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The Hip Talk Discussion Forum was hacked a few weeks back. It has taken me a long time to fix it. The only backup I could use was way back to April 2020. All members and posts up to that date are available. Anything newer has been lost. I am sorry, but that has been the only way to get things up and running again.

Author Topic: When To Discard Both Crutches  (Read 12329 times)

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Kevin Warr

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When To Discard Both Crutches
« on: January 21, 2014, 07:38:50 AM »
Hi All

It has been over 5 weeks now and I am still on one crutch. I feel like I still cant put my weight on the operated leg and take those first few steps without crutches. How did you all know when it was right to discard them.

Am I being too impatient?

Kev  from Down Under
Surgery 14/12/13 - Dr Patrick Weinrauch

Miguelito

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Re: When To Discard Both Crutches
« Reply #1 on: January 21, 2014, 01:03:44 PM »
Kev,

I am pretty sure i was still using one crutch for walks at five weeks. Maybe a little longer. I may have still occasionally been using two crutches at that point for longer walks, for both safety and so that my gait would be as good as I could get it.

I wouldn't worry about it too much yet.

I think your body will just tell you when it's time to discard the crutch. Use it as long as you feel you need to. One day you will get up, not think to grab it, and that will be it (unless you have a bad day at some point, which you will).

Mike
RHR April 2012.
LHR March 2014.

Both Biomet Magnum/Recap 54/48, by Dr. Thomas Gross.

Tian

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  • LBHR - Dr. Pritchett 12/27/2013
Re: When To Discard Both Crutches
« Reply #2 on: January 21, 2014, 02:46:52 PM »
Kevin - I agree with Mike.  I'm almost 4 weeks postop and 'can' walk without aids, but I am always pretty sore in the hip a few hours after.  I think I'm pushing it because I'm a bit stubborn.  So I have started to alternate between 2 crutches, 1 crutch and my cane.

My doctor said weight bearing as I can take it, but in reading over others' postop care, I saw one doctor had his patient on 2 crutches for 6 weeks. Even though we may not feel we don't need the extra support for that long, it probably is best.  There is no rush I guess. I keep getting reminded that this was a major surgery and our bodies need time to heal.

--Stubborn in Seattle --
Tian

Juno

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Re: When To Discard Both Crutches
« Reply #3 on: January 21, 2014, 03:25:22 PM »
Kevin -- can you transition to a cane or walking stick first? As long as you havent been told you must be on minimal weight bearing for a full 6 weeks. It's almost like you've just got to give it a go and try it --- the first few times you will feel unsteady and it definitely feels different -- you need to practice to get the hang of it. Your hip will support you. You just need to figure out how to re-engage all the other core muscles that keep you balanced and upright.

With my  first HR I found that I felt pretty steady at 3 weeks and started transitioning to a cane while indoors. By week 4 I was using it all the time and by week 6 I walked into the doctor's office for my post op appt and he told me I didn't need it. I think I just needed to hear him say it and it gave me the confidence I needed/ It will be hard and your musclles will be sore, but you do need to work through that muscle soreness a bit. This time with my second hip I transitioned to a cane in 2 weeks and have been walking unassisted since week 3. I think part of it is mind over matter :)

Work at your own pace, but give it a go and see how you do!
Right resurfacing, Dr. Gross, 7/11/13
Left resurfacing, Dr. Gross, 12/11/13

johns567

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Re: When To Discard Both Crutches
« Reply #4 on: January 21, 2014, 06:17:09 PM »
Kevin,

I am just 5 wks short of my HR and went to one crutch after 3.5 weeks. The past couple days I only use one crutch for longer walks. I can get around  without crutches but am still not 100%. Your physical therapy will make all the difference in when you leave them entirely.

whyme

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Re: When To Discard Both Crutches
« Reply #5 on: January 22, 2014, 12:15:06 AM »
I got rid of the last crutch between weeks 7 and 8. I knew because the limping was almost not noticeable when walking aid free, and I could gradually walk longer and longer distances before the limping started to creep in.
So I did the transition between weeks 6 and 8 if I remember correctly, by adding "sets" during my walks where I would lift the crutch until it started to feel uncomfortable or I noticed limping, then used the crutch again.
Left hip resurfacing (Conserve Plus) 2013-09-04
Dr. De Smet

Pat Walter

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Re: When To Discard Both Crutches
« Reply #6 on: February 11, 2014, 12:53:23 AM »
Kevin

Many surgeons tell you to use a crutch until you don't limp when not using the crutch.  If you still feel like you need one, then - you do need one or a cane. 

I gathered your posts to make a story for the main website and wonder if you can tell me the name of your surgeon?  I like to categorize the stories by surgeon.

Good Luck.

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

ronjoe

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Re: When To Discard Both Crutches
« Reply #7 on: April 13, 2014, 04:08:20 PM »
My HR was with HSS Dr F Boettner Feb 28, 2014.  I was told full weight on day one.  It hurt so I didn't.  Sent home with written instructions that said 2 crutches for at least 3 weeks.  At about 2.5 weeks I was cheating and using one crutch here and there around the house.  This was about the same time I didn't need narcotics, pain killers.

