Author Topic: My experience - 2 weeks in  (Read 3810 times)

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My experience - 2 weeks in
« on: February 01, 2013, 05:15:55 AM »
Just thought I’d share my experience to date in the spirit of this excellent site.

I'm an active 59 year-old who, until March 2012, was playing tennis two or three times a week and going on long walking holidays with my wife.  Deterioration of my left hip due to arthritis put paid to all this.
So I had resurfacing on my left hip two weeks ago today, by Sarah Muirhead-Allwood at the Princess Grace Hospital, London.

[As an aside (and only relevant to UK readers) my insurance company, Simply Health UK, would only pay fees up to a maximum of £995 for this procedure. Ms Muirhead-Allwood charges £2,250 so I had to make up a fair amount from my own pocket. Be warned!]

All went well with the surgery as far as anyone can tell at this stage. Here are just a few observations about my own experience.

Immediate post-op experience:-

I was amazed to be walking with a single crutch less than 24 hours after surgery, and able to the do the basic physio exercises they give you. I already seemed to have almost more movement in the new joint than I’d had the day before surgery. There was some stiffness and a little soreness, but really not much problem from the joint itself.

Hospital experience:-

Really positive experience – all nursing, physio and admin staff were delightful. Food terrible! Hospital décor a bit old and shabby and my first room was laughably hot with non-functioning air-conditioning which was louder than a farm tractor!  I got myself moved after the first night to a different room which was newly-refurbished and really superb.

As reported elsewhere, Sarah Muirhead-Allwood’s bedside manner is somewhat… well, limited… but who cares when her hip surgery track record is pretty much second to none in the UK if not the world. I think she’s amazing, and it’s clear that her whole team does too.
My op was on a Friday and I would have been home on the following Monday were it not for the fact that the ‘drain’ wound in my thigh was still very slightly leaky. As it was, I was out by the Wednesday.

Swelling and Bruising:-

I had read warnings about potential swelling and bruising, but was actually a bit shocked as to how bad it was. My thigh ballooned, and this black and blue balloon is gradually traversing its way down my leg.  Currently my ankle and foot are very swollen and my toes are black.
This isn’t a huge deal as it’s mainly cosmetic. But in some places (especially my shin and the back of my knee) the bruising has been really sore – almost like bad sunburn – and has helped keep me awake at night. I saw my GP about it yesterday who prescribed Heparinoid cream (under the brand name Hirudoid) which has made an immediate difference. I wish they’d told me about it when I left hospital.

I also wish I’d started taking Arnica in advance of the surgery and right through my time in hospital. As it is, I didn’t think of taking it until a couple of days after surgery, but which time the bruising was already in full swing.

Icing really helps. Start it early and keep doing it!

The surgical ‘TED’ stockings:-

What can I say? They are horrible and thoroughly uncomfortable. I hate them!  I’ll stick with them because Sarah M-A is insistent, but I am quite envious of those whose surgeons don’t believe in them!

Pain after two weeks:-

I don’t get a lot of pain from the hip joint itself, although it lets me know if I try to bend too far or when I’m lying on it for too long.  The majority of the pain comes from sore muscles in my
quads and glutes and from the bruised swelling as it spreads down my leg and from swelling around the incision line in my hip (the line is about 7” long).


As well documented throughout the site, sleeping is a bit of a nightmare. Being on my back is pretty dreadful for starters, but I have also been plagued with leg cramps as well as soreness from the bruising. This is all getting slowly better but after two weeks I still sleep for a maximum of 60-90 minutes at a time before having to get up and move around till things ease up again. The cramps in my quads are the worst, closely followed by the ‘sunburn’ sensation in my calf, shin and behind my knee from the bruised skin.

Blood pressure:-

I have been taking medication for raised blood pressure for a few years. This usually maintains it at more or less ‘normal’ levels of 20-something over 180-something.  Immediately after the op my BP fell to around 100 over 60 and stayed around that level while I was in hospital. The nurses withheld my medication and told me to start taking it again at home when BP reached around 130 over 120-odd again.  I wasn’t advised how long this might take. After two weeks BP is still not up to the old levels. No bad thing but I need to keep an eye on it!


Showering is no problem at all with a walk-in shower. I really miss the bath though!  It was a full 11 days before I could sit on any kind of toilet seat (including the special raised one I bought) without significant discomfort. It’s pretty much OK now, but that first period is not great – really sore at first as you’re sitting pretty much on the incision zone!

