First few weeks after hip replacement

Chunkygardener Member Posts: 16
edited 10. Apr 2022, 10:12 in Living with arthritis

Well I've finally had a total hip replacement 2 years 2 months after going on waiting list.

Had it on Saturday, home on day 2.

Feel like I've been run over, I know what's involved and expected pain but really aching. Taking cocodamol only for pain, constipation was grim after oxycodone in hospital but think I'm on top of that with senna and lactulose.

Walking round house on frame and crutches. I am aware that awful arthritis pain has gone but surgical pain, bruising and thigh pain is grim. Leg length has been corrected, had got shorter before surgery.

When did people start to feel more like themselves again?


  • pmas
    pmas Member Posts: 43

    Your body has been through a lot, not just the last few days sInce the op, but in the two years leading up to it as well. Give it time to get better, it’s very early days and there’ll be lots of swelling and bruising. Pace yourself, don’t try to do too much initially, take your medication as prescribed and let your body recover.

    I’m eight weeks post up now and I found the first two weeks pretty awful mostly because of the medication and the side effects. Those two weeks are now a distant memory.

    I’ve had to take the physio slowly because I’m having the other hip replaced in 3 weeks time. I can’t weight bear on my unoperated leg, so can only do the lying down or sitting exercises. Because of this I’m still using a walking frame until the next op, but I’m sure if your other hip is ok that you’ll progress much more quickly.

    If you’re still bothered by pain when you have your stitches removed, discuss it with the nurse who’ll be able to advise.

    You WILL feel better soon!

  • Thank you. My other hip has mild to moderate arthritis but has taken a pounding since I've started limping. Hopefully I can manage that one better when the replaced one improves.

    I wish you all the best for your second surgery, you are made of tough stuff!

    Fortunately my hip is glued so just a wound check at 10 days

  • Lilymary
    Lilymary Member Posts: 1,739

    Congratulations on your new hip. I told my surgeon on day 2 that my backside felt like football at the end of a cup final! I had a lot of groin pain as well, along with general tenderness on the incision. I managed to stay off the codeine but just had the occasional shot of morphine for the first few nights when my groin kicked off. I managed on paracetamol every now and then for a few weeks, but after that, so long as I didn't do anything silly, the pain was mostly rare and tolerable (the groin pain is still work in progress - I'm an unusual case apparently). My physio didn't start on me in earnest until the soft tissue pain had subsided, which was around week 8. Just gentle leg waggling before then, and slowly building up walking distances.

    You're in the worst bit post surgery now, usually over teh first few weeks. It does get better, but everyone recovers at a different rate. While the surgery is now routine, it's still fairly brutal, so it takes the muscles and tendons etc a while to recover, so just be kind to yourself. It's not a race to get off the crutches, use them as long as you feel YOU need them. I weaned myself off them completely by week 7 I think, but stayed on my stick for a while after as I felt a bit unsteady and had a lot of muscle weakness to repair.

  • Thank you. I have found the crutches easier than the frame today. You are right about the need to repair muscle, I have lost a lot on my hip and thigh as I'd lost most lateral movement on the leg pre op and heavily favoured the other one walking. Will take time to balance up

  • RogerBill
    RogerBill Member Posts: 223

    Generally walking posture with crutches is better/more natural than with a frame. Therefore I think it's good to discard the frame and move on to using crutches as soon as you feel able but without pushing yourself too hard or too fast. I was fortunate as I only needed a frame for the two days I was in hospital. At home I managed well with crutches (even stairs were easier than expected) and progressively I then went down to one crutch, a walking stick and then after six weeks no aids. Progress through these stages is helped enormously by doing all the exercises as well as walking.

    In answer to your question "when did people start to feel more like themselves again" I think it happens in stages. It's six months since my THR and I'm very pleased with my progress, much better than before the op but still gradually improving. Along the way there have been many minor triumphs like the first time I managed to cut my toe nails.

  • Bella59
    Bella59 Member Posts: 33

    Hi I am in hospital at this moment after having second hip operation in six months.Hopefully leaving later on today it can take several weeks to recover.Everyone is different so recovery varies.You must keep up with exercises to strengthen your muscles.I am very pleased with first hip so hopefully this one will be good too.Best Wishes for your future recovery.

  • Lilymary
    Lilymary Member Posts: 1,739

    @Bella59 Good luck with your second op, I hope it goes at least as well as the first xx

  • alexander1
    alexander1 Member Posts: 70

    Well done. When I said to the surgeon it hurts like I imagine being shot would. He agreed and said it’s a similar but more controlled trauma. He explained that if they told everyone just how painful it is( for about 4 weeks) they might try and manage and live in extreme pain for remainder of life. Some people don’t have the second but I have and would recommend just being kind to yourself and not expecting too much.

    For me next joint is left shoulder.

  • Well, to update, I am now on day 8 post hip replacement.

    Things are improving, I have had a few short walks out round the village on crutches. Tiring but I can do it.

    Felt a lot better after getting my digestive system back to normal, just on paracetamol with a cocodeine at bedtime.

    Managing more at home but get very tired easily.

    Still finding sleeping position difficult but I am a natural side sleeper, can wait to go back to that. Get a lot of back of knee pain in bed.

    So overall much better, the dreadful arthritic pain has gone. There is stiffness, weakness, wound and muscle pain but it is very different and improving.

