my husband, who said “if one does not know you had a hip fracture, one would never know it, just by looking at you.”

 

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The negative:

  • Sports are still not happening. Neither is outdoor biking on a real bike.
  • Walking anything over a mile gets tiring very quickly and the more I walk, the slower I get and the more the limp comes back.
  • Muscle atrophy is still a big subject
  • Muscle imbalance

 

Task ahead:

  • Keep doing what I am doing
  • Work on endurance
  • Build up strength
  • Keep  ROM  going
  • REPEAT! 

 

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7 months and counting

 

 

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“7 months post operative” sound like a long time but it’s really not. Complete recovery from this takes a full year and since I had a lot of quality time on crutches (20 weeks), that’s not even including building up the muscle mass again.

But I am doing good, I feel stronger and less achier every month but I still have ways to go. I can not really tell the difference between week to week but I sure notice a difference to how I felt two months ago.

~~~

Right now I am waiting for an appointment with an Endocrinologist. I read “if a womens estrogen is too low, it can hinder calcium from getting absorbed into the bones.” Pre menopausal stuff….

 

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~~~

My workouts are going fine, still 5-6x a week for about an hour a day. I try to alternate between the Elliptical & treadmill every day and add PT exercises, stretches, planks (of which I  HATE every single second!), elastic bands and light weights to it.

Right now I am at:

  • Elliptical 14 minutes/ level 1
  • treadmill 18 minutes/ 1.7 walking speed
  • stationary bike 17 minutes/ lowest level

And I admit it, by the time Friday comes around my op hip is tired and aches.

(The one thing I am still struggling with is reaching my op side foot for doing a pedicure or putting lotion on. It has gotten much better, in the first few months my foot seemed like mile away and was very, very difficult to reach. It’s much better but it’s not as flexible as the good leg.)

 

Stairs are no longer a problem, walking goes fine but I am not sure how far really. I know I can for one mile nicely but I have not gone for longer walks yet. Anyways, I am enjoying my summer and it’s nice to be out in the park like everybody else.

 

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It’d be nice to get back into other things too, like tennis but it’s still too early for that. I am not very good with walking backwards or sidesteps yet, leave alone doing it with quick footwork. I know it for sure, if I try it right now, I stumble over my own feet and smack on the hard court.

 

I’d also love to ride a bike again. A real bike. Outdoors.

I have not ridden a real bike in four years. I am always in some kind of hip surgery recovery mode. So that’s my goal for this summer, go biking for a bit.

My goals in general are very modest. If I can get to 20 minutes on the Elliptical, the bike and the treadmill after going through three hip surgeries, I would be very, very happy.

 

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Working like a dog at PT

5 months, 1 week PO.

~~~

Back to PT twice a week, 1.5 hours each time and hard work. (If I am not in the best shape of my life after all this then I don’t know.)

~~~

Here is a summary of what it takes at 5 months + PO into the recovery from hip pinning.

 

  • 30x hip flexion on the table to warm up the hip
  • 30x rolling the big ball towards me, for  ROM
  • 30x hands free bridges on the big ball
  • 30x clams with a heavy resistance band around the knees
  • 30x sideways kicks for the adductors

 

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  • 20x walking sideways with second toughest resistance band around ankles
  • 20x walking “ ice scater” style with second toughest resistance band around the ankles (# burn baby burn)
  • 20x sitting down and getting up from a chair while holding a 4lbs./ 2 kg ball in my outstretched arms
  • 20x exercise with resistance band for the adductors
  • 20x exercises with resistance band for the abductors

 

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  • 20x hip flexion machine for adductors, 15 lbs./ 7 kg
  • 20x hip flexion machine for abductors, 15 lbs./ 7 kg
  • 20x hip flexion machine for flexion, 15 lbs./ 7 kg
  • 20x hip flexion machine for extension, 15 lbs./ 7 kg
  • and  REPEAT  with the other leg

 

  • 40x leg press with 70 lbs./ 35 kg with both legs
  • 30x leg extension, op leg  ONLY  with 30 lbs./ 15 kg
  • 20x walking the balance beam
  • 3x 30 seconds the wobbly board for balancing the body for- and backwards
  • 3x 30 seconds the wobbly board for balancing the body sideways

 

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  • 10x forward lunges
  • 10x sideways lunges
  • 10 minutes slow pace, walking on the treadmill

And in the end my PT stretches me out and gives my hip flexor some love.

 

I am pretty burned out after all this and both my hips need a rest. Most of the times I collapse on my couch and ice the night away but feel okay again the next morning.

 

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It was also good news to hear I have not lost range of motion over vacation time.

