Julie – 9 month update – stress shielding

Last update was after my 6 month check up. I mentioned some intermittent thigh pain to my ortho. He thought it was stress shielding and asked me not to run until my 1 year checkup. I thought that was a really annoying recommendation but after reading about stress shielding I decided to make peace with that. I was cleared to go back to martial arts, jumping rope, other things. Honestly I figured I could go back to other high intensity activities and additional time weight training I’d be able to return to running sooner than that.

I was doing high intensity cardio workouts 2-3 times a week, weight lifting, cycling, swimming, normal yard work etc. Had a couple of easy weeks just due to life events, company, enjoying summer, house and yard maintenance. Last week I thought I should start pushing it a little again and maybe shoot for a trial run this week. Wrong. I did a simple 45 minute workout, had a little bit of everything. Some high intensity, not high impact. Went to work. Later that that day the deep thigh pain started up. Couple more hours it hurt to stand up and walk. Every step hurt. By the time I got to my car after work I was limping. By the time I got home I was in so much pain I couldn’t take a step. I had to bear crawl upstairs to get my crutch. Back on the crutch! Intense pain deep inside my thigh with every step. Called doc’s office next morning. [!] He was out of town at a conference, his assistant offered me an appt. with his colleague. Colleague patted me on the head and diagnosed muscle overuse. Silly waste of copay. Think of all the wine I could have bought with that co-pay. Made my dissatisfaction known to my doctor’s assistant. Got a call back from one of his assistants who was reassuring, scheduled appointment for today. The assistant said it really sounded like a stress shielding issue. Some patients experience it. Sometimes they diagnose w/xrays, sometimes MRIs. Some marathon runners … (Click Here to View Full Post and Comments)

Julie – 6 month update

Rewind to 4 months post op. I was experiencing pain in my non surgical foot, triggered by/worse with activity. Activities were limited to spin with bike shoes, swim, lift weights. Stairs, elliptical and my Middle Eastern dance class were problems. I thought from lots of stairs at work and because my surgical side hip rotators were still weak –causing me to crash onto the non surgical foot. I waited 5 weeks and saw podiatrist at my ortho clinic. I have — surprise!– arthritis in my big toe. Doc put some metatarsal pads in my shoe. 12 hours and the pain was about 80% gone. That was late April. I didn’t even think or worry about running during this time.
In May, I added more walking and elliptical. I was managing to stay fit, not succumb to the demons that want you to sit on the couch and eat crispy fried things. Then spring finally arrived and along with it yard work. There was lots to remedy in my yard since last year I just could just barely maintain. This year the week of Memorial Day I put down about 3 yards of mulch for weed control. I was carrying 30-40lb bags of mulch, moving dirt, mowing, filling raised beds. I also had a minor roof leak issue, and with big rains coming I was up/down the ladder putting a tarp and 10 landscaping blocks over a roof vent. I sensed that my strength and muscle imbalances had not all been addressed but I felt like I was making improvements. I realized I was overdoing it in the yard, but what can I say? Some yard stuff you have a very short window to prevent future labor and heartache. Later that week I felt this thigh pain, about 2/3 down the length of my surgical thigh. But my list of chores was long and I was making progress outdoors so I ignored it until it started to hurt with every step. Soon my extra-extended weekend was over & it was time to get back to work. I can be very … (Click Here to View Full Post and Comments)

Julie – Weeks 10-16 (more or less)

I took a photo of my scar, but it’s just not very pretty. Not sharing, sorry. Still fairly thick and purple. It will heal eventually. I guess I’ll never be Miss Hawaiian Tropic now, boo hoo. What’s that song lyric? “Now I have a scar I can talk about…”

Last I updated around week 10, I was having trouble with the knee on my surgical side swelling after walking, the elliptical or cycling. One of my quad muscles wasn’t recruiting and my hip abductors were/are still imbalanced.

