Henry Warner Hip Resurfacing Week 3

“I feel good”, stated Henry Warner!  As you may recall, a couple of weeks ago I reported that I was feeling good “considering” all that I had gone through with the operation.  Today (Day 21), however, I am genuinely feeling good.

I am now able to dress and undress myself completely without the use of any aids, like the grabber tool or the sock tool.  Yay!  Admittedly it is still a bit of a challenge to get the sock onto my operated leg’s foot and to tie the shoelace, but I can do it.  This is a big step forward, as far as I am concerned.  I am also driving quite easily and I can now get into the car and behind the steering wheel in a fairly natural maneuver, rather than having to hoist myself in and drag the operated leg into the car.  This is dramatic improvement over a week ago.

I am also walking quite easily and most of the time without even a noticeable limp.  I found myself cruising the aisles of the local Safeway yesterday thinking to myself that a week and a half ago I was visibly hobbling on one crutch and now no one could tell that I’ve recently had a major operation.

Henry Warner also resumed his weight training during this past week.  The first two weeks I pretty much just walked and did easy spinning on my bicycle trainer.  This past week I started strength training in addition to the walking and bicycling.  I am doing both upper body and lower body exercises, but being careful to not stress the operated leg beyond what is comfortable.

I also had my first physical therapy session this week.  The therapist worked over my thigh and knee area with an ultrasonic massaging device, then followed that with a manual massage.  Next my lower thigh area was treated with electro-stimulation and iced.  I have to admit that the leg ache felt decidedly better after just the single physical therapy session.  I left there with some assigned exercises that were considerably tamer than what I was already doing at home in my home gym.

Quite truthfully, I felt good enough today (Day 21)  that I felt like I could have gone for a slow, easy jog.   There is no danger of that, though, as I am not going to do any running for a very long time – if ever.  I have pretty much convinced myself that I can be challenged and satisfied by sticking with biking, the elliptical and swimming for cardio workouts.   I have to think that all the running I have done in the past 45 years has taken a toll on my joints.  I really do not want to end up with a huge collection of artificial joints, so I am resolved to try to make my current joints last as long as possible.

I have read some articles that claim that there is no positive correlation between running and osteoarthritis.  Even though there are many well documented cases of very old runners, who seemingly have unaffected joints, I know that my own personal experience suggests otherwise.  As any runner knows, there is a special satisfaction in going for a long run, especially when it feels easy, the sun is shining and the breeze is gentle.  But in my case, any long run in recent history resulted in stiffness, achy knees and achy back.  I don’t feel that way after a weight workout, bicycling, elliptical session or swimming.  My thinking is that my body is sending me a message that all the jarring is not good a good thing.  Will I miss running?  Probably.  So we’ll see how my resolve holds up.

But back on the subject of my recovery, I am amazed at how quickly I appear to be getting back to “normal”.  Dr. Prithchett has me on a ninety degree restriction for the first six weeks, so I am halfway there.  The ninety degree restriction is that I must avoid bending at the hip joint such that the angle between my torso and operated thigh is less than ninety degrees.  One example where it is quite easy to violate the restriction is by simply sitting in a chair and bending forward to pick up something off the floor.

The six week, ninety degree rule is to minimize the risk of a dislocation.  The risk of a hip dislocation is low, per Dr. Pritchett (like 1%), but can be a major setback if it occurs.  It is my understanding that the dislocation risk is higher due to the fact that the incision was slightly to the posterior of my side, as opposed to the anterior option.  The tradeoff is that the anterior approach has a higher risk of damaging blood vessels and other tissues than the posterior approach, but the posterior results in a higher dislocation risk during the initial healing period.  This is my understanding, but I could be mistaken of course.

The bottom-line, though, is that I have had no problem accommodating the ninety degree rule and I have never felt like I was in any danger of over-stressing or dislocating the hip.  Henry Warner is looking forward, though, to unrestricted movement in just three more weeks!

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