~~~

My daily pensum of home PT takes a good hour and I take turns doing the stationary bike, the TM and Elliptical, each twice  week, usually to warm up.

Stationary bike I can do 15 minutes/ level 1; Elliptical 8 minutes/ level 1 and the TM 10 minutes but it all adds up. One day per week I take off from PT, to give my body rest.

~~~

This week I added going back to  ART  treatment to the mix. I wanted to go sooner but I did not want to cross a busy road while still being on crutches. I wanted to be off them and be able to cross the road safely.

I saw this woman before, after my labral tear surgeries, she helped me where nobody else could. ART stands for active release therapy and is basically a deep tissue massage.

And not one of those “nice relaxing” massages either. ART is  w-o-r-k.

My therapist put me in various pretzel positions on her massage table and while she stretched my hip or leg, she dug her fingers into trigger points, manually broke up scar tissue & adhesions and found entrapped nerves.

I will see her now regularely again. Getting rid of scar tissue etc. takes time.

~~~

My therapist asked me which hip it was I broke. “The right.” “So, did they do the other one too?”

( Hmm?? It’s not like the surgeon pinned my hip and once she was done she said to her medical team “well, since we have her on the table… flip her over! Might as well pound some screws in the other one too. Just in case.”)

I try to only have one hip drama at a time.

 

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To finish off with some good news:

  1. stairs work much better now. Almost like normal and naturally “best” in the morning when I am fresh and my hip is rested. I am still sticking to smaller stair cases. If longer ones are present I choose the elevator.
  2. my PT said my gait does not look robotic anymore.
  3. (a little mean but…) I was not the slowest one in the park anymore. I passed one guy with a cane.

 

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Reality check at 5 months PO

I am back from vacation.

Had a great time and it was my first “sightseeing” vacation since my ski accident/ hip pinning surgery and I know now where I am at in my recovery (5 months PO).

The good news – I could do more than expected but I also learnt a few tough lessons.

At the airport I could walk to gates which where nearby, longer distances I still used the wheelchair assistance. Carrying my backpack not only slowed my walking down, it made me limp and used up more energy, faster.

~~~

I had my crutches along and would have actually used them but at the time of need I was stuck nowhere near our hotel (where my crutches were) and had to deal with the situation, without them.

One time in particular I completely misjudged the walking distance and not only ran out of energy but went into pure survival mode. Sights which I usually would have enjoyed and taken photographs of did not matter to me anymore; I shuffled away in slow motion, tiny steps and with a big limp, till the next bench. It was brutal. I would have given something to have access to my crutches at this point.

It was not that the hip itself was hurting, it was the missing muscle mass, on my op side. Atrophy is a real bitch.

~~~

Most days I stayed around 8,000 steps which is all I can do right now and not be aching. I overdid it a few times and paid for it, every single time.

 

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  • Pulling a heavy suitcase? Pain level 5/10 in the hip throughout the entire night and the whole hip joint felt bruised on the inside.
  • Walking up and down hills results in an aching hip.
  • Walking over cobblestone and uneven ground – hip is not very forgiving.
  • Hip flexor on my op side joined the party pretty much every day and gave a lot of  additional “joy”.

 

On the bright side, I was able to walk behind a waterfall; sitting in trains, cars & planes was not a problem and my icepack was a lifesaver several times.

~~~

I certainly had my moments in which I thought “this is so lame” – for example, trying to take part in a 90 minute walking tour.  Brilliant idea!

The group took off and I was always the last one and never heard a word of what was being said.

At some point I called it quits and left the tour. I could not keep up and nobody cared or asked if I was okay either. So, another one for the list, “guided city walking tours” – not happening at the moment.

I was slow to begin with but the longer the vacation went on, the more aching my hip became and the slower I walked. My good hip was aching off and on as well.

~~~

Overall I could do many things though and had quality time with the hubby. Things went better than expected but still lots of work ahead.

Endurance and strength I have to continue working on. But I am sure my PT will have some good exercises up his sleeve when I see him next week. No rest for the weary.

 

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19 weeks PO

I am 19 weeks post operative and doing really good. Particularly the past week.

In general, I am less aching after physical therapy, and I can tell my efforts with doing hours and hours of home exercises since many months are paying off and for the first time I really thought “things are coming together”.

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My PT gave the green light for the treadmill and the Elliptical, only to “try it” and see how it feels.

I tried 10 minutes very slow walking on the TM and really focused on proper gait and good walking technique and the Elliptical was 5 minutes, also slow. Was okay, apart from things clicking in the back of the hip (probably the hamstring tendon snapping) but those five minutes sucked the life out of me. Wow!

