I guess that I am relatively new member of this club and would like to share my story as prior to having my surgery I spent lots of time reading posts on this site from both surgeons and people that have undergone the resurfacing procedure.
54 year old male that developed arthritis in my left hip when in my 40s. I was a long time runner and had begun running marathons in my late 30s/early 40s. The onset of pain began in my early to mid-30s and was most exacerbated when doing speed work or increased distances. Early on I could work through it with stretching and ice and the pain was a mysterious discomfort that caused me to run a little more slowly than i preferred.
As I increased my distances into my 40s the discomfort was great and more consistent and I would take weeks or months off of training to allow the pain to reduce. When I was 46 I sought medical attention for the pain and it was at this point that I was informed that I had advanced arthritis and was informed that I will need a new hip – could be 2 years or it could be 10 years, is what the doc had said. I walked out of his office stunned by the news and it was at that time 8 years that I stopped running.
For a few years following the diagnosis my activity level was limited and over time the chronic pain that I would experience standing up from a being seated (as is the case at work), the pain associated with walking or the periodic experience of shooting pain in my thigh diminished. As the pain diminished I started bike riding and this really seemed to help with my overall comfort. As an example during periods when i had not been riding I would experience more pain with walking; however, after riding I could walk with nearly no pain at all. I should point out that while I had little to no pain walking I still had limited flexibility and certain positions were very uncomfortable, and so I would avoid them.
It was over the past year that the pain, even when I was actively cycling, became more consistent. I was never at the point where I dreaded having to walk a few hundred feet or getting into the car as others sometimes describe, but the pain was increased and more consistent and I was experiencing more discomfort riding and after riding.
I felt that I was at the point at which I would continue to stop doing things that I enjoyed (riding, walking, hiking, cross country skiing, etc.) and decided it was time for surgery. Heading into the surgery I was very conflicted about the timing – should I wait for the condition to get worse or have it done now? I found comfort from members of this group indicating that their progression and experience was quite similar (cycling activity sometimes reducing pain), but that the pain was becoming more consistent. Perhaps the most significant comment was that no one had complained about having their surgery done too early. With this comment I knew that it was time for me to schedule my hip resurfacing.
Surgery April 8, 2016 – Dr. Brooks, Cleveland Clinic
I am fortunate to live in Cleveland the home of Cleveland Clinic where Dr. Peter Brooks practices. Prior to considering surgery I knew little about this procedure but knew that having an experienced surgeon for any hip replacement is important and that this is especially true for resurfacing.
Aside from a minor complication with the spinal epidural which resulted in spinal headaches that persisted on and off for a couple weeks my surgery was normal and unremarkable. I was admitted for surgery on Friday, April 8 and discharged on Monday, April 11 as I needed an extra day to stabilize my headaches so that I could get out of bed for physical therapy.
Overall the pain resulting from surgery was pretty tolerable and I was off narcotics on Tuesday, April 12 and started using OTC Tylenol, which I continues to use for another week. Swelling and bruising became apparent several days after surgery with limited swelling extending down to my ankle and bruising to just below the knee and into my groin.
I spent two weeks recovering at home, then returned to work (I work in an office and seated at a desk). Thinking about the recovery with the clarity that 8 weeks brings I would recommend at least 3 weeks recovery prior to return to work and if possible a full 4 weeks. While I was pretty comfortable with my mobility (on crutches for 6 weeks) and how my leg/hip were feeling my head was foggy for about 3 – 4 weeks.
At my 6 week check-up x-rays were performed and showed normal healing. It was at this point that I stopped using crutches and progressed to a cane, which I used for about 5 days before walking unassisted. Due to surgery and the lack of use of the left leg the leg and the hip were quite weak. As a result of the hip weakness I wobbled when I walked, however, now at 8 weeks post surgery this is largely gone unless I exert myself too much (example, yesterday 25 minutes on the elliptical followed by cutting the lawn – meaning lots of time on my feet/walking and using the hip). The muscles that were affected by the surgery become tired and tight, but quickly recover after rest or overnight.
Once of the crutches I started going to the gym doing mostly weights and limited cardio activities and a little swimming. Each visit I am able to do more.
At 8 weeks out (and when my hip is not tired) I feel pretty darn normal physically and mentally – which is great! Having said that I know that there I still have much work to do strengthen the hip and the rest of my surgical leg since it has seen very limited use since surgery.
What lies ahead
For the foreseeable future I anticipate working out at the gym, though nothing that will increase the load more than 50 lbs on the surgical leg. This includes upper body weights, elliptical, spin bike, and swimming. I have pedaled my road bike up and down our street and my hip feels quite comfortable, so I expect that I will be cycling on flat surfaces (no hill climbs or sprints) for one years (says the doc). As i have been working out I have not tested the leg on longer walks (2 miles or more), and this is something that I am curious to do.
Takeaways at 8 weeks post procedure
* it seems that my doc is more conservative than others requiring 6 weeks on crutches and waiting a year before running or hard cycling that will stress the femoral neck.
* hip feels better right away, though I’ve experienced lingering soreness to the quadracept that is just now diminishing. To be more specific the sensation has changed significantly over the 8 week period and early on the quad was very stiff and it took 2.5 weeks before I could bend my knee more than 45 degrees. After applying heat I quickly got to 90 degrees and my quad is now nearly as flexible as my non-surgical leg.
* muscles in quad and hip weaker than expected and will take time to recover
* at 8 weeks my gate is nearly normal, though this might change with exercise that makes the hip tired/sore (think more muscle fatigue than painful sore).
* Being on crutches makes many things very difficult. Since your hands are used on the crutches it is difficult to carry/transport things. You can’t carry a basket of clothes to the washer, it’s difficult to carry a plate of food or a cup of coffee. You learn to improvise, but crutches really slow you down in many respects.
* The Cleveland Clinic staff (everyone) was awesome and I received great care while in the hospital from housekeeping to clinical staff – all were really fantastic and made me comfortable during my stay.
* My wife is awesome (but I knew this before surgery) and she took great care of me while at home and during the period that I was on crutches. She was incredibly helpful, thoughtful and patient through my recovery.
I am very grateful for all the support provided by so many – members of this site, the clinical staff and my wife and family of course. I’m looking forward to getting to the point that I don’t realize that I had surgery and I think this day will be sooner than I had thought!