From martial arts the meniscus on my right (THR side) is about as thick as sheet of paper. I have mild arthritis in the both knees (surprise!). So when my right knee gets fussy the joint produces all this extra synovial fluid, it swells like mad. I’m prone to baker’s cysts on that side, so when my knee swells it’s 3 dimensional. The whole knee gets tight and the rear of my knee gets a big firm lump. In 2010 and 2011 when I was training for half marathons and also putting in 5-8 hours of martial arts training I had to go get it drained by a radiologist 3-4 times. I’ve learned how to prevent the cyst from setting in full time by using R-I-C-E. The “R” in that phrase is my least favorite.

At week 10 when I posted I forgot to point out that I am pretty strong otherwise. I was swimming about 3.5 – 4 hours a week. Once a week I was stacking double fitness classes at the gym – first a strength and then a cardio type class. I feel like I’ve definitely gained muscle fairly easily. In comparison to the year prior to hip surgery I really struggled to build muscle and strength though I worked very diligently at it.

My PT had me doing all exercises bilaterally but after week 10 he added single simple leg exercises. One legged mini squats, mini step ups, step overs, one legged bridging. Initially I could barely lift myself up with the single leg bridge on my surgical side. … (Click Here to View Full Post and Comments)

Julie – 10 wk Update

Tomorrow, Thursday it will be 10 wks since my right, posterior, THR. I’ve been meaning to update but crummy weather, returning to full routine and workout schedule has kept me occupied. I’ve also been waiting for a big milestone to report but I haven’t experienced anything significant.

The positives: Full, deep restful nights of sleep in any position. Taking regular fitness classes at the gym again, with only minor modifications. I can use the elliptical now, it was kind of unfriendly to me up until about week 8, I could only do a few minutes at a time. The best thing is never having the thought “oh I won’t be able to do that” or “I’ll have to come home and rest before doing X”.

Slightly less positive: Still having knee issues. Glutes and quad on surgical side aren’t firing all the time and they fatigue to failure much too soon in my opinion. A few times a day I can feel my lower femur grinding against my tibia, ouch. My PT is targeting it and I am gaining strength and stamina weekly, but of course I’d like to have progressed further by now. That knee was also swelling up like crazy so I had to lay off cycling, walking and treadmill – boo! I’ve been swimming, strength training, zumba (go ahead, mock me. girls just wanna have fun, what can I say). Barre type fitness classes, yoga. This week gradually adding walking and cycling back to routine. I started wearing an elastic knee brace during exercise and for a short time after to prevent swelling. Figure it’s easier to prevent it rather than try massive ice paks to relieve it once it’s had a chance to set in. That seems to be working. Stairs are also still kind of inconsistent.

I think these “less than positives” are probably due to me waiting so long to have the surgery. (Though I was diagnosed with mild arthritis in April and in December having the surgery). I did work out really diligently before surgery but not able to walk much. I golfed … (Click Here to View Full Post and Comments)

Julie – Wk 6 Office Visit

Had my 6 wk visit on Tuesday. I saw the PA at my surgeon’s office. I had some petty questions/complaints, she listened and checked them out and deemed them all routine and ordinary relative to recovery. I have a swollen and tender area above the ankle on my surgical leg. I feel like I suddenly have trouble regulating my body temp. The knee on my surgical leg is not happy about my slightly increased walking and cycling and it’s giving me trouble. I felt like I was getting very fatigued after what seems like not much exertion. All normal, deal with it. Glad I’ve learned to like swimming because that’s currently the toughest workout available to me because of the cranky knee.

A friend of mine is visiting with her 4 and 7 year old next week and I went through a list of activities to see if they were okay. They were all fine and in fact she said I’m cleared from all restrictions. I asked about yoga, I asked her if she did yoga. She does, and she didn’t see a problem with any of the positions, not child’s pose, not eagle, not the warrior series. Of course it’s going to be challenging and some of them are going to be impossible to achieve for a while, but none need to be approached with caution. I showed her a video of my martial arts group sparring, she didn’t have any concerns about that, either. I can also weight train and she encouraged that specifically, mentioning that it’s an important activity because strong muscles relieve the stress that your joints bear.

