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Thread: Coming back after hip replacement - a couple questions

  1. #1
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    Coming back after hip replacement - a couple questions

    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?

  2. #2
    Very Active Member ForceDJ's Avatar
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    Re: Coming back after hip replacement - a couple questions

    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

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    Re: Coming back after hip replacement - a couple questions

    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.

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    Re: Coming back after hip replacement - a couple questions

    Quote Originally Posted by MSK View Post
    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.

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    Re: Coming back after hip replacement - a couple questions

    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.

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    Re: Coming back after hip replacement - a couple questions

    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?

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    Very Active Member ForceDJ's Avatar
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    Re: Coming back after hip replacement - a couple questions

    Quote Originally Posted by Sumorunner View Post
    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/b...placement-1109

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

    Dan

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    Re: Coming back after hip replacement - a couple questions

    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!

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    Re: Coming back after hip replacement - a couple questions

    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.
    Last edited by Gdavis; January 15th, 2017 at 06:56 PM.

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    Re: Coming back after hip replacement - a couple questions

    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.

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    Re: Coming back after hip replacement - a couple questions

    Better to go back into swim mode slowly rather than go too quickly and get injured.

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