Just had hip replacement- any advice please

I took a bad fall two Sundays ago on a roundabout at a fairly moderate speed. Front wheel went from under me very very quickly resulting in a fall directly on to my right hip. No other damage to me or indeed my kit. Friends and I are assuming a small patch of diesel in combination with lower temperatures (6 degrees C) and a slightly damp surface. Tyres are in v good condition and pressures correct as checked before I left. I have ridden for many years and still have some flashbacks to the speed which the front tyre went with.
Unfortunately the break was too bad to mend and the surgeon had no choice but to put in a complete hip replacement. My hip was in very good condition prior to the accident unfortunately.Tomorrow ( Monday 28th November)marks two weeks since the operation. I am 52 years old with good fitness having posted further PBs this year both here in Hampshire and in the Alps.
I would be very grateful for any concrete advice for rehabilitation please both short and long term.
To date I have concentrated on doing the three main ' stretching' exercises prescribed by physios at the hospital. I have walked in the house with two sticks and am now using one stick often. I have managed two v short walks outside this weekend. I have slept in the daytime about 3 times a day for short periods.
As I move into Weeks 3 & 4 my target would be further walks using crutches of around 0.25 of a mile and continue the 3 stretches.
Weeks 5 & 6 seem to be much the same with a tiny bit of extra distance.
What are people's experience of these early weeks and how do they compare with my own experience and expectations please?
I have a further physio appointment back at the hospital on Dec 19 which should be good timing I feel- is it worth me booking physio privately before this period.
Week 6 seems to be an important one in terms of rehabilitation. What do people recommend from this period onwards.
Longer term I would love to know when people were able to get on a static bike and then outdoors again. It's hard to project forward from my current position.
I am keen to do the right thing- am conscious of not overdoing it but also aware that I do need to get mobile.
Many thanks in advance for any practical advice.


  • sungod
    sungod Posts: 16,501
    there's an extensive broken hip thread, there may be some 'replacement' postings in it...


    fwiw i had a bad hip fracture feb 2015, fixed with screws, no physio was offered and i had to stay on one leg/two crutches for over three months, as soon as i was allowed to start put weight on it i started physio (via health insurance), i chose one here https://www.iseh.co.uk/ as i wanted one who 'got' cycling/sport

    if you got an appointment coming, talk to the physio about your objectives and ask them straight what they think the best approach will be
    my bike - faster than god's and twice as shiny
  • Thank you for the link to the thread which is very helpful in reading about the experiences of others and their recoveries.
    This is the really helpful type of practical advice I'm after - much appreciated!
  • plowmar
    plowmar Posts: 1,032
    Just had a 'sungod' injury and repair after coming off on black ice fortnight ago. Doctors said the repair was fully weight bearingbut would be painful, progress reliant on use I could put it too.

    At moment have zimmer upstairs and down with a crutch to get between them. Dr's signed me off atleast until early January.

    Confidence taken areal knock and at 66 this is going to take the most to mend. Only cut muscles creating problems.

    What really stuck in my throat was a guy on same ward after a replacement was on his feet and remaking his bed 20 minutes after coming from theatre.

    Best wishes to every one and hope we heal quicker than expected, but make use and have a great christmas.
  • Good luck with it Plowmar. Will just take some time. Two and a half weeks now since Op and am definitely feeling better although still get tired. Have now done some short walks outside but just being cautious not to dislocate.
    Not sure when I'll be able to get on a static bike for some gentle pedalling- does anyone know? Like you will need to build confidence again when get back outside eventually.
    Take care and best wishes!
  • plowmar
    plowmar Posts: 1,032
    Only medical advice I was given was that could do anything but it would be pain restricted.
    As I'm a bit of a wimp - although I do keep gettinh back on as soon as - it may take a little time.
    As the surgeons used my existing femur neck I don't have any movement restrictions but with a replacement I believe you have initially, at least, to be careful.
  • Former Scotland Rugby International John Beattie had a hip replacement in April last year - he wrote quite a bit on his twitter and I think some pieces for the BBC website on his recuperation. Might be worth a peruse... his surgeon wanted him back on his bike ASAP because the loading to the knee & hip is so much less than walking or running (swimming is even better in this respect but might be less advisable due to wounds/dressings)
  • Thank you for the link to John Beattie. Some useful info re hip and some other interesting tweets too! BW
  • matt_n-2
    matt_n-2 Posts: 581
    Best of luck with the recovery, I had canulated screw fixing following coming off in January 2015, recovered to around 95% at present.