Then she launched into their position statement on running and high impact injuries. She says they do not tell people they can’t run. However, the evidence is not clear how running and other high impact sports affect the longevity of the implant. She mentioned that during running a femur will flex (all femurs, not just people with THRs). They are concerned about the increased risk of femoral fracture in runners in the area around the implanted stem. Revisions … (Click Here to View Full Post and Comments)

Julie – Week 5

Thanks everyone for your encouragement. Week 5 today & I’m still counting the small victories. Sleeping through the night. No weight gain, in fact I lost a few pounds. I’m getting my pants on without using a grabber or yoga strap. (Still need the sock thingie.) Walking (mostly) without a limp. Progressing on stair climbing/descending with two legs, though it’s still inconsistent. In the past week I did manage to walk 1.3 miles in one treadmill session, and I’m biking 35 mins at a time. I thought it would be more steady and consistent progress, but at least it’s progress. Yesterday I was only able to walk 0.8 miles on the indoor track before my gait fell apart, but on the bright side I was not lapped by any senior citizens!

I’ve figured out some modified mat pilates exercises I can do that don’t interfere with my restrictions. I’m continuing my PT exercises & staying positive. After my walks/bikes I feel pleased, pleasantly sweaty and happy. Unfortunately the hip is definitely fatigued. The limp returns, I’m back to doing stairs with one leg, etc. Reading other’s experiences it’s tough to not compare benchmarks. It reminds me of when I was a kid and watching my older siblings get to do things, feeling like they got to have all the fun.

I’ll have my first PT in a little under 2 wks., maybe he can pinpoint something that will speed my mobilization.

Weather here like for a lot of the country has been unrelentingly miserable. I’m looking forward to some more seasonable 20-25 degree days. Hope to get released from some restrictions next week. Look forward to getting out and snowshoeing or xcountry skiing, embracing the snow and cold (or something like that).

Does anyone else who had a posterior THR do yoga? When did you get permission to return? Do you recall what movement restrictions you had when you did initially return to yoga? … (Click Here to View Full Post and Comments)

Julie – Week 3 (Meh)

In week 3 I noted some similarities to Rusty’s week 3 progress report. The swelling had 95% disappeared from my surgical leg. Atrophy was notable, as well, unfortunately. As far as activity, I had been following the prescribed home PT exercises 2x a day, plus walking and/or cycling daily, as recommended by my doctor.

I was also pleased to note a tenderness in the upper thigh of my surgical leg disappeared. It was noticeable when I cycled, shifted in bed, or certain other movements. I’d been proceeding cautiously with my exercise because of that. So I started week 3 thinking I would see some significant progress as far as walking and cycling.

I was also becoming impatient using the good leg to climb/descend stairs, though part of me knows that impatience has no useful place in recovery. One day climbing stairs with 2 legs seemed absolutely unattainable. The next day the phone rang, I realized I left it upstairs and I climbed the steps with 2 legs (and my upper body helping lots via the handrail). I can’t remember who phoned, but I remember how great I felt for having accomplished that. Unfortunately my stair climbing progress is not consistent. I have done it a couple of times since, but there are days that it’s not working at all.

Week 2-3, I was adding time and resistance/speed modestly to my daily walks. I got in the pool last Friday, a day after the 3 week mark. The pool felt great. I have a flotation belt and I started out with that in the warm water pool. I did my therapy exercises in the pool, walked a bit, then went into deeper water and did some water “running”. The motions of running, at reduced speed. Then I braved the cold water of the lap pool in order to gingerly and slowly flutter kick about 100-125 yards. I had felt so restricted in my movements up to that moment and it felt wonderful to move easily again. I put the water belt on again and did some upper body and pilates moves. … (Click Here to View Full Post and Comments)

Julie – 2 Wk Post Op

Had my 2 week visit on Tuesday.  Nurse ripped my giant waterproof bandage off & took the staples out.  Dr. was VERY pleased with the xrays and the placement.  He thinks my leg lengths should be equal.  They felt a little off at the visit but seem better today.  Today is actually 2 wk post op.

