Hi! I'm FRANTIC over getting a hip replacement operation

I have been in denial over scheduling a much needed hip replacement operation for bone on bone arthritis in my right hip. I was in a pretty bad car accident when I was 18 resulting in my left heel bone being removed due to a staph infection. This left my left leg about 2" shorter than the right, although it is probably more than that now. I have developed scoliosis due to this. The result on my 74 year old knees and hip isn't pretty. My hip started hurting around March 2021 and steadily got worse until now I can barely walk.

I got steroid shots in my left and right hip. They did nothing. I went to physical therapy, did nothing. It is now clicking every time I move. The doctor said I needed to be referred to the surgeon for replacement. I have struggled with this concept every since.

I live alone and my balance was no good even before my hip started hurting, so I would have no one to take care of me. I have a geriatric, "special needs" dog that I don't know what I would do with while I was in the hospital, possibly rehab and when I come home.

I made the mistake of watching a youtube video of a posterior hip surgery which is what I would be having and I never should have done that. My God! No wonder you are in pain after surgery. It was horrific.

I also have an antique iron bed that is too high for me to get into without pushing up with the leg that needs surgery. I can't really back up onto a stop stool like I have seen them have patients do in rehab videos.

All of the above have me worried to death about getting the operation. I'm afraid I am going to end up worse off than I am now.

Suggestions? Thanks.


  • chrisb
    chrisb Moderator Posts: 451

    Hi @msjenjenp and welcome to the versus arthritis forum. 

    As the result of a car accident when you were 18, your left leg is a couple of inches shorter than your right. This in turn led to scoliosis. Just over a year ago your right hip started hurting and  your doctor has recommended that you have a hip replacement which is something that you are understandably finding daunting. In addition you have concerns about who could look after you and your dog during and post operation. 

    I don’t have any personal experience with hip replacements but from what I hear from friends who have undergone this surgery it is a very routine operation these days and recovery times are not as long as you’d think. I’m sure that there will be other forum members who will be able to shed some light on at home post op resources that are available from the NHS and other support organisations. In addition, your doctor should be able to fill you in with details of available supporting services. 

    This link to our website will I hope provide some useful information:


    Also, here’s a link to a recent forum discussion where others were concerned about their upcoming hip replacements which I think you’ll find very reassuring which you might like to join in on:


    I hope you receive some useful feedback from the forum which helps reassure you about the operation itself and the support available. 

    Please do take a look around the forum and join in on as many discussions as you feel appropriate and/or start your own discussion if you wish.

     Best Wishes

    ChrisB (Moderator)

  • RogerBill
    RogerBill Member Posts: 123

    @msjenjenp After my THR last September I had little pain and only needed paracetamol and ibuprofen pain killers for a couple of weeks. Like you, before the op I had bone on bone arthritis and had difficulty in walking or standing. I'm 69 and now able to enjoy 5 mile walks so have no regrets in deciding to have the operation.

    As @chrisb said, hip replacement operations are routine. I think I'm correct in saying the procedures have been developed and refined over the past 70 years and there are currently around 90,000 THR operations done each year in the UK. I found it reassuring to think that I was just one of many and that to the medical staff my operation was all just in a days work for them!

    It's probably better to have a bed that is too high, than one that's too low and which would mean you'd have to bend more than 90 degrees and would be difficult to get up from. Would it be possible to make a step using planks of wood that you could use with crutches? Before my operation I practiced going up and down stairs with crutches and found it relatively easy provided I concentrated and took it slowly.

    At least for the first couple of weeks I think you'll need some help at home. But if you prepare things in advance you will probably only need a short time each day. Check out my "Hip Replacement Tips" topic for things I and others found useful.

  • Lindaa
    Lindaa Member Posts: 5

    I terrified myself watching the op online before I had hip replacement in 2012 There is lots of support available and I found occupational therapists were brilliant about sorting out what I needed at home during recovery. Ops are scary but obstacles can be overcome push for what you need. The most wonderful thing for me was freedom from pain. I did do all the physio I was told to do which is a vital part of recovery. My other hip and both knees are very bad now and I would be there immediately if I could have them done.

  • stickywicket
    stickywicket Member Posts: 26,749

    Anyone can self-refer to their local council's Adult Social Care department to ask for a visit from an Occupational Therapist who will check out your home to see what is 'doable' and where you might need help. There will probably be a long wait but probably not as long as for a THR. They are very helpful.

    Yes, orthopaedic surgery looks brutal but it is routine and very safe. The leg length discrepancy might even be fixed.

    With good preparation, surgery can make a huge difference. Exercises, before and after, are essential. You'll probably find online grocery deliveries necessary for a while. Prepare and freeze meals in advance. Pla e all essentials at a level you an reach without bending beyond 90 degrees. Enlist the help of a dogwalker.

    It will all be worthwhile. So many of us on here have benefitted hugely from our THRS.

  • Hi, I am now 4 weeks out from having a hip replacement. It is a big operation but I was very mobile from when I went home after 2 nights and could wash and get things for myself. I could fully weight bear on my operated leg and used crutches and a frame to get around. At 4 weeks I am using crutches outdoors only now and can manage light housework, cooking and gardening.

    There is some pain after the surgery but very manageable with painkillers and it quickly gets better, unlike the horrible pain of arthritis. I have been away for a short break this week and have walked miles.

    You can prepare by stocking up on easy food, the hospital will arrange for any helpful aids to be delivered for you. See if there are any local organisations to help with dog sitting and walking for the first week or so after surgery.

    If you can barely walk now you really need a new hip, you will become immobile and in pain all the time otherwise.

    However brutal the surgery looks it is life changing (and you will be asleep through it anyway)

    Go for it, but be prepared for a long wait.

