Everyone Recovers at a Different Rate
Surgery experiences and recovery rates will be different for
each person having a hip resurfacing. Many of us were very
fortunate to have good experiences in the hospital and have
fairly quick recoveries. I guess we are the Rabbits.
There are people that have experienced very difficult
recoveries and their return to a normal life has been very
slow. I guess they are the Turtles.
Some are lucky and have an average recovery which puts
them right in the middle of the Rabbits and Turtles - don't
really know what to call them but Average Joes.
There is really no way to predict what your surgery experience
will be and what your rate of recovery will be. I do think
that people who are younger and in very good physical shape
often tend to recover faster, but that is not always the case.
There was a person that ran a
Full Marathon three months after their hip resurfacing and
other people that have taken a year to completely recover to a
normal life. It is important to understand that you may
experience any one of these rates of recovery.
I personally think that your mental outlook and expectations
also affect your recovery. I just knew in my heart,
after reading all about the other De Smet Hippies, that I
would have an easy surgery and a quick recovery even though
I was 61 years old and not in good physical shape. I
did indeed have a quick recovery being on one crutch in four
days and no crutch at four months. People don't often
believe our stories when we tell them, but there are many of
us with that type of easy recovery. For some reason I was
not fearful of the surgery, maybe because I had never had
any surgery in my life before the hip resurfacing. So mental
outlook really does have an effect on your recovery.
I also know that having a very bad hip problem before
surgery can affect your recovery process. Some people
have had a short leg all of their lives and others had
problems with the way their hips were not quite in the same
position as other people's. If your surgeon adds an
inch to your leg, then your muscles have a long and tough
job ahead of them to adjust to the new length. If a
person has limped or walked in an odd way much of their
lives, all of the muscles have to learn how to stretch and
work when the limp is gone. I think that many of the longer
recoveries are due to muscle problems and a person's body
trying to get use to a more normal gait and walking action.
The new hip itself is ready to be pain free and working
properly, but the muscles around the hip and leg have a lot
of rehab ahead of them to adjust to a normal walking style.
Some people have required extensive Physical Therapy to get
their muscles back to working normally without pain.
Some people have not even taken any formal Physical Therapy
and just started to lead as normal of a life as their new
hip would allow. It seems that people taking PT and
people not taking PT all end up in about the same place
after one year. Again, if you have a physical problem before
surgery, then I would think PT would be important to teach
your body and muscles how to work. But if you did not have a
large physical problem before surgery and only had a painful
hip, you might not even need a lot of Physical Therapy.
Each doctor has their own protocol for PT. Most people have
very stiff muscles after surgery and find the stretches and
even water therapy do help. Other people are able to
just walk and eventually end up feeling normal after some
time. The muscles have gone thru a lot during surgery
and take time to heal and get back into shape. Some
people just have more problems getting those muscles back to
operating normally. There does not seem to be any way
to predict a person's recovery.
Many people recover at different rates because their bodies
react differently to major surgery. Hip Resurfacing is
definitely major surgery and your return to a normal
physically active life will take some time. The
anesthesia and trauma to your body causes exhaustion. Some
people also have reactions such as itching, nausea,
headaches and a very small number even have blood clot
problems. Problems sleeping thru the night are most common.
Many people also take naps during the day. Our soft
recliner, lounge chairs often become our best friends after
surgery. Patience is your best friend.
Family and friends often don't understand why our recoveries
are so slow and difficult. Sometimes it is hard for other
people to understand. If you have questions be sure to
ask your doctor. A short phone call can help you solve a
problem and put your mind at ease. If you need support
from other Surface Hippies, join the
Hip Talk Discussion Group. There are almost
1000 hippies willing to listen to your problems and offer
So the best suggestion I can offer is to read the hip
resurfacing stories to understand the Rabbits, the Turtles
and the Average Joes. We all hope to be Rabbits, but
unfortunately, there are many more Average Joes and even
some Turtles. What really counts is that you have a
new hip or hips and are going to be out of pain as your body
heals. Your immediate internal hip pain will be gone
when you wake from surgery, but your muscles still have a
long recovery process ahead of them.