    I actually think full or partial hip replacement would've seen a quicker recovery but the Dr elected for the above treatment based on my age (34 now) and the fracture, opting to try and save the bone.

    2 year x-ray in January 2017.
    Colnago Master Olympic
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  • Good luck with the 2nd X ray in Jan 2017. Hope all is well with it. I think your issue with having a hip replacement would have been that it would need replacing more than once in your lifetime, especially being an active person. As such, the surgeon has warned me that I'll need a further replacement in about 15 - 20 years. I'll worry about that then!
  • sungod
    sungod Posts: 16,501
    ^^^this is what mine told me

    repair takes a lot longer to recover from than replacement, but if all goes well it will be good long term and avoid the need to replace the replacement once or maybe more times in future
    my bike - faster than god's and twice as shiny
  • Quick update for anyone following this thread or who will be using it in the future following a hip replacement. Hope this will be a useful piece of reference and aid in your recovery.
    I'm now at Week 5 following the accident and operation. Physio appointment yesterday which was useful in allowing me to check out what I was doing. Each week has seen some slow but steady progress. The physio emphasised that it is still early days and advice was to concentrate on the basic stretching exercises again emphasing not to go over the 90 degree point for the avoidance of dislocation which remains a real issue for some time. Emphasis was given to not crossing legs over, lying on my back when sleeping and not stretching down from sitting on the 'bad' side.
    I'm now using just one crutch and can take some steps without the crutch using work surfaces etc. I'm able to climb some stairs using both legs as long as they are not too big. Descending is a similar exercise.The steps in my house remain just a little too big. I checked out my walking distances and was told that I can keep going. I've done walks up to a mile and a half. I did 8,900 steps on the Fitbit yesterday which is much my longest distance but have been careful not to try and 'beat' my step amount each day.
    I'm returning on the 10th of Jan where the physio has said we will consider more advanced exercises. I see the surgeon on the 6th of Jan close to Week 8 mark. I'm hoping that I can get the scar checked and the green light to get in the pool and do my exercises in the water which is meant to be excellent but also very tiring due to the increased resistance.
    Cycling? Again Week 8 for full revolutions- at the moment I can do some 'pendulum swings' but must not go full.
    If I have a busy day I can feel tired the next day and I continue to have a nap in the bed usually once a day. Sleep at night is better but not yet perfect. My wife tells me I snore v loudly as I'm sleeping on my back so she usually decamps to another room once it starts- I've never snored before!
    Mentally it's been tough on the days when my wife has been at work- it's a long day. I have done some work but an hour on the computer is ample.
    I think the Physio realised I'm keen to recover but didn't want me to overdo it until Week 8.
    I hope this is useful to all of you out there. Time is the healer. BW
  • sungod
    sungod Posts: 16,501
    yes the mental side is tough, especially as the recovery period stretches out

    fwiw i got into a routine, up early, mid morning go for a hop around the park, cafe for coffee and a cake, read the paper, just for change of scenery, spent some time on the computer but sitting too long wasn't good, read a lot, mostly non-fiction, saved dvd for the evening after dinner

    i'm sure breaking up the day doing different things made the time pass a bit easier
    my bike - faster than god's and twice as shiny
  • HI, I have had the "Birmingham hip" performed on both my hips, first one May 2012 second Feb 2013.
    My routine was physio exercises before breakfast, go for a long walk, physio exercises after lunch, go for a short walk prior to dinner, Then physio again in the evening. The length of both walks became longer the further post op I got. I introduced some turbo work after about six weeks starting off very low effort just five mins with lowest resistance and easiest gear, this was ratcheted up over time as well.
    I made a full recovery and walk perfectly and have since done a raid Pyrenees, cycled a lot of stuff in the dolomites Monte Zoncolan being one of my proudest moments, and ridden in the Italian/French alps. I am now 55 so if you stick at it and do your physio there should be no reason why can't get back to your former self.
    Good luck, Frank.
    Tail end Charlie

    The above post may contain traces of sarcasm or/and bullsh*t.
  • tompo1
    tompo1 Posts: 12
    I broke my hip in January 2014, aged 62, which was repaired with a dynamic hip screw.