I got permission to cycle.  He doesn’t care what type of bike I use but if I use a spin bike, NO hunching over.  Need to maintain upright torso position till 6 wk visit.  Start with 5 mins & choose 1 thing to build on – either time or resistance.  Increase gradually.  Continue walking as tolerated and okay for pool 1 wk after the visit {staple removal}.  I can walk and flutter kick in the pool but no whip kick.   I also got the okay to try driving, since I’m off the narcotics.  If need to go back on them for some reason I need to wait 16 hours from last dose till I drive again.  Also wanted me to do a test drive first.  The restrictions he wants me to adhere to are.. darn what were they again?  :}  No crossing over midline, no crossing legs.  Not so concerned about sitting in a slightly low seat, though I should continue to try to observe that one.

I didn’t ask about running. He was running behind schedule, I heard an office assistant joke, not everyone is waiting to see Dr. A, there is one person here for Dr. XYZ.  I know that he will make the time for me when I bring my list of questions.  My next appt is in the early a.m. – better placement for Q&A.

So today I drove 5 miles to the gym, cycled for 10 mins and walked .2  miles, faster than I have been walking. Which is to say about as fast as a snail with a bus to catch.  I did some upper body strength training, ran some errands, got groceries. I was out 4.5 hours and that was about my limit.  Driving definitely required effort.  … (Click Here to View Full Post and Comments)

Julie – Days 8-10

Friday was day 8 and I celebrated by going for a short walk, 2/3 of a suburban block.  I walked 5 houses down the street and back, walked up & down my driveway a couple of times.  Assisted by a walker.  Its been a cold and snowy winter and roads, walks and driveways are unevenly snowpacked.  I bought some yaktrax to slip on my shoes but I think I’ll save those for when I’m walking longer distances without any other assistance.   It was probably 15 degrees with a mean wind but it felt great to be outside.  Afterward my upper leg felt a little achy, so I iced it.

Saturday temps reached about 20, it was sunny and after the cold we’ve had it felt balmy. A friend came over to shovel my walks and since it was so nice out I stepped outside with her just to get fresh air.  Walked up & down my drive.

My dad came today and brought me to my gym.  Temps are dropping significantly, dad offered to take me to the gym.  I got him a guest pass.  I walked about .2 miles on the indoor track.  With a walker, focusing on good foot placement.  It felt great.  I was lapped by a woman who appeared to be in her 70s but it still felt great to be there.  I used the UBE (bike thingie for upper body) for a few minutes, did some light strength training for upper body & that’s it.  My goal was to walk a bit, get my circulation and lymph moving and I think I accomplished that.  I do have the general posterior post surgery restrictions and didn’t feel like anything I did today challenged those restrictions.  My thigh is a little achy right now, I believe its calling for some ice & if I check the time I’ll probably find its time for the Extra Strength Tylenol.

Since I’ve been moving more my appetite has increased.  Swelling has decreased.   My lower surgical leg is bruised, and those bruises are tender.  The PA at my docs office says … (Click Here to View Full Post and Comments)

Julie – Post Surgery Days 4-7

Since coming home the last few days have flown by.  Pretty uneventful.  Pain/discomfort – unremarkable.  Maybe a 2.5 at the worst. I do take pain meds but don’t feel an urgency to take one when its wearing off.  I’ve gone 16 hours without them & didn’t need to hit the panic button.  Its a little different every day.

Day 3-4 I was on my feet and moving around more than expected.  I use 1 crutch, the walker, or sometimes nothing – my instructions are “weight bearing as tolerated”.  I’m moving stuff around, up & down stairs.  I live in a split level.  Whatever you happen to be trying to locate is probably on another level.  Day 5 my surgical leg swelled & had soft tissue discomfort in my thigh, lateral thigh, glute.  I did call the PA to check.  Normal, and I felt kind of silly explaining I’d been on my feet a total of probably 5 hours the day before.