Do invest in plenty of dried fruit in the days immediately after surgery to get things moving, as it were.

Getting around:-

After two weeks, I’m comfortable walking around the house without a stick (cane), although I do use one on the stairs just as a precaution. I walk for around half an hour a day out of the house. I take a stick, but this is more to warn other people to give me a wide berth than because I really feel I need it!   


It’s still uncomfortable to sit still for more than an hour (or less) and I need to get up and keep moving. This is partly because of the swelling around the incision line and partly because of the bruised leg muscles.

Dressing etc:-

Can’t put left sock or shoe on at all and still struggle with underwear and trousers without help. The physio in the hospital told me not to worry about being too slavish about sticking to the 90-degree rule, and it’s definitely true that I can bend a bit more than 90 degrees without any protests from the hip, but I worry about pushing it too far.

In General:-

In general I feel surprisingly good, though I’m tired a lot of the time through lack of a decent night’s sleep. I can already tell that the new hip is going to be better than the old arthritic one, and I feel very positive for the future. 
However, I must say that the discomfort from swelling, bruising and cramping to the muscles in my glute and leg are worse than I was anticipating.  Like others on here, I’ve read a lot of those “I had no pain from the moment I woke up onwards” stories.  I can only say “lucky, lucky people!”. 

I suspect that my experience is more common:  yes, the arthritic pain has gone. But there’s a whole range of other discomforts to deal with in the first fortnight, and it looks as though some of them will be with me for a while.

The great news, however, is that I know they will fade and cease in time, unlike the arthritis which would have remained with me – and got worse – for life.

If anyone’s interested I‘ll give another update in a couple of weeks.



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Re: My experience - 2 weeks in
« Reply #1 on: February 01, 2013, 09:06:05 AM »
Great post, Martin and welcome!

Each of us has our own path, your recovery sounds like a good, steady recovery. I know that I was on two crutches still for the first couple of weeks, and one crutch until about three, four weeks.

One thing to keep in mind is that you want as much support as you can while you need it. You want to encourage a good gait, so that later you don't need to unlearn bad habits. You are the best judge of it, but I did have people watch me walk and let me know if they noticed any issues. In particular, one of the trainers at my gym would watch me on the treadmill and go over it with me.

Don't worry about the bruising, et. al. That goes away in comparatively short time and never returns. It's like clouds sweeping by (kicking our behinds a bit while they pass).

The TEDs are a kick, aren't they? My surgeon insisted on a month's time, to prevent blood clots. I wore them during the day, took them off at night. I had them during the late summer, when I looked like a gent from the 1700's (in shorts). I also had them during the winter, less obvious, but still fashionable  ::) .

They did the job, though and like other aspects of this surgery, they pass. I still have them around somewhere, along with my sock puller and my picker-upper. Will probably put them all in a shadowbox at some point and hang them up on my bedroom wall  :o

My body was under such an overwhelming attack from the OA before the surgery, that I considered all bets off afterwards. I had back, knee, shoulder issues that resolved themselves as I recovered. My lack of sleep and weight gain also did their work, so I figured I just needed to see what stayed and went away. Never had an issue with blood pressure, and no medical knowledge about it, but I can't help but think that the relief of pain and stress from the OA won't be a positive thing.

The socks, movement, ROM and all other benefits will come in due time. Patience is the key, keeping in mind that you want the bone to heal first, then recover muscular function and lastly advanced activities. You are very early in the game, but seem to be doing really well.

Hernan, LHR 8/24/2010, RHR 11/29/2010 - Cormet, Dr. Snyder

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Re: My experience - 2 weeks in
« Reply #2 on: February 01, 2013, 10:44:55 AM »

Welcome to Hip Talk and THANK YOU for taking time to write and post your story.  The personal stories are so helpful to other perspective patients.

I have your story posted here on the main website

Martin's Hip Resurfacing with Sarah Muirhead-Allwood 2013  Will be glad to add updates in the future.

Thanks again and Good Luck with your recovery. Take it easy in the begining.

Webmaster/Owner of Surface Hippy
3/15/06 LBHR De Smet


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Re: My experience - 2 weeks in
« Reply #3 on: February 01, 2013, 11:32:32 AM »
Hi Martin

Thanks for your detailed post.

I'm 4 weeks post-op (RBHR Mr Treacy) and recognise the unpleasant swelling and significant pain you mentioned regarding the knee, calf, shin area. From my previous research I too had not anticipated this issue. I used a hot water bottle and continued with pain killing medication to combat the problem as best as I could, but I think you were wise to visit your Doctor and obtain more appropriate medication.

