Walking comfortably after hip replacement

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buzzyhornet
buzzyhornet Member Posts: 20
edited 28. Nov 2023, 14:07 in Living with arthritis

I have a severe degenerative osteoarthritis left hip. Prior to diagnosis I used to regularly walk 6 miles sometimes more, but now I am down to generally 2 miles before a break and then 2 miles return. My problem is that I do not walk comfortably (I believe the cause is my altered gait and loss of weight bearing cartilage) and the impact this is having on my quality of life. I was just wondering if anyone with similar symptoms found they enjoyed walking comfortably again after surgery or otherwise if sadly that was the case. Thank you to all who respond.

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  • Lilymary
    Lilymary Member Posts: 1,740
    edited 5. Jan 2022, 12:36
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    Hi @buzzyhornet , you're doing well to walk four miles on an arthritic hip, and the good muscle tone will aid your recovery post op. All surgeries carry risk of complications, and I've had a few which I've mentioned on your other thread, but I did an 8 mile walk (on dunes and beaches) a few months ago, and regularly do around 4-6 miles now, including some gradual inclines, with no need for any pain relief. It is IMMEASURABLY better than pre-op - a few months before surgery it took me nearly an hour to do just over a mile round the village using a stick, fuelled up with opiate pain killers and anti-inflammatories, and every step was total agony. I was completely exhausted at the end. That's the day I caved in and decided to go private as I couldn't face another 18 months of this misery. Now my stick is gathering dust, I take no pain relief, my boots are delightfully muddy again, and I don't regret a thing, even though I'm not going to win any prizes for rapid recovery. I have friends who are skiing and rock climbing within a year of their new hips. Go for it!

  • Fif
    Fif Member Posts: 113
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    I had a total hip replacement after a fracture falling off my bike. That was just over 2 years ago and my hip has been just fine. No pain and strong enough to walk at least 8 miles on a regular basis over mixed terrain less than 6 months after the op. Unfortunately I have since developed rheumatoid arthritis and my knees have reacted badly to this and existing osteoarthritis. This means my ability to exercise is limited at present, but I would strongly recommend the hip replacement. Any difficulties with gait and muscle weakness can be addressed after the op. If you're determined to do the work. Good luck!

  • buzzyhornet
    buzzyhornet Member Posts: 20
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    Hi@Lilymary , thank you for responding to my plea for help. I appreciate the time that it takes to draft a thoughtful reply and I am grateful.

    I am struggling!

    I struggle with the thought of losing a body part, surgery, and fear of the unknown.

    I struggle against a backdrop of pain and lack of function that can vary quite significantly and within which I can enjoy some quality of life, but necessarily as I would wish.

    I don't find it easy to describe my pain. While resting it can, usually does,lie dormant, but it is there ready to nag away, grumble and cause me discomfort when I walk, sit in the cinema and drive.

    When I lift my leg the nag and grumble do turn to what I would describe as pain and my range of movement for instance in trying to climb over a stile is severely compromised. Pain and difficulty in putting on socks and shoes can vary, but varies from moderate to severe.

    The unknowns which rarely seem to be mentioned is the effect on my level of energy and activity, and anxiety and depression.

    I have learned to pace and prioritise, but I do not socialise as I might wish.

    I suffer with generalised anxiety disorder and my arthritis and my future are major contributory factors.

    As such my arthritis is a pain in more than the literal sense!

    Thank you for reading my ramblings. It does help to put them in writing.

    I am glad you are beginning to enjoy a vastly improved quality of life. I appreciate you have faced your own difficulties and challenges and I am glad you are now reaping the benefit of facing and coping with them.

  • buzzyhornet
    buzzyhornet Member Posts: 20
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    Thank you @Fif for posting and your words of encouragement. I am sorry to hear that you have developed rheumatoid arthritis and your ability to exercise is now limited. I am also sorry that I know so little about rheumatoid arthritis that I don't know what to say, other than I hope you are being supported by family, friends and medics and to wish you all the best going forward.

  • Lilymary
    Lilymary Member Posts: 1,740
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    @buzzyhornet I can completely empathise with what you describe. To be honest the pain and its effect on my life far outweighed my "fear of the unknown" with surgery, and I took the view that ANYTHING would be better than what I was going through. And I was right. My sister has two new knees and her husband one, and it gave back much of their former life. (My sister is an aerobics instructor and gardener.) Your concerns aren't unusual, but I've never heard anyone say they regretted joint replacement. Talk through your worries with your surgeon, I'm sure they will understand.

  • kpdalston
    kpdalston Member Posts: 6
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    Hi @buzzyhornet

    Really good to hear your thoughts and also read the responses. The part about the anxiety and stress really resonated. So here is a bit of cathartic telling of my experience.

    I had a hip replacement operation just over four weeks ago, so am in that aggrevating space where I have got through the immediate challenge of the operation but not yet been able to realise the gains. My mum had a hip replacement when she was 20 years older than I am now and is back line dancing so I am optimistic.

    I found with my osteoarthritis that for few years it was manageable and with painkillers and a hot water bottle to hand I could do lots of stuff - a ski trip, long distance walks and going out dancing. Then about 2 years ago it got significantly worse and the span of my life just got smaller and smaller. It was masked quite a lot by lockdown and working at home. I felt all sorts of anxiety and depression - guilt (maybe all that dancing ruined my hip..), being told I was too young to have surgery, feeling much better when I could swim again and the freedom of getting an electric bike to get around the countryside. I have had a lot of stops and starts - MRI for my hip found an ovary cyst which needed surgery, getting a date for the hip op but then it was cancelled because I had a non-covid cough, new date set (then cancelled) then finally felt very lucky to have the op before the latest covid wave.

    This has all made me anxious and more grumpy than I am usually, and I know this affects how I relate to people at work and, wish it did not.

    I have got good at carving out things I enjoy and are just about managable. So there is an awful lot of emotion involved in this. But I am glad to have a chance to not be stuck in a ever decreasing circle

  • Coddfish
    Coddfish Member Posts: 85
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    Hi @buzzyhornet I had my right hip replaced 4 months ago. I can now walk as much as I like on relatively flat terrain, certainly 4-6 miles isn’t a problem. Hills are still a bit more challenging (particularly downhill) but it’s mostly in my head and I am improving. I don’t have any stiffness, or pain, or issues with gait. I am making a careful return to running too.