Following that I decided to follow more of the hospital routine, getting rest or a nap between activity.  I’m also trying to teach myself the command “Leave It” with some success.   Friends are coming over to help its just that I keep shadowing them because I’m the one who knows where everything is.  Then there’s my dad, a wonderful, generous dad who keeps dropping off care packages.  He’s also a bull in a china shop, tracks in snow and leaves a little destruction in his wake.  So I  get up and clean up after the care packages get dropped off.

I’m pleasantly surprised that I’m sleeping through the night.  Good quality sleep.  Its  clumsy to get up in middle of night foe restroom, but only clumsy.  Not painful like it was before surgery.

Other surprises, all attributed to pain meds:  Not much of an appetite, which kind of bums me out.  I can’t focus on an entire episode of Breaking Bad.  If I’m sitting down I will nod off for 30 secs-minute at a time.  I haven’t taken a full nap, just a hundred of these mini naps.  No … (Click Here to View Full Post and Comments)

Julie – Days 2-3

Can we talk about constipation? I never knew it could cause such misery. Everything was butterflies & rainbows up until 3 hrs before discharge on day 2 post surgery.  I had no appetite, which is unusual for me.  But the narcotics slow everything down.  PT was coming up & I wanted to eat, considering all the meds I was on, I thought it best to eat.  Plus nutrition for healing, etc.  I ordered fruit salad and cottage cheese.  It was a really nice selection of fresh, fresh fruit. Living in flyover country we don’t always see the best fruit during the winter but this was great.  However it was strangely unappetizing when I tried to eat it.  I forced myself to eat as much as possible.   A few bites in,  it was clear something was not right on the old alimentary canal.     A couple of meals were sitting in my stomach like a brick.  But I was going home today.  Nothing was going to spoil my mood.  Plus they’d started giving me stool softeners and I had been eating healthy & drinking lots of water.  Nature had to follow course, right?

By the time PT came for me I was nauseous & bloated.  PT said she would ask the acupuncturist to treat me for nausea & digestive upset.  That sounded promising so I went to PT with a bucket on my lap, just in case I had to hurl.  I could barely concentrate on the exercises, its group therapy and we had new classmates.  I tried to act sociably but I was quite miserable.  Someone got my nurse & she came with an antinausea pill.   Acupuncture went to work and it provided relief nearly immediately.   Needles stayed in for about 25 mins while we rested in the darkened room with a dvd playing scenes of Ireland.  It seemed to me that all of the scenery was filmed from a wildly spinning helicopter so I chose to close my eyes.  I felt restored after acupuncture and went back to my room.  Discharge was imminent!  Yay!  My nurse went over instructions, gave … (Click Here to View Full Post and Comments)

Julie – Day 1

33 hours after surgery.  I’m up for a walk after dinner.   Pain is about a 1 or two.  Some stiffness and swelling but not as bad as I anticipated.  I got up this morning at 5:30, washed, got dressed, breakfast, did some simple things with PT, and walked 320 feet.  Then what seemed like a long rest period, lunch.  Simple PT and acupuncture and then I did stairs, in and out of car drill and walked some more.  Every one says I’m doing great.  I feel great.  My bum feels like there’s a baseball (it was a softball last night) on the right side.  But overall better than the recent sensations I’d felt in that thigh/glute/hip in my natural hip.  Of course they’re handing out pain  meds like halloween candy.  Trick or treat!

I’m very content right now.  Surgery went fine.  I had some pre-surgery jitters but the nurse anesthetist came in and introduced himself and I realize it was the previous owner of my house, I bought it from him & his wife.  So it was all chatty chatty after t hat.  One minute I was sitting on the bed in the OR getting my spinal and the next thing I knew I woke up in recovery.  No nausea, some stiffness and pain was about a 4-5 last night.   I stood up last night and got dizzy and went right back to bed.