Take good care with your continued recovery.



rbhr 3 january 2013
mr ronan treacy
royal orthopaedic hospital, birmingham, england

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Re: My experience - 2 weeks in
« Reply #4 on: February 01, 2013, 03:55:31 PM »
Great post Martin.  Sounds so familiar, especially the about the guts getting back into shape, and the swelling, and the concner of the 90 degree rule when it doesn't seem to be that big of a deal.  Like the thing is going to pop out of the stitches on backside when you reach to pick something up on off the floor,  "oops"  Actually, that scared the hell out of me so I stuck with the 90 rule for 6 weeks, but there were other areas that I didn't do so well in.

Good job and keep us posted.  Congrats on the new hip!
LBHR 2/22/11, RBHR 8/23/11 - Pritchett.


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Re: My experience - 2 weeks in
« Reply #5 on: February 01, 2013, 05:36:57 PM »
Great post Martin and welcome! Nows the hard part of rest and relaxing and being patient!

Train hard fight easy
LBHR 10/11/2011 Mr Ronan Treacy Birmingham England
60mm cup 54mm head
Rbhr 54mm head 60mm cup 12/02/15 Ronan Treacy ROH Birmingham England


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Re: My experience - 2 weeks in
« Reply #6 on: February 03, 2013, 08:53:06 AM »
Thank you all for your lovely warm welcome and words of advice and support.

I have found this whole process rather frightening and shocking, to be honest.  I wasn't anticipating a worn-out hip and major surgery at the age of 59! 

So it's wonderful to have this resource and to be able to read all your stories and hear from people going through the same tricky experience.

And great to see so many people clearly coming out the other side with fantastic results.

Thanks again, and I hope to keep in touch was we all recover and get our active, pain-free lives back again.

All the best,



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Re: My experience - 2 weeks in
« Reply #7 on: February 26, 2013, 07:32:46 PM »
So, you should have a couple more weeks under your belt now. I will assume that things are moving along quite well as is pretty normal for this surgery. I am now about 13 weeks and it is almost as if I had never had surgery except for no more pain in my hip! Be blessed abundantly.
Phil. 4:13  -  RBHR Dr. Brooks 11-28-12 Euclid Hospital/Cleve. Clinic (48/56) (no more pain!)


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Re: My experience - 2 weeks in
« Reply #8 on: June 02, 2013, 08:17:20 AM »
Just over 4 months in now.  Have had two gentle hits on the tennis court recently and have walked more than 12 miles on each of the last two weekends.

No pain at all.

Very, very encouraging!


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Re: My experience - 2 weeks in
« Reply #9 on: June 02, 2013, 11:14:41 AM »
Thanks for your story Martin - I am 2 weeks and 2 days in - not that I am counting or anything?!

Had the same bruising on my leg which pretty much has all moved down towards my shins which are a delightful colour of green! (so quite pleased I am wearing the stockings to hide this at the moment!!) swollen ankles and sore lower back.

feeling much better this weekend though and actually managed to get out for a dinner party with friends which made me very proud of myself considering 2 weeks before I couldnt even get out of my hospital bed!!

Just been for one of my walks around the corner and managed a few steps without putting too much pressure down on the crutches.

I am so impatient but everyone's stories help me realise whats happening is normal and that i need to find the strength to be even more patient to be able to reap the best reward in the future months, so thank you!

Look forward to hearing your next update! :)


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Re: My experience - 2 weeks in
« Reply #10 on: June 02, 2013, 12:42:49 PM »
Kate, you have a great attitude. Keep it up, it pays off in the end.
Hernan, LHR 8/24/2010, RHR 11/29/2010 - Cormet, Dr. Snyder


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Re: My experience - 2 weeks in
« Reply #11 on: June 02, 2013, 05:31:06 PM »

Great to hear that you're making progress already!

We're all different (of course) but all I can say is that after 4 months I am just SO GLAD that I opted for resurfacing. I was forced to give up tennis and walking holidays (two of my favourite pass-times) almost 18 months  ago.  Now I'm doing them both again, and without any pain whatsoever.  (To be fair, I'm doing serious walking but only very gentle tennis)

But broadly speaking, I am experiencing the opposite of regrets.

The first few weeks were quite tough, and even after 2/3 months I had some setbacks.

Maybe I'll have more setbacks in the future. Who knows?

But the ups are 1000% more than the downs.

I really hope the same applies to you.

Keep us posted!





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