April 02, 2011 I had my right hip resurfaced by Dr. Kenneth Kress at Resurgens in Atlanta yesterday morning. Since I was able get around with a walker and do stairs, Dr. Kress gave me the option of going home that same evening. The majority of his total hip patients and many of his hip resurfacing patients are given this option and do well.
This morning I felt good, but after the Physical Therapist came by at noon, I experienced an increase in pain and swelling.
In the months leading up to my surgery I found the information and experiences shared on this website extremely helpful. So in the coming days, I will share my recovery experience because Dr. Kress’s quick recovery protocols seem to be different from the norm. Also, he is not on the short list of hip resurfacing specialists that are recommended over and over on this group, but is a very experienced, professional and highly respected orthopedic surgeon here in Atlanta who now offers resurfacing to appropriate candidates.
Dr. Kress works out of St. Joseph’s hospital. When I was asking around who was the best hip surgeon in the Atlanta area his name came up again and again. Of course that was when I thought I would need a THR. After examining me, he suggested that I was an excellent candidate for hip resurfacing. At that point I hadn’t even heard about hip resurfacing as an option. After reading this forum I considered switching to one of the resurfacing specialists who are mentioned here, but in the end I had confidence in Dr. Kress’s experience and success as a surgeon, and I was in so much pain that getting on another surgeon’s three month waiting list was not something I (or my wife) wanted to do.
April 22, 2011 Three week update. On day 11, I got my staples out and gave myself the last of the Levenox shots in the stomach. Both were welcome milestones. The same day my PT had me balance on my operated leg, which I didn’t think I could do. Once I realized that I could with effort and concentration, I ditched the cane walking in the house (against the advice of my PT). On day 12 I went back to work for a half day, and drove myself there. The next day I began to walk outside unassisted. The first time around the block took me a long time, but it seemed like a breakthrough. I felt noticeably stronger each day which convinced me I was on the right track. When my PT came back on day 15 he discharged me a week early. I’ve gradually increased my walking once or twice a day until this morning I walked about three miles. I did have a couple days, 16 and 17, when I felt an increase in pain and soreness after pushing my pace and stride a little too far, so I backed off my pace for the next couple days. I also “religiously” iced the hip after each walk outside.
At day 22, I am amazed that I now feel better than I did in the months before the surgery. And the stories and videos I’ve seen of folks running, and playing basketball and soccer, after resurfacing now have me dreaming about what may be possible again for me six months or a year from now. At this point, I’m just glad to be able to walk without the piercing arthritic pain!
I feel very fortunate to be recovering so quickly, and I credit it to the skill of my surgeon, and maybe to the fact that I had been able to maintain a high level of activity until the last month before surgery, when I could only limp around with a cane.
My other hip will need to be resurfaced sometime in the future. The x-ray shows only a slim sliver of cartilage in the middle and some bone spurs which I’m beginning to feel. But today life is very good!
April 27, 2011 I do feel fortunate to be recovering so quickly. I am 53 years old and have run and/or lifted weights about six days a week since I was a teen. I also played a lot of basketball until my mid forties. And I eat a healthy diet. The result according to the doctor is that I do have large, dense bones and strong muscles. Flexibility was never my strong suit, but maybe that too has aided my recovery!
I’ve been walking one or twice a day through our hilly neighborhood, trying to gently increase my pace and distance. I actually felt a bit of the old “runner’s high” about 50 minutes into my walk yesterday! I got back to the gym for the first time a couple days ago. I’m being careful, not doing any standing exercises that would put weight on the hip. I also dropped the weights to 2/3 of what I was doing before surgery.
While I am glad for the speed of my recovery, I completely agree with the many people who say that it is the long term recovery that is important. A few weeks or even months of extra recovery time will soon fade into memory.
May 2, 2011 At age 53 I’ve been running and lifting weights regularly since I was 15. For decades I used free weights, but about eight years ago I shifted to using Cybex and Nautilus machines mostly. It just felt better on all my joints and back.
