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View Full Version : Coming back after hip replacement - a couple questions



Caitief
December 30th, 2016, 05:27 PM
I'll be starting again next week after seven weeks off after my major hip replacement. My healing is much longer than usual - it was a complex surgery since I was born with arthritis hips.

What can I expect? I have a feeling flip turns are out. Will I be able I use my fins? Do breaststroke and fly?

I plan on cutting the workouts our coach puts up in half and seeing how that goes.

Anything else I should know?

ForceDJ
December 31st, 2016, 12:18 AM
I haven't had hip replacement (yet, but I think one is in my future). But I'd just get in and swim to see how it feels and get use to it. Just swim. Maybe splash around, sculling. No "workouts" or anything strenuous. Just swimming. After a while maybe you'll feel like trying a flip turn. Then you might feel like pushing it a bit. Work from there. I'd be cautious. Definately don't want a TMTS situation. Good luck.

Dan

MSK
December 31st, 2016, 11:20 AM
I'm a physical therapist who has probably worked with a couple thousand people after hip replacement, although I only see them in the hospital and inpatient rehab the first week or two. Seven weeks is very early in the recovery. Most people report to me that they are not back to full strength for 4 months or even longer. Has your surgeon cleared you to return to pool? Do you still walk with a limp? a cane? a walker? Do you walk well enough to get in and out of the pool safely or is there a handicap lift? Many of the common surgical approaches have something called hip precautions for often about 12 weeks - ask your surgeon. If you have "posterior hip precautions" flip turns and breast stroke kick are absolutely out and dolphin quick questionable. If you have "anterior hip precautions" dolphin kick definitely out and the other kicks questionable. (Not all surgeons require hip precautions). Don't do any swimming unless the surgeon has cleared you (and understands what motions you intend to do) and make sure you know your medical restrictions. Start easy on the kicking probably stick with flutter kicks since they stress the hips less. Swimming is actually one of the best forms of cardio exercise for many people because it is low impact, but at 7 weeks post op it is essential to make sure you are medically cleared.

Caitief
January 1st, 2017, 06:43 PM
Has your surgeon cleared you to return to pool? Do you still walk with a limp? a cane? a walker? Do you walk well enough to get in and out of the pool safely or is there a handicap lift? Many of the common surgical approaches have something called hip precautions for often about 12 weeks - ask your surgeon. If you have "posterior hip precautions" flip turns and breast stroke kick are absolutely out and dolphin quick questionable. If you have "anterior hip precautions" dolphin kick definitely out and the other kicks questionable. (Not all surgeons require hip precautions).

Thanks for this!

The surgeon did clear me to go back into the pool, and knows what I'll be doing. He lifted all movement precautions at the last appointment as well.

I use a cane most of the time, but can walk (with a limp) without it now. I am a little concerned about getting out of the pool, but will be in the lane with a ladder.

MSK
January 2nd, 2017, 12:35 PM
In that case, just be really careful about slips and falls on wet floors and that ladder and gradually increase your swim workout as you would after any long break from training.

Sumorunner
January 2nd, 2017, 01:45 PM
Hard to believe there isn't some online forum just for hip replacement and exercise. I have an artificial aortic valve and found a valvereplacement.com forum where they discuss exactly that. There are people with repaired heart valves that do every sport you can think of. Also forums for pacemaker, stents, cardiac by pass, etc., so why not look one about hips?

ForceDJ
January 2nd, 2017, 06:05 PM
Hard to believe there isn't some online forum just for hip replacement and exercise. I have an artificial aortic valve and found a valvereplacement.com forum where they discuss exactly that. There are people with repaired heart valves that do every sport you can think of. Also forums for pacemaker, stents, cardiac by pass, etc., so why not look one about hips?

http://www.hip-replacement-and-recovery.com

http://patient.info/forums/discuss/browse/hip-replacement-1109

https://www.facebook.com/pg/hipreplacementandrecovery/

Dan

orca1946
January 3rd, 2017, 12:17 PM
I'm not an expert BUT after 5 hip surgeries I tend to recover ok if I move back into the pool practice slowly. No BR kick for a while 6-8 weeks seems to be ok. Lots of pulling sets. Flip turns are ok with me , just watch the hard push offs!

