I have just finished my fifth week (three days per week) of rehabilitation, six weeks after my hip replacement surgery. While I always intended to do it, I was unconvinced how useful it would be. I couldn’t have been more wrong. They make you push yourself and that pushing is what brings results, as seems obvious in retrospect. When I first started rehab, I was using two crutches to get around and was on a significant dose of the opioid Endone (Oxycodone) as well as regular doses of Paracetamol for the pain, which was fairly intense. After a couple of weeks, I was down to one crutch, had halved the Endone dosage and was only taking Paracetamol to help me sleep. Another week and they suggested I not use the crutch in the gym, to which I acquiesced. Another few days and I put the remaining crutch away and ditched the painkillers.
As far as I can work out, the exercises are initially aimed at getting the muscles, which were sliced up during the operation, back in working order. This is no trivial exercise, and it is still ongoing, even after five weeks. The muscles in my upper thigh are still not 100% but are very slowly getting there. When I started rehab, I had trouble lifting my foot off the floor and had no hope of lifting my leg, when straight, while lying on the gym bench. Now I can lift that leg while there is a 2kg weight attached to my ankle.
Having given the crutches away, I can now walk a couple of kilometres with no pain whatsoever, once I get going. Initially, getting up out of a chair requires a fair bit of effort and the first few steps could be described as a hobble. It is much the same from a standing position, the first few steps are a bit painful but everything seems normal after that.
I have been told by others who have had knees or hips replaced that it takes up to 12 months for things to get back to ‘normal’. So, it is a long road, but the physiotherapists tell me I am well on the way.