I was diagnosed with arthritis in my right hip in 2002 at age 44. I
thought I had a bad muscle strain or groin pull but x-rays confirmed
it was arthritis. I stopped rigorous athletic activities like
basketball and running, and I was not bothered much. In the summer
of 2007, I completed about a half dozen mountain day hikes without
much difficulty. I took ibuprofen afterwards to control minor pain.
In the winter of 2007/2008, I noticed more pain during daily walks
with my dog. I also noticed that my right foot was shifting out when
I walked. In the spring of 2008, I noticed more pain during yard
work and other minor activities. I could usually eliminate the pain
after talking anti-inflammatory pills (Lodine-Etodolac), but it was
coming more frequently and having more of an impact on my daily
activities. A friend who had a double hip resurfacing operation at
Newton-Wellesley Hospital in Newton, MA, suggested I see Dr. Snyder
I saw Dr. Snyder, who took x-rays and told me that I was an
excellent candidate for resurfacing.. I wanted a second opinion so I
spoke with a surgeon at New England Baptist Hospital in Boston (who
did not do resurfacings and was opposed to them) and another surgeon
at a local orthopedic practice (who also did not do resurfacings).
They both recommended full hip replacements. I decided to get one
last opinion from a doctor who did both full replacements and
resurfacings. I met with Dr. Henrik Malchau at Mass General Hospital
in Boston in November 2008. He recommended a resurfacing and I
decided to have him do the operation. I liked him and I liked Mass
General. My operation was completed on March 10, 2009. I was 51
years old. I came home after 3 days in the hospital.
I worried for months about the surgery but, ironically, the surgery
was the easiest part of the process. They wheeled me into the
operating room and pretty soon I was in the recovery room. No pain.
I had spinal anesthesia so I was coherent as soon as I woke up.
Recovering at home was the difficult part for me. I was frustrated
by not being able to use my right leg much. At first, it was hard to
get into or out of bed by myself, dress or bathe myself or prepare
meals or do my normal daily activities around the house. I was
fortunate to have a wife who helped me through this. It was also
helpful to have family and friends visit and call, but it still very
frustrating. I eventually learned that it just takes time for the
body to heal and there is nothing I could do but accept this
reality. I had a good visiting nurse and in-house physical therapist
who both came 2-3 times a week and they helped me tremendously. I
felt good enough to go back to work part-time about 3 weeks after
surgery. At first, I could only work a few hours a day. I had no
stamina and got tired easily. I would work for a few hours and then
come home to take a nap. I built up to full-time at work about 5 or
6 weeks after surgery.
I was able to drive at 4 weeks post-surgery. I was walking with one
crutch at about 4 weeks and with a cane at about 6 weeks. By 8 weeks
I was walking without a cane. I started out-patient physical therapy
at about 5 weeks post-surgery. I went to 2 sessions a week and,
after a few weeks, added a session of water therapy in an indoor
pool. One of the best things I did for myself was weekly sessions of
therapeutic massage, in addition to the physical therapy. That
helped sooth my muscles and made my hip feel great. I really think
the massage helped me heal faster. I should also note that I went to
8 weekly sessions of pre-surgery physical therapy. This taught me
exercises to strengthen and stretch my leg muscles and hip joint. I
believe this also helped my recovery go smoother.