    Good luck to anyone waiting for or recovering from a hip replacement.

  • Coddfish
    Coddfish Member Posts: 85

    Glad to hear your recovery is progressing. Please don’t worry if you are still feeling tired, it will gradually improve. As with anything in life, the more you do, the more you will be able to do. I found it helpful to just keep gently pushing my energy envelope, eventually I felt normal, although progress wasn’t always linear.

  • Lilymary
    Lilymary Member Posts: 1,739

    That all sounds pretty normal @Chunkygardener , this is the worst bit. My thread titled “new hip day” tells of my very similar experience post surgery, although most people do a lot better than me (it’s a long story) so don’t let the issues I had with pain and slow progress worry you. But then everyone’s different, just listen to your body, and allow it time to recover from the trauma it’s just been through,.

  • Just remember post hip replacement pain is temporary. Believe me it does get better. I’m 8 weeks post op left replacement hip and having right hip done in June. I’m still using a crutch mainly because my right leg is very painful but having no pain now in my left leg is nothing short of amazing. I hope you are soon feeling much better

  • Thanks for all the good wishes and positive comments.

    Had my dressing off today, day 12. Wound looks fine, glued so no staples or stitches to remove. Big cut, about 11 inches, but I am a big girl with very big thighs so happy with that.

    Mobility getting better, still got some thigh swelling and bruising so feel stiff and heavy but pleased so far. Desperate to sleep on my side again, I've never slept well on my back.

    Getting into and out of the car is the most amazingly pain free experience, I've been sliding out almost horizontally for the past few years due to hip pain. Very happy to be rid of that!

    Best wishes to all of you recovering from or awaiting surgery.

  • pmas
    pmas Member Posts: 43

    You’ve just made me laugh out loud at the image of you ‘sliding horizontally’ to get in and out of the car! Seriously, I’m pleased that your recovery is going well. Pat x

  • Glenman
    Glenman Member Posts: 2

    I have had both hips replaced, 8 months apart. My attitude to the pain and associated issues after the operations was different in the two cases. After the first operation on my left hip any pain and problems were subsumed in the growing difficulties in my right hip which was worsening rapidly. After the second operation, I took comfort in the knowledge that the pain I was experiencing was now just post-operative, that it would ease and my mobility and flexibility should improve. They did, and the recovery had memorable milestones: moving from the frame to crutches, then from crutches to sticks; sleeping on my side rather than my back; putting only one foot on each tread of the stairs; going out without a stick; putting my shoes on myself. This week I even cut my own toenails for the first time in years. It's not all perfect, having metal hips is by no means as good as having natural hips, though much better than having arthritic hips. I don't (can't?) walk far; getting into the car remains tricky; getting down to the ground is difficult, if not so bad as rising up again. However, the fact that most of the time I spend on my knees is at my allotment demonstrates that an active life is possible after hip replacement surgery. @Chunkygardener suggests you might want to plant some cabbages yourself – fear not, you'll get there!

  • Ellen
    Ellen Moderator Posts: 1,569

    Apologies for the hijack@Chunkygardener I just want to welcome @Glenman to the Online Community.

    @Glenman Thank you for such a lovely supportive first post. You sound as though you are doing really well recovering from your two hip surgeries.

    Your story should encourage many of our members who are about to go through their own hip replacement journey.

    I don't know whether this might interest you, but please ignore it of it isn't relevant to you:

    I hope you'll decide to continue to visit the forum.

    Best wishes


  • pmas
    pmas Member Posts: 43

    Morning @Chunkygardener - hope you don’t mind me putting a quick reply to @Glenman on your thread.. Thank you for your encouraging post about having both hips replaced within 8 months and your recovery. I had one hip replaced 10 weeks ago and will have the second replaced next Friday. I’m looking forward to all the things you mention, especially being able to cut my toenails and maybe one day walk without a frame!

    Have a good Easter and enjoy your gardens and allotments. Pat x

  • Lockland
    Lockland Member Posts: 5

    Hearing that I might be able to cut my own toenails again almost makes me think a hip replacement might be worth it.

  • Lockland
    Lockland Member Posts: 5

    Hearing that I might be able to cut my own toenails again almost makes me think a hip replacement might be worth it.

  • stickywicket
    stickywicket Member Posts: 27,686

    @Lockland , if you are in line for a THR just check the threads of @Codfish, @Lilymary and @RogerBill , all of whom have documented their recent THRS on here.@Rog

    If at first you don't succeed, then skydiving definitely isn't for you.
    Steven Wright
  • MaureenB
    MaureenB Member Posts: 29

    Just getting to the end of week 3 of my second hip replacement. I can't compare the two experiences except to say the pain in the first two weeks can be bad, nothing to do but keep taking the drugs. The first one was after 3 years of severe arthritis and pain on walking. I had a lot of muscle trauma, especially in the groin, and swelling, I couldn't do the exercise where you lie on the bed and move your leg out for 4 weeks. The second one has been so much better, less muscle trauma and I am walking so much easier and for longer. I have only been in pain on walking for 6 months, but I decided to get the second hip done now as its a structural problem causing the arthritis. I had the first one 5 years ago and I cannot say I noticed any difference between my hips and flexibility after a year, but I had been doing eg pilates and yoga (with a yoga block in some instances) beforehand. Hopefully this one will go the same way