I last wrote a blog after my first week post surgery. It’s was a bit challenging in the beginning, but in the big picture, I’m SO glad that we did this; replacement of the left hip, (which I’ll refer to as the “bad” hip/leg). As I’ve done most of the strength movements, in the past 6 weeks, I think that we all know that you shouldn’t over-train that hip; and if you try to, well, you’ll know quite immediately what that “bad” hip is telling you, “STOP”. As I wrote before, I wanted to push, and after a few weeks, I also knew what that hip was telling me, and also what it was telling me to DO! I think we did a pretty good job on the latter part of that equation.
I was never in pain, not even right after the surgery, (even though I was given pain meds in the hospital), so I wanted to push to the limit, without going into pain. Here’s what I found out: my thinking was that this “hip replacement surgery” is nothing compared to what I experienced before, with my brain tumors. Wrong. When you have a 5 inch scar, closed up with 23 staples, and they go into your hip socket and burr into your hip to take it out to put in a new hip, and at 8 weeks, (now), I can still feel what my limitations, I would say that I have to follow my common sense; be careful and be smart.
As we all know, the largest piece of information that the doctors/nurses give you, from pre-surgery, to post surgery, is to walk. Try not to rest, keep range-of-motion going. Believe me, I WALKED!!! After about 1 week, I walked with my brother, (who was walking my dog for about 10 days), who came down with my mother, to tend me. By the way, I milked that! My brother is a B-B-Q king, he has a big time smoker, and two grills in his back yard; has them going at least every 2 days, if not about every day. I was always saying how hungry that I was, and believe it or not, he really loved to hear that, so he get on the grill! Great set up; hungry, get fed! So, as I was saying, I walked a lot, but so much that my leg started swelling, from my hip, working down through my quads, down through my calves, and into my foot; and I mean a BIG left leg. Started icing the leg, from the hip to the foot, at least 4-6 times per day, right after each walk. Took about 3-4 days, bet we got that swelling down.
I started feeling good enough to start a little movement action. I put a tension strap on, around my ankles, to walk laterally to regain my strength in my hip flexor, ( groin muscle). I still do that, now with the extra heavy tension, due to the progressive strength we’ve built up. That led to mini squats; going only to the depth that my hip would allow; from about one inch, to now doing a set of squats on a bench, so now I don’t have to use my arms, to help me get up from a chair! To me, very exciting, ( I’m a simple person!). I then was starting to use 1 ankle strap, connected to a tension strap connected to a heavy, steady frame, which allowed me to swing my leg forward, hold, and let it slowly go back, and repeat. This helps me strengthen my hip flexor, a very small muscle group, but one of the strongest per it’s size in your body. With this same set up, I could then turn myself to a side,(90%), and start to kick my leg out to the side, to engage my hip, on the outside( the outside of my leg). Same set up, turn another 90%, and work the hamstring by pressing my leg back, under MY control, no momentum allowed! Now, once again, I turn another 90%; and very tenderly, work the area below my hip, my hip flexor. So you see, 4 different movements without changing any positions. Life is great! The next thing I wanted to do, was to actually see what strength I was starting to get back, so I started doing a 1-leg step up off of a box, about 6 inches high. When I first started, I only had about an inch drop. Now, we’re hitting the ground, and this week I started using additional weight, a 25 pound dumbell. How good do you think I feel when I added that? Stroooooooong! The next move was challenging, and I needed something to balance me, a simple lunge. With 1 leg forward, and 1 leg back, and never coming out of this stance, I lowered myself down to the floor, touched the floor, and brought myself back up to my starting position. This was very hard at first, I had to help myself back to a standing position, with a little help from my arm. This would also start to strengthen my hip flexor, which just had no strength! Oh, you might want to know how we’re doing today; 15 reps, no hands, smile on face, success.
So as you can see, most all movements involve my hip flexor, but no upper body. That then, started about 3-4 weeks ago. I was actually pleased, didn’t loose too much by inactivity. Started to get back into my so called “routine”. The best was still coming, slight stretching of the legs; and I do mean SLIGHT! We’re still tight down there, and I don’t want to go to fast on the stretching. The hip tells me what to do, and NOT to do. It certainly does feel good on my good side, my right side. I do, and always did do, a lot of stretching. A lot of this, was using a very tight roller, to loosen up my legs, ( some know about I.T. bands). Felt so good last week, when we could start using this roller, on my new “hip” side. I still had a little swelling around the cut, and this roller starts to loosen, which then has taken the swelling down. I’m a happy man, still a little tender, but happy!
I’ve written about a few of the things that I’ve done, but we’ve done so many others, and with so many more to come, as the hip tells me what it can handle. The one thing that I can tell you, work it EVERY day; some days light, meaning 2-3 exercises, and other days, do more. Remember, this is my hip, and if you have to do this, do what your PT tells you to do. I did my own, that’s my business; but you can do your own too. By staying consistence with your rehab, you cut down your “down time”, and you will feel so much better, and your self-confidence will rise, and rise! Make yourself proud, and then tell me about it! Have a HAPPY HIP!!!!