    At the time I was told that cycling is best thing to aid rehabilitation. I was in hospital for a week and discharged with a Zimmer frame to aid walking. This was replaced by crutches by a physio after a week or so.

    I started on the turbo within a few days of getting home. Had to have help getting on and off for a few days and only spun low gears but it felt that I was doing something positive.

    I used the turbo every day, along with the exercises given by the physios. After a week I was able to do some intervals and gradually increased the time on the turbo.

    6 weeks after breaking my hip I was back at the hospital for an X Ray and check to see how things were doing. I was given the all clear and told that I could think about riding on the road again. I was out on the bike next day.

    My hip is fine although I have a bit of a limp. I try not to walk very far but am completely pain free on the bike. I ride every day if weather OK and am just short of 12000 miles for the year.
  • Huge thanks Sungod, Frank the Tank & tompo 1 for your encouragement and practical advice.
    Now almost at Week 7. Achievements this week have been a long walk on bridleways as the ground was good and firm and I am able to balance on my right leg again! This was something I found frustrating as I could do it so easily pre - op.
    I feel ready to get on a turbo but my physio wanted me to wait until I see him next on the 10th of Jan. I'd suppose I'd better wait till then but reading your posts and "listening to my body " would suggest I'm ready.
    I'm walking without crutches indoors much of the time but it's not pretty!
    Another good point this past week was being able to do away with one of my high chairs too!
    Will post again after hospital appointment on the 6th of Jan which should provide more advice I hope.
  • Mikey23
    Mikey23 Posts: 5,306
    Just came across this thread and finally remembered my old username and password! A fairly recent member of the THR club so its interesting to read the experiences of others. I will get round to giving my personal testimony soon!
  • Hi again,

    I'm posting an update in the hope that this will be useful to others of you who have had a fall like me and have had to undergo a hip replacement because of the nature/severity of the break. I also hope it is useful to all of you who have had an 'elective' hip replacement having had pain in the joint. I hope it is also useful to some of you in the future who may have a similar incident but let's hope that doesn't happen. It has also been a good experience mentally to write this and catch the slow but steady progress.
    I have now just passed Week Eight since the fall and the operation and have had my first appointment back at the hospital and have just returned today from a second appointment with the physio.
    The appointment at the hospital was very brief. My scar was checked and is fine. I'd suffered a small infection which had needed two weeks of penicillin but the surgeon said all was cleared. A brief check was made of leg length but not explored. (I had some biomechanics issues with my right leg not straightening before the fall/ operation having had two knee operations in the past six years ). The Hip replacement has not made this any worse but I will need to get this fully checked. The best bit of information from the hospital surgeon was that I can/ should work on my mobility now. Week 8 seems to be an important milestone where the real danger of dislocation which has been drummed in to me to this point seems to recede. The surgeon cleared me to use the pool. He was ready to sign me off work for a further 4 weeks if I wanted but I indicated I was ready to return so he agreed. I am a lecturer so he reminded me to sit down at some points of my longer lectures.
    The physio was pleased with my recovery today. I have done lots of walking since my last post with one crutch. A Fitbit purchased for me by my wife has been incredibly useful. I have purposely not tried to beat scores to this point but each week demonstrates an overall greater number of steps. In terms of distance between Week Six and Week 8 I have managed walks of 2 miles and up to 3 miles without any pain and walking at a pace good enough to get a sweat on. One walk over Christmas saw me complete nearly six miles with friends for company. I am now walking without a crutch predominately at Week 8 for the last three days and the physio has confirmed this is ok. I do still have a limp but this has lessened particularly when I am not tired.
    Other notable points at Week 8 are the physio confirming I was ok to drive now. I' informed my insurance company after the operation and they asked for a letter from the DVLA as my insurance was due for renewal. There is a standard letter available which confirms that you do not need to surrender your license for a hip replacement. I have also rung them just now to confirm that I am starting to drive. I could have driven before this but the Christmas holidays meant that there was always a family member available luckily.
    Week 8 has seen the return of all orthopaedic equipment, toilet riser, elevated stool, high arm chair and chocks to raise the bed. This was a good moment and the Physio also said how now using lower furniture will help with stretching. I kept the grabber as I still can't get my right sock on.
    The physio suggested that Week 8 can see me lying on my good side in bed albeit with a pillow between my legs to support the hip. This might signal the end of my snoring when I lie on my bed.
    Week 8 has seen me rejoin the gym. I have used the waist high pool for the last three days since the hospital visit. This is great exercise. The water provides great resistance when walking and floats your legs allowing you to go further in stretches.
    The physio confirmed that I can use the static bike only doing full revolutions if they didn't hurt. Confession time allows me to share that I had already done this twice in the last two days with the surgeon emphasising work on my mobility. A 5 min and 10 min session on Level 10 out of 20 resistance has been good and induced no reaction.
    In summary at Week 8, I have done lots of walking, taken professional advice and listened to my body and not sought to ever push it too far especially with the threat of dislocation.
    Hope this is helpful!
  • tincaman
    tincaman Posts: 508
    What I have learn't in the last 6 months after having both hips replaced: (10 weeks apart)

