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.

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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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      16 weeks PO after hip pinning

      16 weeks post operative and yep, still very busy with my recovery.

      Inside my home, for short distances, I am off my one crutch but still need many, many breaks throughout the day. Outside I am still dependent on both of them.

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      I can crutch/ walk about 800 yards/ meters by now but I doubt I would have the strength or endurance to do a full grocery shopping in our local supermarket without my crutches. Just not there yet.

      ~~~

      Last weeks physical therapy only took place once with a collegue of my regular PT. (My PT had a baby and is taking a few days off.)

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      To summarize it – the guy was a joke and a waste of money & time.

      He never looked once in my file, gave me only a handful of exercises to do which I did 10 weeks ago already and was more gone than there. I would have been happy just doing the exercises from last time and getting his input, instead I was sitting around, waiting for him to come back again.

      I will wait till my regular PT comes back and continue with him. He seems to know me by now and I know him. Lots of home PT to do in the meantime.

      ~~~

      Another big achievement is, I can do stairs again. Not all the way, the smooth, fluid motion; still Granny style, but it is improvement.

      My op hip is okay if I stay within my limits, as well as the good hip. Both get stressed out and tired quickly and lately my left iliospsoas is giving me grief as well, it goes into spasms and really aches. Reminds me of the recovery of my second hip arthroscopy, the mirror image. Surgery on the L, angry hip flexor on the R.

      The other day I read “the hip flexor – the queen of compensating”. (Makes sense but I have other names for it…)

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      I am now in my 17th week on crutches and I sure hope it’s coming to an end soon. Let’s see what my PT will have in store for me when I see him next.

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      Less is more

      PO week 15. Crutches status? Same – outdoors 2, indoors 1.

      My first attempt of “10 minutes walking without crutches inside my home” was a success but very, very slow. It also resulted in “two” angry hips for the rest of the day. Splendid.

       

      film x-ray human's pelvis and arthritis at both hip joint

       

      The next day I tried again and it already went much better.

      ~~~

      My PT was impressed with my progress just within three days but I still did not get the green light for going crutch free at home. He was very clear on that. I should practice good gait and balance during my dedicated 10 minutes freestyling, work on lateral movements as well, “a few” small and short tryouts without my crutch are ok but for 98% – still one crutch.

      ~~~

      Next to selected old exercises I was told to walk “8’s”, 5x to the left and 5x to the right, around the tubes which was not that easy, without my crutch.

       

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      He checked my gait which was okay, considering, but needed some finetuning. I am very thankful for him checking it, because truthfully, this is my third hip surgery recovery and nobody ever checked my gait or balance before. Sucks.

       

      We also want to focus more on exercises on my feet from now on, maybe even consider the treadmill and/ or the Elliptical soon.

       

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      I did two other new exercises, which were okay as long as I stood on my non op hip but very difficult, standing on my op hip/ leg, holding my entire bodyweight. My op hip was not a fan.

      It takes a lot of strength to stand on the operated leg, there is a lot of pressure in my hip/ groin/ leg and it is quite exhausting.

      ~~~

      The aftermath of my PT was seriously  NOT  pretty. My good hip felt like it’s ready to come through the tummy, and even after spending  HOURS  icing,  both were really angry. Another wasted night, when my hips kept me awake till 5 o’clock in the morning.

       

      I personally feel, my PT should adjust my home exercises from now and then. He keeps piling them on and on. I am at 2 hours daily home exercises now and it is stressing my hips out.

      I am sure one could skip a few old exercises and it’d be better to focus on other, more advanced ones, which include walking, standing and endurance. Every week I ask if there is any adjustment with the home exercises and every week the list gets longer.

      ”Less is more” in my opinion and especially in this recovery.

      I don’t want to end up with a stress fracture from a fatigued bone on top of everything. After all, even without the recent surgery, both hips were already operated hips and I knew what they could do and what not. The amount of exercises right now is more than double what I did before the ski accident.

      No wonder my usually super duper left hip is stressed out to the max.