I am not pushing it on the TM or the Elliptical, I am happy with 10 and 5 minutes for the moment. Those are new exercises and things have to get used to it again.

~~~

My exercises at PT are going well and I am now done with them in an hour.

I really see big improvement and last week there was a significant push in my recovery. My “slow and steady”approach is paying off.

There is still lots of work ahead but I feel really optimistic about my future and healing up.

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My PT told me to try going to the park “without” crutches and see how far I get. He suggested going for 800 yards/ meters (once around the pond) but that is only happening in his little fantasy world.

I went for half of it. It felt okay, I was not in pain but on the way back I walked significantly slower and with more of a limp. A few hours afterwards both hips were aching, was not great but still tolerable.

Even though I did not go that far, it was a gorgeous day to be out. The trees were blooming, it was in the low 70’s and a picture perfect evening and I was one of the crowd.

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Next up? My follow up appointment with my orthopedic surgeon. Let’s see what the X-rays will tell.

18 weeks into the recovery

Yes, I am still at it.

Recently a lot of people acted very surprised to hear I am still using my crutches or I am still in physical therapy. Well – surprise!

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***

I saw this T-shirt the other day, maybe I should get it. Hmm…

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At 18 weeks PO I can:

  • crutch-walk around a pond which is a “good” half mile/ ~ 1000 meters
  • walk “without” crutches maybe 100 yards/ meters and then it is clearly enough
  • do stairs “Granny style”
  • walk without crutches “indoors” but for anything outside my home that requires more than 15 minutes of standing or walking – two crutches
  • drive a car again with nearby errands to run
  • stand longer at home (ironing, cooking etc.)
  • do about 4,000 steps per day
  • shower without a shower bench
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      Since this week I have my PT’s permission to do “small community stuff” like go in the post office, grab a coffee or get some groceries without crutches. I do not have the okay for going to the supermarket and do a full weeks grocery shopping without crutches yet. Basically quick “in & out” errands.

      I am still taking advantage of an online shopping service for getting my groceries. One orders online and picks it up curb side. Very convenient!

      ~~~

      PT is going well. I continue to improve strength and when my range of motion was measured, I had gained another five degrees on all movements in the last six weeks.

      My gait is also getting better. I am walking faster than two weeks ago and am keeping my upper body nice and straight. It still looks “robotic” though as my PT charmingly called it. My op side has good  ROM  but when I am walking it looks stiff and wooden.

      (This is who my walk reminds me of…)

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      ~~~

      Since a little while I also have clicking going on in the front of the hip and in the back. It does not hurt so I don’t think it’s the labrum getting stuck, but some tendons snapping over the hip. I am not too concerned about it, I think it will settle with time again when everything thing is more balanced.

      ~~~

      In physical therapy we are working a lot on strengthening right now. Still doing the leg press, leg extension, hip machine, using the big ball for doing 2/3 squats along the wall and elastic bands for various exercises. (I really have to watch my PT closely, sometimes he tries to sneak extra weights on the machines without telling me and I can not do it.)

      Sideways stepping. (Burn baby burn!)

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      Walking like an “ice scater”.

      Another exercise I am working on is trying higher steps. I am still doing my staircase at home “Granny style”, or “the hospital way” as my PT likes to call it but I am practicing  now a bit higher steps.

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      I should  NOT  try my whole staircase with the new technique yet, it’s too early and too much for my hip still.

      ~~~

      So, that’s about it at this point, let’s finish with a laugh. I saw this picture the other day and thought, “hm, I guess my ski injury is so uncommon, it did not make the cut. Lucky me.”

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      Slow but steady

      17 weeks PO and still in the slow lane.

       

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      No PT last week, I just did my home exercises and went for small walks. I am supposed to practice walking crutch free every day for short distances inside my home; from room to room is okay but my op hip tires quickly.

      Preparing a meal in the kitchen for half an hour feels like I spent about three hours on my feet or changing bed sheets sucks real energy out of me for example and I need a break.

      The simple task of “standing” a little bit longer like for ironing or cooking is not all that simple. I do see improvement to a few weeks ago but I am surprised how still simple things can throw my hip off and present me a crappy night in return.

      I try to stay below 3,500 steps per day, anything over I am asking for it.

       

      Crutch free I can walk about 50 yards/ meters by now, then it is clearly enough for my op hip. It’s a tricky combination, to have massive atrophy and a major weight bearing bone that needs to get used to bear weight again. Why easy if you can have it difficult?

      This recovery puts a new definition to the word “slow” but this week my PT is back and I am back on track.

       

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