    Take the painkillers, as much as required to do the Physio, you are not a hero for not taking them, you need them for the physio.

    Do the Physio (take the meds), every day.

    Rest, among sitting/lying around, I did a straight 2 hours on my back every afternoon trying to keep the hip joint as straight as possible for as long as possible. At the beginning this was less than a minute, but increased to the full 2 hours after 8 weeks.

    Don't overdo it, listen to your body, if its painful don't do it, it will come back to you with time and healing.

    If you are having second one done in the future, keep a log each week of your progress, its very good to measure progress the 2nd time against the 1st.

    Ignore all the BS about people having very little pain after the Op, especially those who had it done a few years ago, they've just blanked that part out. You won't be walking normally or without pain after a week!

    If like me you managed to keep the muscle tone and fitness levels up before the Op, then you may find yourself back on the bike after 4 weeks for some gentle riding.

    The leg compression stockings went after one week, awful things. Was back on the bike at week 4 both times, but I was cycling up till the times of the ops, so I think that helped. 22 weeks on and was back to work on reduced hours, but felt fit enough to carry on where I left off earlier in the year, the cycling progressed well, although the hip flexor muscles take quite some rehab after being sliced right through.
  • Mikey23
    Mikey23 Posts: 5,306
    Yes guys that is incredibly helpful. 4 weeks post op tomorrow and i can see myself on the timeline you have outlined. Will do my story in the next couple of days but too tired now!
  • Hi Mikey23,
    Like you at 4 weeks post op I also got v tired. I would sleep up to three times in the day for about an hour each time. I found this very refreshing especially as my nights were disturbed. I seemed to need the toilet far more often than normal and would often get up for an hour in the middle of the night. Around Week 7 sleep returned to normal and at Week 9 go through the night sometimes getting up once for the loo.
    Looking back now Week 4 is early. Just concentrate on the very basic stretching you will have been shown and those short walks. I 'grabbed' any sunshine outdoors I could which made me feel good.
    Every Friday I would mentally review the tiny steps of improvement each week. Keep working towards Week 8 when you can push more with the stretching as the risk of dislocation begins to lessen. I focused on my walks between 4 and 8 weeks. It does get better slowly! At Week 4 I was doing some jobs around the house but still found it difficult to concentrate for more than half an hour on something like the laptop.
    I'm now at Week 9 since op (Mon 16th Jan). With scar healed I'm able to use the pool for walking and stretching in it is brilliant. I used the Wattbike at the gym last night for 30 mins too. It was v difficult to envisage being able to do this at Week 4 as v difficult to project forwards. At Week 4 would often feel tired, frail and fragile but have always kept a positive outlook and used the experience to learn more about myself and the difficulties that those with a permanent disability face each and every day.
    I still have much to recover. I am walking still with a limp. I am getting some paid for physio in Week 10 but again he says still early. He also agreed and proposed everything I am doing at Week 9.
    Continued luck with the recovery.
  • Mikey23
    Mikey23 Posts: 5,306
    I had an encounter with some black ice on 30th November. Went to my local hospital the following day and neither the nurse, the GP nor myself were overly concerned. Unfortunately an x ray was not taken. Two weeks on and a gradual improvement suddenly turned into a rapid deterioration.