       

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      Attempting to walk

      I am in my 14th week post operative in this very slow recovery. Progress is steady but things do take their sweet time.

       

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      PT was “interesting” to say the least.

      I told my PT that the exercise, when I step on and off a very low wooden box, scares me because especially at the step off, I feel like my hip, leg and knee at the op side can not hold it and I am afraid of falling. What’s the response to that from my therapist?? Goes away and comes back with a box  DOUBLE  as high!!

      I tried it and could not do it. Surprise! I was stuck on top of the box, my feet were glued onto it and I was so scared of trying it, knowing I already can not hold it on the lower box,  I was on the verge of tears.

      The box was exchanged for the lower one again and I struggled away. What was that good for??

      If I say “I can not do it”,  I am not joking. I know what my hip is capable of doing and what not.

      ~~~

      I learnt a new exercise as well, to strengthen the quads.

       

       

       

       

      ~~~

      But the definite highlight was trying to walk unassisted- without crutches! I only walked a few feet forth and back, and that super slow.

      It did not hurt but tired my hip out, fast! The gait is awful at the moment, very stiff, wobbly, unbalanced and I feel like Pinoccio making his first steps. (I also did not look half as chippy as him…)

       

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      ~~~

      The leg press was increased to 80 lbs. and that’s seriously enough now. I am not training for the Iron Man!

      My list of home exercises is getting longer and longer and I am still on one crutch inside my home and on two outside. I am allowed “10 minutes per day” at home (which is  PLENTY) without crutches and should work on my endurance “standing” as well.

      ~~~

      We are still waiting for spring to arrive. In the meantime I bundle up and go to the park with my husband as often as I can. I am already walking better and need less strength in the arms. Good stuff!

       

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      ~~~

      Till next time. 🙂

       

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      Day 90 on crutches

      Last weeks PT session with three new exercises, resulted in a rough night. I was really hurting and miserable and fell asleep at 5 am in the morning.

       

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      My op hip felt the size of a grapefruit, and ached deeply. It was aggravated and swollen. On a pain scale a solid 5/10. I had to take the whole next day off to let things calm down again.

      ~~~

      Since a couple of days my L hip also is acting up. I guess the left has officially had it for taking the majority of the load for many months. Right now I have two aching hips, aching for different reasons. Good times.

       

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      ~~~

      I also had to set the record straight on what kind of surgery I had done. I overheard my PT talking to a collegue last week and was surprised to hear what my PT “thought” I had done.

      When I told him the correct diagnoses and surgery technique, his response was “oh, you just had hip pinning done?” Said with a tone like “oh and I thought you had “real” surgery the whole time.” (What the….? Seriously!)

       

      I am still convinced I am his first young hip pinning patient, and I am his personal guinea pig. He does give me good exercises and tries but sometimes he seems a bit clueless.

      Oh well, I am sticking with him. It’s not like “other” PT’s will have a ton of experience with this. Again, young people usually don’t break their hip and old people often end up with a  THR  right away.

      Leaves me – floating around in no man’s land.

       

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      ~~~

      I let him know about the payback last time too and he adjusted some exercises. We skipped the ankle weights but still kept the wooden box and squats going. The squats (only a 1/4 going down) are going well, the step up and step down on the wooden box I don’t know.

      Some go well and at other steps I feel like either my hip or knee is about to collapse right under me. Weird.

      Hopefully that gets stronger real soon, it’s an awful feeling if you don’t know if your leg will hold you or give in any second. (I’d be the type to reinjure myself  AT  the physical therapy office, I swear.)

      ~~~

      What else is new?

      • I am still on two crutches outside my home but I am allowed on one crutch inside. Walking is getting better and a bit faster.
      • Stairs? Getting better but still only with two crutches.
      • My daily home PT exercises take me 1.5 hours
      • My crutch walking ability with 2 crutches is about 800 yards/ meters
      • I can bike on my stationary bike twice a day,  NO  resistance, casual pace for 13 minutes
      • Driving is okay within the 10-15 minutes range

       

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