  • Jobyna
    Jobyna Member Posts: 10

    Hello @msjenjenp can understand your feelings. I am expecting total hip operation shortly but have had a few complications leading up to it including removal of a bladder cancer which was found during pre op assessments. Went through this years ago with check ups every year for 10 years until I got an all clear. So this has put the hip op back yet again but I am being prioritised so it should be soon. I have every confidence in an excellent NHS team in our Health Board so the actual operation doesn't give me too many concerns. Like you, it's coping afterwards that has taken a bit of planning, as I am 79 and not as active as I used to be, but it's been quite interesting working out a few alternatives!

    I also live on my own with relatives at least 200 miles away and I have a Border Terrier coming up for 17 years old with canine dementia who is my main priority (not many people understand this do they?) Fortunately I have a neighbour who is prepared to come in and sleep here with the dog as I know he wouldn't cope in kennels.

    You will get a lot of help and advice from Versus Arthritis and I also joined a local support group which has been excellent. Try your vet to see if they have any suggestions for dog sitters or walkers, Age Concern may also help with a lot of your worries and do get in touch with your local occupational therapist, they have been very helpful with supplying aids already.

  • stickywicket
    stickywicket Member Posts: 26,749

    @msjenjenp and @Jobyna , I'very been trying, in vain, to find a previous thread where I knew there was lots about having a THR while living alone. However, a quick Google did reveal this https://medlineplus.gov/ency/patientinstructions/000167.htm

    Bear in mind it's American and many things they have to buy or sort out themselves are all sorted for us here. Also, don't be put off by the length. It is VERY comprehensive. I was a bit concerned that the Mods mightn't like the term 'fanny pack' until I remembered that our equivalent of 'bum bag' is hardly less delicate.

    Finally, @Jobyna , I just can't resist. You write that you have a neighbour who will 'sleep here with the dog'. Is the dog's basket big enough😊

  • Jobyna
    Jobyna Member Posts: 10

    Knowing my dog I'm sure he will be more than happy to be sleeping in the bed that I will make up for the neighbour, knowing that Mum won't know😏 On second thoughts, yes I will 'cos he moults like mad (the dog, not the neighbour)

  • Lilymary
    Lilymary Member Posts: 1,529

    Hi @msjenjenp Sorry I'm late to the party, but you'll be surprised at how well and how quickly you'll cope on your own post surgery. Watching the op on Youtube wasn't wise, some things you can't "un-see" and I deliberately avoided it. But what looks horrific to us is very routine for the surgeon, and on the day it's their reactions that matter, now ours. Our bodies are amazing at withstanding some pretty brutal stuff, and heal remarkably quickly. So try to put those images to one side and just concentrate on the fact that the pain you're in now will soon be a thing of the past. They'll give you pain relief to go home with (my bag of drugs I took home from hospital looked like I'd won the jackpot at a rave), but apart from the odd shot of oramorph at night and a few paracetamol over the first week or so post op, I really didn't need much, despite some very atypical post op complications.

    Try not to focus on the op, just focus on how much better you'll feel a few weeks later.

  • duffer
    duffer Member Posts: 45

    Hello - I sympathise with all of this. I put off having my hip done in 2012 because of my daughter's wedding and my neurotic adorable dog. I was all ready for another go in 2019 and the consultant (who was a stand-in and very unpleasant) frightened the h--- out of me and i was refused surgery because of high blood pressure. It's now 3 years and my local surgery said unless I can produce 5 days consecutive normal bp readings I can't be put on the list. I now suffer from panic attacks and vertigo - to say nothing of the pain with one leg now considerably shorter than the other. I have managed to produce good bp readings - until I have a panic attack - I live alone and am 78. My care costs have rocketed -mostly to sit and chat for a few hours a week and help me wash my hair - balance has completely gone. I also fear the 'after care' - the cost and also who can provide it. Each day I get more miserable seeing my house and garden deteriorate - and panic.

    Is this any way for someone who worked until she was 69 to be treated? I'm told you mustn't take ibuprofen and latterly paracetamol so requested capaicin cream as recommended by you - ignored request by surgery totally. I had a cortisone injection in my knee which was fine but the pain in my groin overrides any advantages of the cortisone injection. The gp said he'd follow up how I was 5 weeks ago but hasn't. I am so down in the dumps about all this and would like a ray of hope from someone. I do not suffer from depression fortunately but sometimes have to sit and think how to spend my day - most of my family and friends live in glorious Devon but I had to move - I can no longer drive, am housebound and have only been out of the house 7 times in more than 2 years. Right..........finished moaning now - the sun is shining and I must be grateful to be in this country at the moment! Love to you fellow sufferers and listeners. Duffer.

  • stickywicket
    stickywicket Member Posts: 26,749

    @duffer I have a great deal of empathy with you. I am almost your age and have an ancient THR which can no longer be operated on as can't the even more ancient (positively antediluvian😉) TKR below it. Between them they have shortened that leg by - crikey, I wouldn't want to measure it. All I know is I'm definitely 'dot and carry one' as my Mum would have said. And, since a TIA, my balance is also unreliable in the extreme even round the house on laminate. However, I am fortunate to still have MrSW around and family not far away.

    You've done really well to get your BP under control. (Yup, I have high BP too.) but I can understand an anaesthetist being wary of someone with fluctuating BP.

    It's an unfortunate fact that many of us, if not most, have to do our own 'medmin' (medical administration) so, if you've still not heard back from your GP, I suggest a polite but firm reminder.

    Another thing you might do is to enlist the help of an Occupational Therapist to advise on how you might cope post-op, if you have the op. You can self-refer by ringing your local council offices and asking for Adult Social Care. Mine were brilliant when we moved here. Just by doing little things like that we become more self-confident - and, sometimes, quite proud of what we've achieved.

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