Gdavis
January 15th, 2017, 05:40 PM
I have rehabbed 2 hip replacements. I was back in the pool after about 5 weeks (when the wound was closed and healed) but I did not start swimming right away, instead I did a lot of progressive hyrotherapy exercise/PT to rebuild the strength of my muscles around the hip and the surgical wound. I then started a progressive return to swimming over a few months. (My surgery was actually hip resurfacing - very similar to hip replacement). Please PM me if you would like to hear about my experiences in greater detail. I recommend the forums at http://www.hipsforyou.com/ and http://surfacehippy.info/ Good luck with your recovery and rehab.

MSK's advice above strikes me as excellent, in my non-professional opinion. There are too many differences regarding surgical technique, prosthesis, individual patient factors etc. to be able to generalize on rehab protocols, so you should be relying on your individual surgeon, PT etc. for advice on specifics on limitations etc. My approach was to be very persistent, regular and patient with my PT, and to be more conservative than my instincts suggested, following all the restrictions. I took a "long game" approach on the theory that the prosthesis needed plenty of time to "settle in" with good bone strength taking 6-12 months, and continuing to improve thereafter, and that the last thing I wanted was to cause a failure that would put me back into surgical revision.

Swimspire
January 16th, 2017, 02:06 PM
Hi Caitief, I agree with MSK's advice. Medical clearance to swim is essential. Breaststroke and possibly butterfly are to be avoided until you are fully healed. I would also advise approaching the use of fins with caution. The fins force you to use your hips and knees more prominently during the kick, and this might be harmful as you are healing. Additionally, you should be careful when pushing off the wall during turns as this can also put pressure on the hips. If you can, I would advise working with a coach who is comfortable helping you during your rehab back into swimming - assigning drills and sets that will not be harmful to your hips as you heal, and slowly allowing you to get back to your regular training over a longer period of time.

orca1946
January 17th, 2017, 12:41 PM
Better to go back into swim mode slowly rather than go too quickly and get injured.

jtexplorer
June 2nd, 2017, 01:39 PM
MSK..... Thanks for your advice.
I am an avid swimmer and diver / snorkeler / cyclist..... 52 years old..... Just had my Left Hip Replaced 5 weeks ago (Lateral cut). My surgeon told me I could swim after 6 weeks. I read on a different forum that I should wait nearly 3 MONTHS before swimming.

I planned on getting into the pool beginning with my 6th week......

What has been YOUR experience with swimming WITH FINS? Any advice from swimmers??? I really really want to be back in the water ASAP......


I agree with those of you who are trying to be conservative but I am gaining weight and don't want to be so inactive....

orca1946
June 8th, 2017, 11:42 PM
I would hold off on the fins for a longer time. They put a lot of stress healing parts. Your feet will do for now.

ForceDJ
April 7th, 2018, 11:53 AM
I just received my total hip replacement (left) on 3/21/2018. I was looking for info/conversation germane to hip replacement and swimming, I searched the forum and resurrected this old thread...which coincidently I commented on a year-and-a-half ago. MSK's advice above does seem pretty forthright. Initially, my interest was/is in resuming flip turns. Can any of you who've received hips comment on resuming flip turns? BTW, I'm not permitted to even get in the pool for another couple of weeks (for water exercise...NOT swimming). Resumption of swimming will be permitted around first week of May.

After the surgery, the doc did caution me on certain leg positions, with stress on the leg, that are exactly like breaststroke kick. However, he's confusing me a bit. He'll tell me "You can't put your leg in this position...or in that position...because there's potential of dislocation." But then he'll continue, and then tell me "That hip is in there SOLID! You're not going to dislocate it." So I don't know what to think.

I began outpatient PT yesterday, and when I was initially evaluated by the head therapist, she said she was amazed at the strength that I've already regained, or never lost. She told me they're treating a couple of other guys my age who got new hips about two months ago, and that I'm already beyond where they are in recovery.

I hadn't even really considered that the butterfly kick would/could be problematic. Of course at my next follow-up with the surgeon (and PT) I will ask specific questions about those kicks.

Dan

orca1946
April 7th, 2018, 01:34 PM
Once all heals and is "locked in place" only a car crash or other traumatic incident will dislodge it. They say not to cross your legs like a guy would that rotates the hip but, if you move slowly into that position it seems to be ok.
Good luck in coming back. Do you feel much better now without the hip pain?

ForceDJ
April 8th, 2018, 10:40 AM
Do you feel much better now without the hip pain?


I do. And, interestingly, aches and pains that I had in my back, and knees also seem to be subsiding. I think that's becasue that while compensating for the pain in my arthritic hip, that I would stand/walk/run with my hip askew/misaligned. As you know, misalignment of that nature, over time, can have a domino affect and cause those aches and pains in other areas.

