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.


  • Jon says:

    Keep it up BA. Rehab and physio-guided exercise are critical to proper recovery from many (probably most) serious and minor ops/injuries. Recovery is usually faster and more complete as a result.

    Daughter is a physio and regularly encounters instances of poor advice and/or lax attention by people to their recommended exercises, which she then has to attempt to remedy. It isn’t easy to do exercises when you’re in pain (or concerned about causing yourself further damage) but it’s far more important than some people realise. Good physios will advise on the precise exercises required, how often they need to be done, and when you should persist or desist if pain or discomfort is involved. They will not prescribe exercise which can harm. That said it’s critical that exercises are performed as instructed, so you should get diagrams and written instructions if the physio is on the ball.

    Recovery knowledge and advice has changed significantly in many areas in recent decades. The old rest and medication advice a GP might provide is often both out of date and counter-productive (esp where backs are concerned). Problem is that physiotherapy often isn’t covered by Medicare or private insurance so people tend to go to their GPs for advice, and not all GPs are up to speed or refer patients on.

    You’re lucky with Endone. I took one after a relatively minor op a few years ago and had a bad reaction. Wore off quickly thankfully but I binned them straight away.

    • admin says:

      Yeah, I do push myself and because I do (seemingly), they tell me I am ahead of the recovery curve for someone my age, which is good to know. I have been impressed with the physiotherapy crowd at the hospital I attend. Not only do they look after the physical side of things, but they have had regular chats to see how things are going inside my head, and to answer any questions I might have. The mental side has never really been a problem for me, as I was told what to expect by the surgeon and physiotherapists, and have talked to a few people who have had similar operations so I knew what I was in for. It is also important to keep tabs on the small, almost daily improvements. It seems that every day I can do something that I couldn’t do previously, so that gives the impression of constant progress. I see the surgeon tomorrow for the 6 week review of progress. Have a slew of questions for him.

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