At my follow up visit March 24th I was cleared to use just one crutch until I felt comfortable without. I transitioned myself to no crutches a few days later.  Didn't get a cane. 

I saw somewhere else on this site someone walking 5 miles with hiking poles by week 6.  Dr Boettner advises that walking may cause stiffness and instead advises physical therapy for strengthening and range of motion.

How did I know?  Pain is a guide.  Discomfort? Gradual transition, step by step day by day relying less on assistance, crutch testing with more weight, more steps... more until... good luck!

Miguelito

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Re: When To Discard Both Crutches
« Reply #8 on: April 14, 2014, 04:36:10 AM »
Hello! Five miles at week 6 sounds nutty. If someone can do that without issues, great for them, but that has to be an aberration and not something I imagine any doctor with a brain in his head would advise.
Mike
RHR April 2012.
LHR March 2014.

Both Biomet Magnum/Recap 54/48, by Dr. Thomas Gross.

Jason0411

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Re: When To Discard Both Crutches
« Reply #9 on: April 15, 2014, 10:24:14 AM »
My femoral head collapsed due to a combination of doing too much to soon and a trip.
RBHR Mr McMinn 6th December 2011.
Tripped and crushed head under cap 31st January 2012.
Self repairing.

whyme

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Re: When To Discard Both Crutches
« Reply #10 on: April 15, 2014, 10:42:38 PM »
I just looked at my notes, during week 6 I walked: 8, 9, 8, 8, 8, 10 and 11 km (broken in 2 or 3 sessions each day). That might look like a lot, but for me it was fine.
Other people started swimming after 5 weeks or so, but I didn't feel it so started after 3 months.
I avoided cycling outdoors until 6 months after surgery, for me the risk of falling was a no-no. Now I'm still cycling between 25-35km once a week, I see others easily double that.
Some people started stretching from maybe 2-3 months after surgery, getting back into their yoga etc, but I'm still avoiding it.

So it's hard to say what is too much or too little...

Left hip resurfacing (Conserve Plus) 2013-09-04
Dr. De Smet

China Lady

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Re: When To Discard Both Crutches
« Reply #11 on: April 16, 2014, 12:01:29 AM »
Quote
So it's hard to say what is too much or too little...
there is NO "too little"!
each of us wants to be back to our normal life. all the small things are some kind of training; to pull on socks, go grocery shopping, reach the restaurant on the first floor, have a spring walk ....
"too much" your body will tell you, if you are still able to listen. he speaks through pain, aches, sourness, stiffness .............
recovery is no competition! it is a long time project and not a question of "can do earlier/faster/longer than you".
to come back to the original question:
3 1/2 month after the bilateral surgery I mostly use 1 crutch when I am tired or feel unsecure to support my weaker side. when I ride my bike, I use light hiking sticks. at home I often walk unaided.
 
..... I will find out

Tim Bratten

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Re: When To Discard Both Crutches
« Reply #12 on: April 16, 2014, 11:44:26 AM »
Hello! Five miles at week 6 sounds nutty. If someone can do that without issues, great for them, but that has to be an aberration and not something I imagine any doctor with a brain in his head would advise.
Mike

Mike:
I'm sorry to see that you think my recovery has been some kind of an aberration, but I still hope my efforts to post my personal story might be of interest to someone. My posts are not meant to be advice to others, they are simply ongoing records of what my life, after hip surgery, is like. If anything, I personally feel I am taking it easy for my recovery, and I certainly slack off immediately at any indications of pain. However, if you, or anyone else here feel my posts are causing problems, I will certainly remove them. FYI two years post-op De Smet seemed quite pleased with how I had recovered from revision surgery (and looking at my records I see  I had indeed hiked my first five mile hike with the poles at less than six weeks). De Smet is much more Laissez-faire about recovery protocols than some other doctors, but I believe he still has as good a success rate as anybody out there.
« Last Edit: April 16, 2014, 11:47:20 AM by Tim Bratten »
Botched LHR by Dr. Vilicich 06-17-2010 revised by Koen De Smet 02-14-2012
RHR Koen De Smet 02-05-2014

Miguelito

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Re: When To Discard Both Crutches
« Reply #13 on: April 16, 2014, 02:33:48 PM »
Hi Tim,

Please accept my apology. My comment was unnecessarily harsh. I just threw it out late one night not having read the source the other poster referred to. I should have taken the time to read up a little more and made a more reasoned comment, or not commented at all.

Mike
RHR April 2012.
LHR March 2014.

Both Biomet Magnum/Recap 54/48, by Dr. Thomas Gross.

