Hip Replacement: The 6-Week Post-Op Milestone

I had my 6-week check-up with the surgeon two days ago and am happy to report that he’s pleased with my progress! I’m now officially off the 50% weight-bearing restriction and am allowed to drive … both of which I, uh, sort of ‘awarded’ myself a few days earlier than he did.

So, where am I at?

I’m walking with just a cane now and am doing much practice walking without it too. Without the cane, however, I have a definite limp – a sort of a sideways bob & waggle – that I’m working hard to lose. According to the physiotherapist, it’s a very hard thing to lose if it becomes too entrenched, which is why it’s better to stick with the cane a bit longer and be vigilant with the strengthening exercises. OK!

There’s just one problem with the cane though: it makes me feel old. Crutches are a clear indication that you are recovering from something. Not so with a cane. I was at the local mall yesterday to do some Mother’s Day shopping. It’s a destination for the elderly, in that a high number of senior’s residences and organizations bus their seniors there. As I worked my way around the mall, where I and they all had walking aids, I began to feel like one of them – it was a relief to finally escape!!

Actually, there is one other cane issue: a huge callus mid-palm on my cane hand.

I’ve been able to wave goodbye to all the other recovery aids too, most notably the raised toilet seat. For the unfamiliar, this is a seat that sits (firmly clamped) on top of the regular seat so that it’s not such a long way down (and up again). Side handles make things even easier. Nothing makes it in any way comfortable. The rest of the family was every bit as happy as me to see it go.

The other aids – the reacher/grabber and the sock aid – are things I really didn’t use at all. I either got up or got closer when I needed to reach something and, for items down low or on the floor, I used the golf reach (standing on the good leg and extending the other behind me while bending forward), which has given me a much stronger right leg! To get dressed, I went, within days of being home from the hospital, to just using my toes to get pants to within arms’ reach. As for the sock aid, well, I’ve just not worn any, opting for slip-on canvas shoes or my ratty old wool-felt Haflinger clogs, neither of which require socks. And neither of these required the long-handled shoe horn either.

A week ago, you could likely have knocked me over with a feather when I was standing unaided but I’m far more stable now and I can finally start on the exercise for lateral strength and stability that will really move me along.

I was started using the recumbent exercise bike at my last physio session and was really happy to note that the painful mid-rotation catch that had kept me off a bike for years is now gone. So, I can now go ahead and order the recumbent tadpole trike I’ve been eying! And if you’re wondering why a trike, I’m not talking about the old, upright ‘grocery cart’ trikes driven by Florida retirees – tadpole trikes are fast, fun machines!

Did I mention fun?? I test-drove a few last year – loved them, even with my bad hip. Plus, no feet off the pedals for stops and, at longer stops, a built-in place to sit. I think the trike will be a big benefit to my rehab and I hope to be able to ride it to and from work this summer.

So to sum things up, I’m half way through recovery, about two weeks away from returning to work (the 50% weight-bearing restriction pushed my return date back a bit) and generally feeling fine … in fact, still more so each day!

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4 responses to “Hip Replacement: The 6-Week Post-Op Milestone

  1. I, too, am recovering from THR-left hip, am week 7, currently. YOur blog came up when I typed in reaching milestones post surgery, Your experience sounds very similar to mine, though I”m not sure your age. I am a 52 year old single mother of 2 teenagers and 2 cats!! I used a cane prior to surgery because the leg length difference was almost 2-1/2″. I found the cane helped keep my spine from going wonky. My biggest challenge now, while I”m using the cane( having ditched the walker) is to remember to LIFT my leg instead of drag it. HOw are you doing now, must be well over a year’s recovery?? Thanks for the information, We are very fortunate here in Canada. My surgeon was phenominal.

    • Glad to hear you’re recovering well – two and a half years later, I still marvel at how well mine went! I’m so much more active now, though perhaps still not as much as I should be (still have deeply ingrained couch potato tendencies).
      I’ll try to post a detailed update soon. Hope you’re continuing to make good progress!

  2. hi,im a 42yr old male in england,im at wk 5 and still walking like a drunk, i can drive and cycle but am starting to worry abt this limp,not seen a physio yet as hospitals over here are over run,been stretching and walking abt 3miles every 2 days on 1 crutch,was expecting to be bit further ahead with recovery as was prob doing 6-12hrs exercise pre op,did u manage to lose ur limp?

  3. Monday will be 4 weeks for my hip replacement (51 year old female) I am on a cane and doing well, but so afraid I will have this limp forever. I developed it during the 3 months of agony before I gave in a saw the doctor. I ditched pt after 4 visits – can’t afford it or have the time. I went back to work 2 weeks after my surgery (again can’t afford not to). Walking 1/2 mile a day, plus normal stuff like cooking, cleaning etc… Im rethinking ditching pt and think maybe I should go at least once a week to get help with avoiding a limp. Love reading post from others. thanks

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