I neglected to ask my doctor for a photo of my femoral head and he normally takes one but he forgot yesterday.  🙂  I was bone on bone in a runway type pattern right down the center of the joint.  He said it looked like someone had scraped the cup with a fork.  I’ll be going home tomorrow, possibly in the a.m. when I had been lead to believe it would be after 2nd PT.  Staff here is wonderful.

Thanks everyone for your kind words.  I’ll update more tomorrow.  So far so good.… (Click Here to View Full Post and Comments)

Julie – Countdown

3 days from right now I hope to be in my hospital room, new right hip and feeling no pain.  After all the reading I’ve done I’m really curious to see if I will experience that moment of realization of “hey my hip pain is gone!” that I’ve read about.

I had two good days last week.  Not perfect but very good.  I started thinking “hey maybe it’s just a bone spur that’s causing all this trouble.  Maybe I don’t need the joint replaced.”  HA!  The following day I fell off that cloud and crashed to earth with a thud.  Was in awful pain for about 5 hours that day, had lots of trouble sleeping.

I’m a bit nervous.  Fortunately I’ve been too busy with preparations, and general holiday busy-ness to dwell on it.  Thank you, Rusty for reminding me that Abbott is one of the top ortho hospitals in the U.S.  The two occasions I’ve been to the ortho clinic at the hospital I’ve been impressed with the kindness and thoroughness of the staff and their patience with my innumerable, tedious questions.  Also notable – each provider I’ve seen at the clinic has high praise for my surgeon.  Right now, it’s more productive to focus on the positive at this point and try to stay as zen as possible than to worry about complications that are out of my control.  Mind → affects nervous system → pain → healing process.

Rusty, thanks also for the reading suggestions.  Ironically I had just downloaded “How to Run with a THR” and “Born to Run” to my kindle.  Haven’t had time to read a word yet, figured there’s plenty of time for that.

I’ve been going to yoga, bit of lifting, doing short core video workouts on fitnessblender.com and swimming.  Side plank and its variations are my best friends right now, really helps my stability.   Yesterday in yoga my right leg was about as stable as a swizzle stick in a tall collins glass.  I hoped for more intense workouts leading up to “go” date, but I’ve been busy with preparations, we’ve … (Click Here to View Full Post and Comments)

Julie – About Me

I’m 48.  I live in Minneapolis.  Osteoarthritis in my right hip. It’s classified as mild to moderate.  I’m not going to wait to find out what is beyond “mild to moderate” because my activities are very limited now.  I have a few good hours a day.  Usually yoga, spin or swimming will extend my functionality and delay the stiffness and pain.  I limp most days, use a crutch for part of the day.  Started having trouble with socks and getting in and out of the car, out of bed, etc. about a month ago.  And it’s getting a little more interesting every day. Very glad my surgery is soon.

I found hiprunner because I wanted to predict what an active person could expect during recovery.  A lot of the general info for THR seems, well, general.  Or skewed towards an older population.  If there is one thing about runners, we’re determined animals.  Compared to some of the other contributors here, I’m an underachiever.  I don’t eat nails for breakfast , I’m not into high mileage and I’m not fast.  But I’ve been a running for 30 years.  I do like intense workouts (boxing, martial arts) and running keeps you in good condition.  I also enjoy mellow activities – swimming, yoga, Middle Eastern dance and walking.

I’ve had a share of sports injuries.  Aging = More aches.  You require more stretching, it takes longer to recover, etc.  You ask for $60 compression stockings for Christmas and also start thinking that things like ice baths sound enjoyable.  A few years ago a friend suggested a half marathon and I hadn’t done one in years.  I was ready for a challenge, to focus on something for a while.  My running was slowing but at same time I also was devoting time to two really technique intensive activities – capoeira and Middle Eastern dance.  I didn’t have time to devote to picking up lost speed because of other activities.  Hindsight it must have been the hip starting to act up but without clearly identifying itself.  Bummer is that I finally got into the TC … (Click Here to View Full Post and Comments)