Dan

Karlene
April 9th, 2018, 03:08 PM
Dan, I will be following your recovery with great interest as I am also in need of a hip replacement (right). I'm trying to wait until the end of the year as I'd like to swim LCM/SCM in my new age group, get onto Medicare, and enjoy our daughter's October wedding.

orca1946
April 10th, 2018, 02:00 PM
Dan, I will be following your recovery with great interest as I am also in need of a hip replacement (right). I'm trying to wait until the end of the year as I'd like to swim LCM/SCM in my new age group, get onto Medicare, and enjoy our daughter's October wedding.

That sounds like a list of "to do things" before the operation. Be prepared to not enjoy the down time but, also be prepared to have a more comfortable life without the associated pain.

ForceDJ
April 11th, 2018, 11:30 AM
Dan, I will be following your recovery with great interest as I am also in need of a hip replacement (right). I'm trying to wait until the end of the year as I'd like to swim LCM/SCM in my new age group, get onto Medicare, and enjoy our daughter's October wedding.

Karlene,
I sent you a PM with some pre- and post-op info.

Dan

Fresnoid
April 15th, 2018, 10:34 AM
Gordon Paul won the 100 Fly at the World Masters Games last year 8 months after his first hip replacement. He subsequently had the other one replaced in August. He's swimming Free, Fly and IM events at Nationals next month.

http://www.fresnobee.com/living/liv-columns-blogs/carmen-george/article154870834.html

orca1946
April 23rd, 2018, 10:19 AM
After all the rehab, you will one day swim and then later say "wow - no pain today" and then realize that fact slipped your mind.

Allen Stark
April 29th, 2018, 11:13 AM
How long has it taken to get your energy back. My wife had her hip replaced 3 1/2 weeks ago. Mobility wise we both think she is doing great. She walks with a cane for balance support only. She says she is running out of energy in the early afternoon and is frustrated by that. She wanted me to ask if that is normal and when to expect energy to get better.

Gdavis
April 29th, 2018, 11:35 AM
How long has it taken to get your energy back. My wife had her hip replaced 3 1/2 weeks ago. Mobility wise we both think she is doing great. She walks with a cane for balance support only. She says she is running out of energy in the early afternoon and is frustrated by that. She wanted me to ask if that is normal and when to expect energy to get better.

That's very similar to my experience. It took me at least 4+ weeks to get reasonable energy back. Post-surgical healing, pain meds, after effects of general anesthesia, stress, disruption of routine and normal nutrition, blood loss in surgery.... there's been a lot going on. Good luck to her for a continued good recovery and rehab :) (Suggestion: she should hang on to the cane a little longer than she needs it when out in public - it signals to folks out there that they should give her extra space and reduces the chance of being pushed or bumped.)

JennyA
September 18th, 2018, 05:49 PM
New to the forum and feel lucky to have found this thread by googling "breastroke" and "hip replacement." I'm a lifelong swimmer, never competed in H.S. or college but have dabbled in Master's on and off for the past 30 years. I am three weeks post first hip replacement (anterior approach) and my doctor just cleared me to swim. It's been months since I've been in the pool, and predictably have lost a lot of strength and endurance. Things were a bit tentative today as far as kicking, as I've already been chewed out once by the P.A. for walking too much after surgery, and I do not want to get crosswise with her! I made an adult decision to limit kicking to flutter kicks for now, and I realize I forgot to ask if and when I could do butterfly and breaststroke kicks. I wasted too many years unsuccessfully trying alternatives to surgery, with the result that things just got weaker and weaker and range of motion drastically decreased. I'm now having to claw back from that, but it will come in time.

I am reading these posts with interest! As soon as hip #2 gets replaced in early October, life can really begin in earnest!

cathym
March 26th, 2019, 08:47 AM
I just had a hip replacement last Wednesday. I am mobile and I think the swelling is more troubling than the pain. I was in pretty good shape pre-op but find I fatigue quickly-how long did it take your wife to regain her endurance? I will have the sutures removed on April 4th and the surgeon is big on aqua therapy so I will be allowed to swim at that time. I haven't competed for some years now and don't plan to compete again-except for an local open water this summer so I am not thinking about speed just the enjoyment of swimming.

renie
March 27th, 2019, 11:28 AM
orca, is it ok if I PM you about your surgeries?