    A further visit to A&E at the big hospital and precaurionary x rays were taken which showed that the gead of the femur was fractured and it had become impacted and displaced. Total hip replacement was the only real possibility and was done the next day. Discharged three days later with a box full of meds, a boot load of orthopaedic equipment and a long suffering wife.

    I am now just past the 4 week mark and recovering as well as can be expected. No longer taking painkillers, down to one crutch and exercises going to plan. I have a bone density scan tomorrow and the 6 weekly check up the week after. Still struggling with sleeping on my back and wanting to do more than i should. Hopefully, i will be driving again soon, back to some limited work and some light turbo work. Thank you all for sharing your stories. It is most helpful to hear from others who are experiencing similar...
  • Mikey23
    Mikey23 Posts: 5,306
    Bone density scan show me within normal and acceptable boundaries. Slightly low but that is probably due to the trauma and subsequent lack of mobility. So untoward reason why i break so easy other than bad luck....
  • apreading
    apreading Posts: 4,535
    Mikey23 wrote:
    I had an encounter with some black ice on 30th November. Went to my local hospital the following day and neither the nurse, the GP nor myself were overly concerned. Unfortunately an x ray was not taken. Two weeks on and a gradual improvement suddenly turned into a rapid deterioration.

    A further visit to A&E at the big hospital and precaurionary x rays were taken which showed that the gead of the femur was fractured and it had become impacted and displaced. Total hip replacement was the only real possibility and was done the next day. Discharged three days later with a box full of meds, a boot load of orthopaedic equipment and a long suffering wife.

    I am now just past the 4 week mark and recovering as well as can be expected. No longer taking painkillers, down to one crutch and exercises going to plan. I have a bone density scan tomorrow and the 6 weekly check up the week after. Still struggling with sleeping on my back and wanting to do more than i should. Hopefully, i will be driving again soon, back to some limited work and some light turbo work. Thank you all for sharing your stories. It is most helpful to hear from others who are experiencing similar...

    Unfortunately, an all too common state of affairs. I was taken to A&E after getting T-boned by a minibus with a painful shoulder. Because I was able to lift my arm they just sent me straight home with no concern - this was on a Friday. Noticed the next day that my shoulder had swollen massively and dropped. Went to docs on monday and was sent straight back to A&E for X-ray to find broken collarbone and also had lots of ligament damage... I wouldnt mind so much if A&E had been swamped but it was really quiet and they barely looked at me. And I had a head injury which was fine but have been told later this should have been checked according to standard procedure.
  • Mikey23
    Mikey23 Posts: 5,306
    I was a little too gung ho about it and my first visit was to the local hospital rather than a 30 mile drive to the big one. They have an xray machine but gp not always on duty to authorise it. How bonkers was I, hobbling around being brave with a broken femur...
  • Week 10 since my accident and operation to have full hip replacement.
    Physio- I have signed up to see the Physio/ Sports massage guy at my local gym. This was £25 very well spent as he has good experience with hip replacement rehabilitation. Firstly he emphasised that at Week 10 that I was doing the right things in my recovery. This includes plenty of walks, static bike riides and work in the pool. He also emphasised how useful the elliptical trainer is. In terms of physio exercises he also affirmed the scissors exercise recommended by the NHS physio. There will be further exercises as I reach Week 12 as he emphasised it is still 'early days.' I had a useful massage on the hip area as well as him doing some further work on my right leg following two knee ops. My leg doesn't straighten fully which he puts down to tight Itb band and tight glutes. Massage on this and an exercise with Swiss ball which will assist with my general walking. Felt good and I am going back next week for another session.

    Work- I have now been back at work for two weeks and this week have pretty much worked a full week. My Fitbit gives me an hourly reminder to move which is incredibly useful as can get very stiff. I had an assessment on my office and was reminded to stand up every 20 minutes for a quick stretch which is good advice. I shall also be getting a new electronic desk which allows me to stand or sit to work!

    Walking- often very stiff when I start walking I am really concentrating on trying to have a good posture. Work has meant not doing as much of this so will need to incorporate long walks at the weekend.

    Other exercise- really trying to build up my endurance rather than anything too dynamic. I did 50 mins on the Watt bike getting a decent sweat on this week alongside other sessions including a 30 min 80 rpm session yesterday. Using the elliptical trainer on days when do not ride. I follow this with walking and stretching in the pool followed by a sauna. The pool is a fantastic resource.

