Questions at Week 5

For those of you who are further along in your recovery:

* How long did it take before you were not limping at all?

* How long did it take before you had no pain or discomfort in the operated hip/leg?

* How long does it take before the operated hip and the healthy hip feel the same? (That is, you can’t tell that you had surgery except for the scar.)

* Under categories, how do I set up a personalized Reports category?  At one point, I remember seeing a Q&A category, but I can’t see where to mark this post as Q&A now.  Advice appreciated.

I am Week 5 post anterior left THR, age 41.  I may need a right THR, but my doctor wants to wait three months minimum before a second surgery.  I’m surprised/disappointed by how much my operated hip still hurts – not at the scar site, but the ache at the crease between leg and torso, including throbbing pain at night. Nonetheless, my doctor assures me that I am on track. I had one week of extremely painful nerve pain that felt like rolling in broken glass down the side of my operated leg and on backside, but that has ended. I do have substantial pins and needles in my left foot. I wonder if this is contributing to my tendency to limp? I can walk long distances, though my stride feels restricted, and I’m not too fast. After a long walk, I will be limping somewhat at the end of the day – much like walking after sitting in a car on a long road trip. I’m just frustrated because I think my expectations for recovery were set too high. I’m not at all near running. As I mentioned in a previous post, I feel rather like the tin man pre-oil can. Open to suggestions!

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    • #13149

      For those of you who are further along in your recovery: * How long did it take you before you were not limping at all? * How long did it take before
      [See the full post at: Questions at Week 5]

    • #13157

      Hi Kelly,

      First – you may need to direct your Reports/forum/Q&A questions to Tom, the admin here. I know he recently changed up the site to include forum-style postings as well as blog posts, and he categorized all posts to date to get the forums set up.

      Otherwise … well, you are only 5 weeks out. Five weeks from quite a major surgery.

      Pins/needles/numbness and other nerve related sensations are normal, and mine persisted for 3-4 months after my anterior THR. (I’m 51, had it done in Aug 2016, almost 2 years ago). From what I have read, some nerve damage occurs but does go away as the nerves slowly heal.

      I have had stiffness as the joint capsule healed (they have to cut into that to get at the joint itself) – and that does take quite a while to heal fully. But no actual pain or limping. You may be pushing your “long walks” to the point that there is pain – you may feel like you “should” be able to do more but really, healing takes a while. My doc said 18 months for full healing, for an active person.

      Your limping could also be bad holdover patterns from when you were in pain before surgery. A good PT can help tease that out and correct imbalances. Even almost 2 years out, I still notice some goofy patterns that need working on, from all that time trying to compensate for pain.

      Are you doing PT? What do they say? As for running, I waited a full 6 months before easing back in, to be sure the joint capsule had had a good amount of time to heal. Honestly running wasn’t appealing to me until the 6 month mark. I know others have started sooner, but I was determined to not do too much too soon and pay a price later.

      Since you’re only 5 weeks out, I’d say try to be patient, and take it easy. Hope this helps!


    • #13158

      I am 17 months post-op. Takes 24 months for the leg to catch up, apparently.

      During inactivity, we lose 1-2% of total muscle mass per day.

      Professor Luc van Loon of Maastricht University is one of the world’s authorities on skeletal muscle. He wrote that elderly people (so you wont be quite this bad) gained 2.9 pounds of net new muscle over a year of weight training. Not much!

      So in other words, it will require a ton of work to catch up.

      Age-related atrophy is not a smooth downward curve as we believe. It is times of inactivity, like be sick for a week in bed and you lose 5-6-7%…if you are totally inactive….you don’t get it back as you get older – find out the exercises you need to get at it and work hard….41 is young for a hip replacement. I was 50 and they said that was young…

      I am running up to 24K in a go, however, my abductors and IT band, two vertical anterior/interior support tendons don’t like it….so have work to do to not irritate them while running…..still limp the day after a run….boo….but it took a few months to get limp free.

    • #13179

      Thank you for the responses! My doc usually does not see patients until the three month mark, but due to my persistent symptoms I had a follow up today. My operated leg is a little longer than my non-operated leg, but the doc says that should normalize with time. Most all of my symptoms should normalize with time. I think I had read an account here of someone running a 5K at 5 weeks, and I’m nowhere near that.

      The female physician’s assistant stated (in a non-condescending way) that for whatever reason, young females are most sensitive – and accurately so – to the ways in which the body is off/out of alignment during THR recovery. She also stated that, based on structure, it takes women longer than men to recover fully from hip surgery to the point that they are able to run comfortably. I’m not disappointed; this information is just brand new to me.

      The doc thought my ROM was excellent and was not concerned about pain at 5 weeks, as this is completely normal. I think my expectations were likely too high. I was told no cause for worry until these symptoms persist at the six month mark. Thanks, y’all!

    • #13183


      I think I had read an account here of someone running a 5K at 5 weeks, and I’m nowhere near that.

      You probably shouldn’t concern yourself with such things right now. I’m 57, and for just all my life I’d been running on average a race per month (5k up to HM). I’m just about at eight weeks post-op and feel like I could probably struggle through a 5k…but realize that if I did I’d very likely set my recovery back by a week or more. Everyone recovers at different rates. And of course all of us in this forum have, and are, learning what a value it is to be in good physical condition BEFORE going into a procedure such as THR. Be thankful for that! Just have patience you’ll get there.


    • #13186

      I would agree with Dan – it is never good to compare oneself to others, and especially not in this arena. The focus should be rest and healing, walking, doing your PT, recovering at your own rate. Running will come back in time. This is a major surgery, and if you rush the healing process you are likely to create other problems down the line. Be thankful you are on the road to recovery!

    • #13190

      Along with my previous post, and what Carolyn said above… Another thing to consider is something my PT pointed out to me last week. For the (frequently) years of pain endured by eventual THR recipients…to compensate for the pain in the hip…we begin to use other muscles in our fitness regime, and daily activities. That causes muscles normally used in fitness (or other activity) to atrophy and/or lose their conditioning. After the THR surgery…our physical therapy and fitness should include/consider getting those muscles back in shape. And of course doing it too quickly can lead to injuring those muscles.


    • #13228
      Hip Brother Tom

      Hi Kelly,

      There are a LOT of categories, but the Questions and Answers category was in there and I added this post to that category. Sorry I am a little late to the game, but my crack team of Hip Runners appear to have answered your qusetions. 🙂

    • #18871

      I had a LTHR at age 39 in November of 2019. I have ran all my life (marathons and ultras). I will tell you there is NO WAY I could have run a 5k at 5 weeks. Not even sure I could have walked 3 miles. 🙂 Now at 10 months, I can run 3 miles. LISTEN to your body. DO your exercises. GIVE yourself grace. CELEBRATE what you can do now. Good luck and have faith!

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