Last week, on day 25 after having my right hip resurfaced, I felt ready to go back to the gym (LA Fitness), and it did not seem risky to me, or that I was pushing things. My belief is that if I’m careful to use weight machines where my body weight is fully supported by the chair (most of the Cybex and Nautilus machines are designed this way), and if I keep good form, there should be no problem lifting with the upper body. I did start out by reducing the amount I was lifting on each machine to 2/3 of what I was doing before surgery, but this was to avoid getting myself super sore after not lifting for a month, and I found I was able to increase the amount incrementally with each workout.
Last week I did my usual routine of lifting at the gym on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, preceded by warm up on the elliptical machine (Monday, 12 minutes, Wednesday, 24 minutes, Friday, 30 minutes). Again, to be clear, I’m not doing any free weights at this point, nor am I lifting with my lower body, not wanting to stress the hip neck until it is fully healed at six months. But it does feel very good to be working out again.
I’m just sharing my reasoning and experience, but I’m not a doctor. And though I’ve got years of experience with keeping muscles strong, my track record with bones is not nearly as good.
May 6, 2011 5 week update.
More and more moments each day I forget that I even had hip resurfacing surgery. Two days ago I was able to put my socks on myself! It wasn’t easy, but I was able to do it. Yesterday I walked five miles pushing the pace. (The weather here in Atlanta has been unusually pleasant!) Today I did 45 minutes on the elliptical at the gym with the same resistance I used before surgery (16). The elliptical machine enables me to get my heart rate up in a way that I can’t when walking, even pushing the pace. In both instances it is in my unoperated hip that I feel mild tweeks of pain and cracking. The resurfaced hip feels solid and stable.
I have my follow up appointment with my surgeon next Tuesday, and I am anxious to see if xrays show that everything is OK. It all “feels” OK, but I want some objective confirmation.
I so value this forum and the knowledge and experience shared here.
May 10, 2011 I just had my 5 1/2 week post op appointment with my surgeon, Dr. Kress. The xrays of the resurfaced hip looked excellent (cup placement was 35 degrees); now the unoperated left hip is another story, bone on bone, but not much pain yet.
He lifted all hip restrictions, so now I can start stretching without fear of dislocating the hip. He said as tight as I was, there was zero chance of that happening! I’d already been lifting weights with my upper body for the past two weeks, but now he OK’d me to add some leg work (leg extensions and curls, not deep squats or leg presses yet)
He also wrote me a referral for 6 weeks of PT if I want it to work on range of motion and flexibility, though he said I’d probably get the knowledge I needed in a couple of sessions. When I called for an appointment though, the soonest I could get was 3 1/2 weeks from now! Will I still need it or want it by then?
While I was in the doctor’s waiting room I saw a young man (between 30 and 40) with a cane, obviously in pain, looking very disheartened, and I thought, “this was me just six weeks ago!”
I remain amazed and grateful at the new lease on life this surgery has given me!
May 29, 2011 I’ve been a runner and weightlifter all my adult life (I’m 53). I had pain and reduced range of motion in my right hip beginning in 2005. Didn’t go to a doctor until last fall when I suddenly could no longer run without an excruciating, stabbing pain in the hip. Xrays showed a bone on bone mess. By the time of my surgery six months later I was hobbling around with a cane. I had my hip resurfaced on April 1 and a mere 8 weeks after my hip resurfacing I’m able to walk 6 miles pain free. I am up to an hour on the elliptical. My upper body strength is almost completely back, and the legs aren’t far behind. I feel like I could start running again, but I won’t before 6 months at the earliest. Why risk loosening the device or a femoral neck fracture? I can wait. It is just so amazing to have my body working again. Like Sean I feel very grateful that of all the things that can afflict our bodies, the arthritic hip was something that could be fixed.
October 5, 2011 I’m at six months and have been walking a lot (6 1/2 miles) and doing the elliptical (60 minutes) I ran this afternoon for the first time in more than a year. I took it very easy, walking 1/2 mile, running 1 mile, walking 1/2 mile, running last 1/2 mile. It felt good to run again, even if it was only a slow jog. The only pain was in my unoperated hip which I’m scheduled to have resurfaced in December