    Sleeping- at 10 weeks I am now able to lie on my good side for longer periods. I put a pillow between my legs. I have not tried lying on my hip replacement side yet and have not been encouraged to by either physio. My wife is still kipping in another room because I snore badly when I am on my back!

    Mentally- I have a very positive outlook but there are still some days when you think you will not recover fully. Overall pleased with progress. I felt helpless at times in large crowds but confidence here increasing. I'm starting to be able to put my right sock on some times without the grabber too!

    Bone density - it was decided to check this out due to the nature of the break combined with the fact I am coeliac which can give rise to calcium issues. I go to the hospital next Friday. Worth checking for anyone with a break.

    Once again I hope useful to others. Again this is a slow and steady one. Listen to your body and get on board that expert advice. I still have moments when I catch myself doing things I couldn't the week before.

    BW and do PM me if ever useful to talk.
  • Mikey23
    Mikey23 Posts: 5,306
    Good post bud. I can identify with everything you said! From stiffness to stretching to sleeping to snoring to positivity, frustration and bouts of depression! I will be 6 weeks monday coming, been given the ok to drive and will be working one day a week with the guy i support who does not exhibit challenging behaviour!

    Sorry if you have said this but at what stage did you get back on the turbo? I am hoping to start with 10 minutes at very low intensity being helped on and off, with my shoes already clipped and riding in an upright position. Does this sound like a plan?
  • Mikey23
    Mikey23 Posts: 5,306
    Oh and bone density. Had a scan last week to see if there is a reason why i break so easily. It was done locally by a mobile unit and preliminary results are that i am within normal boundaries. Which is encouraging!
  • Hi again Mikey. I was desperate like you to get back on a bike. I first asked my NHS physio at my appointment at exactly Week 5. He counselled caution at this point emphasising the danger of dislocation and I decided ,albeit reluctantly , to follow his advice. He emphasised the danger of putting the hip past the 90 degree point. Because of the Christmas break I did not see him until exactly 8 weeks after operation. However, I have to confess that I had had 2 ten minutes sessions at my gym on the static bike at Week 7 + 5 days and the following day too. I could wait no longer! I checked out riding the static bike and he gave it a cautious ok. It felt strange to pedal and I did everything very gingerly, but there was no reaction at all. I chose the static bikes first because of the ease of getting on them with no cross bar. The upright sitting position suited as well.
    At the end of Week 8 I did a 15 min session on the Watt bike. The only discomfort was reaching down to change the resistance, although I kept a fairly upright position. To be honest my bum hurt far more as I didn't wear any padded shorts!
    So the end of Week 7 and beginning of Week 8 was my own timeline! It felt good too mentally to be packing my gym bag and mixing with the crowd there. If you can, do hang on a little longer and get the medical opinion. As previously noted the waist high pool at my gym has been fantastic for my walking, balancing and stretching. There's good resistance in the water for walking and it supports posture well. Just get your scar checked out first.
    Tomorrow marks Week 11 and I did a reasonable hour on the Watt bike this morning following a long day of sightseeing in London yesterday. Another little nice sign was that I went some Underground tube steps two at a time on one flight. Equally I still find the house stairs difficult at times and lead with the left leg.... and I did feel incredibly stiff after sitting down for an early evening meal yesterday with the hip feeling as if it was grating. It was okay this morning so it's still up and down all the time!
    Hope this helps..... and I know that you may have already had a go at the turbo! If not just remember you are close to getting back on a bike!
  • Mikey23
    Mikey23 Posts: 5,306
    First drive today. Only a short one and felt really strange but managed it. My local gym do aquafit classes and as im a member i might as well have a go. Still not been on the turbo. I feel im not quite ready but hopefully soon. Six week mark today. Feeling a bit more positive this week!
  • Very interesting read, have to have a hip op at some stage as the cartilage has now worn away due to to much pounding on the road. Took up cycling because of this and has been a breath of fresh air, trouble is walking is now a problem and the only pain free situation i have is when perched on a bike.

    Am concerned of the recovery period but this thread has been very helpful and hope Mikey23 can impart some of his experiences when he has the time.