China Lady

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Re: When To Discard Both Crutches
« Reply #14 on: April 16, 2014, 03:36:13 PM »
dear guys! that's so great on this site, from "left to right" every opinion has the same weight. both of you are right in your own opinions. sometimes it is not easy for all of us talking free about deep personal matters, but we try our best.
Tim, it is great that you can achieve this progress in a short time. I feel more comfortable with Mikes sentences.
there is only one thing I don't like here: this competition thinking. that is wrong!
as Mike wrote; it is good that you can do what you are doing. but shall we make people feel bad because they can not be this strong?
I believe, Tim, that was not your intention. as I have learned there are some basic rules, independent from the mind thing: the bones need 3 month, (110 days), for healing. the next 110 days you need to be careful not to bring stress to the injured area.
you don't need to listen to this advices, its a free world! 
so, don't feel insulted Tim; and Mike, there is no point to be sorry for
..... I will find out

Pat Walter

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Re: When To Discard Both Crutches
« Reply #15 on: April 16, 2014, 03:44:58 PM »
Mike - Nice to explain yourself.

It is always difficult when someone has a really fast recovery since most don't.  I was criticized many times to the point I stopped posting on the other group about my recovery in 2006.  I am a De Smet patient and most of us were off and running quickly.  I only used one crutch for 3 weeks and was walking a mile a day before I flew home.  I was sight seeing 5 days post op - although rather slowly and not to far - but out and having fun and mobile. 

We are all different and I encourage everyone - slow, fast or medium to report their experiences.  We just have to realize that we all heal differently.  I don't encourage anyone to try to speed their recovery by forcing themselves to go beyond normal activity.  A person can do harm and even lose a resurfacing if they act foolishly.  There are many stories about people that did too much and pushed too hard.  We get our hips fixed so we can enjoy a new pain free, active life.  A little patience goes a long way since you are getting ready for a new life with a new hip/s. 

Be kind to each other and share your stories.  We can learn from them all.

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

oldsoccerplayer

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Re: When To Discard Both Crutches
« Reply #16 on: April 16, 2014, 07:46:37 PM »
Quote
I encourage everyone - slow, fast or medium to report their experiences
Thanks for that Pat. I was feeling guilty to report that I was on two crutches for just over a week then using a cane for about a week before I was walking unassisted. I didn't record distances but I built it up slowly, only doing as much as felt comfortable mostly walking up & down my street so I was never far from home when I got tired.
BioMet Left Hip Resurfacing, Dr. Gross, 07/2013

Tim Bratten

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Re: When To Discard Both Crutches
« Reply #17 on: April 17, 2014, 02:22:14 PM »
Well I hope I wasn't being too much of a drama queen, hijacking this thread and all. But thanks, Mike for your thoughtful reply. No harm, no foul.

At any rate, going back to the OP, for me, getting rid of the crutches was a gradually process. For the revision I switched to one crutch for longer walks fairly early on (before 2 weeks) and switched to hiking poles around 3 to 4 weeks. Moving around unassisted was also a gradual process: first a bit in the hotel room in Belgium, then around the kitchen and the house, then at the office, etc. Because the HR was sorer at first, I used  two crutches for longer walks until about 4 to 5 weeks and then switched to hiking poles. Also, moving around unassisted for short bursts took longer (e.g. it was 3 to 4 weeks before I even felt comfortable moving around the kitchen without a crutch at hand). In both cases I still used 1 crutch (or a cane) occasionaly for getting around until about 7 to 8 weeks, at which point I shelved these items for good. For the revision I continued to use the hiking poles on long hikes until about a year and also used them several times afterwards for rougher mountain hikes with a backpack (I mention this because I never used trekking poles before surgery, so using them was a conscious decision). I'll have to see how this goes for the HR (I'm 10 weeks postop) but things seem to be doing great right now.  And yes, in both cases I did complete a five mile hike (without pain) using trekking poles before the six week mark.
« Last Edit: April 18, 2014, 11:19:34 AM by Tim Bratten »
Botched LHR by Dr. Vilicich 06-17-2010 revised by Koen De Smet 02-14-2012
RHR Koen De Smet 02-05-2014

whyme

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Re: When To Discard Both Crutches
« Reply #18 on: April 17, 2014, 11:09:04 PM »
Hi,

Good discussion!

China Lady, I agree to disagree on this one... Sometimes people do too much, and some times too little during recovery (I'm not talking specifically of hip surgery now).
We all want to be back to 100%, yes, and all students want to get the best marks in their exams, etc etc but not all put the time and the sustained effort required. We let ourselves down sometimes.
We all know people that don't follow their doctor's advice, in spite it would be on their best interest to do so.

In my case, as explained in this and other threads, I haven't done anything outside the guidelines given by my surgeon. He told me I could walk as much as I wanted, as long as there was no pain or issues. So I did. Many times I felt more comfortable walking or standing than sitting, where my hip area used to get sore after a while.
I measured the distances precisely, only because I've a GPS watch and thought it was better to use it than to let it rust in a drawer :-)
In fact, I actually slowed down on the walking after 2 months because the other hip was complaining!


Left hip resurfacing (Conserve Plus) 2013-09-04
Dr. De Smet

LDG

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Re: When To Discard Both Crutches
« Reply #19 on: April 23, 2014, 10:36:04 PM »
Obviously listen to your doctor but I was using the walker 3 hours after surgery, was using a cane on day 4 and was using nothing on day 10.

It's day 14 and I just walked 1.5 miles.

Everyone recovers differently and every doctor has a different protocol.

 

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