Another quick-and-dirty update to my total hip replacement (THR) rehabilitation. I wanted to get this stuff down before forgetting it. I’ve been so busy with so much, I just haven’t had time to write! Pardon any errors.
Tight Hips Ain’t Sexy
Well, it turns out that I’d done so well, soared through the rehab so well, that I’d actually regressed.
Yes…regressed…just a touch.
You see it was the hip flexors.
I began having problems…with, of all things…sitting.
I’d also started having problems with PT exercises where I’d previously excelled. Straight leg lifts, that kind of thing.
You see, I’d sit for a period of time…two minutes, an hour…no problem sitting…then I’d go to stand up.
My hip had become extremely tight. Almost painful.
I—initially—couldn’t put any weight on the leg. Would limp. That is, until I’d allowed the hip time to loosen up a bit by standing there and gently rocking, focusing on the muscles, stretching them. Once I’d done that and walked around a bit, everything became fine again.
Then while doing my at-home PT, I’d do some of the exercises I’d previously done with no problems whatsoever…and they would be difficult!
Same issue: tight hips.
I know that sounds sexy—but it’s anything but in my case.
So as I kept bringing this up over several in-office PT sessions, my therapist would work his magic, but I finally had to ask: what was going on and how do we deal with this?
What it came down to was that my therapy had gone a leeetle too fast. Though I was accelerating through rehab, my body wasn’t quite ready to go “beyond” the hip flexor recovery timeline. I think this is why there are “protocols” in rehabilitation (the protocol link is not mine—just one I found on the Internet). No matter what you do in PT, there are certain things and certain timelines you simply have to do, have to observe, however ridiculous you might feel about doing them. And I guess we hadn’t totally adhered, because I looked like I was doing so well, I was pushed forwarded—which otherwise was totally fine with me—things like working out my leg in the gym.
So, we stopped me working out the surgical leg at the gym and returned to doing more of the hip flexor work again—and I’ll tell you, even after just the first instance of doing those at the in-office sessions made a huge difference!
The therapist said that my glutes and that area have not yet totally begun “activating” like they should, to counter the the hip flexing, so now, every time before I leaving the sitting position, I flex and tense my glutes to remind them to activate and start doing their job.
And it works.
I’m still at the stage where I’m stiff and sore after sitting but understanding all this makes it better. I asked my PT assistant about how much longer I should be before I “get there,” and she said about four weeks.
So…should you find yourself soaring through your own rehab…stop and take note. Ask your PT if you’re going too fast. Reign in that ego and desire to be done, and make sure things are going at the PROPER pace to get through rehab.
How Long Until…?
There are standard times to when you can start doing things again, and here’s a link to one I found online. I’d exceeded nearly all of them, but, again, I’m backing off a little now, because of things.
But another thing to keep in mind is that even though there are numbers-of-weeks attributed to these activities, that does not mean you’re 100% healed!
It simply means you can do them.
It literally takes about a year to fully recover from total hip replacement surgery.
Do You Really Need Physical Therapy?
Even my doctor told me all I really needed after surgery was to just walk…yet he scheduled four months of PT for me. So…all you really need is just walking? I just don’t see how this is even remotely realistic now that I’ve had the surgery and am still in my own THR rehab. Here is my in-the-trenches recommendation:
YOU. NEED. PHYSICAL. THERAPY.
I don’t believe you can get by by just walking. Your body does not like getting cut into. As I’ve mentioned before, just the merely act of being opened up reduces your capabilities by 20%, and that doesn’t count why you are getting cutting into, which further diminishes your capabilities.
When surgeons go in there they move things around, cut things up/off, hammer things in (like my THR implant), move things around again, putting everything back together. That is all highly traumatic.
Just look at my instance: physically fit and strong and my body is still not what it was before…the good parts, that is. They’re pretty close, but not 100%.
The body for one reason or another gets confused. Pissed. “Frozen” in some cases. It needs to be reminded and prodded and exercised. The amount of time you’re off whatever it is you’ve been off of, needs to be brought back to its previous strength and flexibility. I don’t know why, I don’t get why, haven’t researched why, I just know that it is how it is. My surgical leg, though well-muscled and strong, isn’t as strong as it was before surgery…and getting there is not as easy as “just walking.” Is not as easy as you’d imagine, it just isn’t. Event though most of my muscle is there (yes I have lost some muscle from lack of use, but that can return from renewed strength training), you’d think all the associated strength would be, too. It’s not. Much of it is…but not all of it. For some strange reason, that’s just how it works.
So, yes, you NEED physical therapy.
Total Hip Replacement Surgery
Shoulder Surgery Posts
Knee Surgery Post