Pain with hamstrings after Total Hip Replacement.

Posted by mhowe04 @mhowe04, Sep 3 8:10am

Since my surgery about 6 weeks ago I continue to have terrible pain with my hamstrings in the operative leg. Stretching exercises help for a short period of time as well as using a TENS device. The pain only comes when I’m horizontal.
Muscle relaxers and pain meds don’t help. Please share any thoughts about this

Hello, I see this is your first post to Mayo Connect. We'll try to help by sharing our experiences.

I have had 5 hip replacement/revision surgeries. After one of my revisions, I had hamstring pain. Upon further analysis, we (the surgeon and I) figured out that he had placed a slightly larger cup & ball, to fix a dislocation issue and it was stretching the hamstring when I laid flat. My body was also feeling very assaulted by having 3 surgeries in only 13 weeks, it took the form of many angry nerves, muscles and tendons.

Time and stretching were the only cure – it took about 8 weeks working with the PT and doing stretches 4 times a day – as soon as the incision was healed enough, we added pool walking & stretching.

In the mean time, I got some relief when lying down by placing a rolled towel under my buttock, and a small pillow under my knee. That took the pressure off the attachment point and relaxed the tendon. It was an experiment to find out what worked.

After several weeks, I also realized the more time I spent moving and the less sitting/lying down, the better it felt. And that a hard chair with a thin foam cushion when sitting was better for me than a recliner or sofa – seemed illogical at the time, but the PT explained that soft surfaces cause irregular and unpredictable pressures on the body.

Believe it or not, you are in early days yet, so patience and coping mechanisms as you recover will help. What did the surgeon have to say, other than giving you pills to take?
Sue

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Hello @mhowe04. Welcome to Mayo Clinic Connect. Like Sue, I will share my experience in the hope that it will be helpful to you in deciding how you wish to proceed.

I scheduled a Total Hip Replacement (THR) for November, 2019. I was advised by my orthopedic surgeon and a local PT that many people do not require PT following these large joint replacements so initially I just followed my orthopedic surgeon's advice and slowly returned to a workout routine 3 months after surgery. I managed to injure soft tissue in my surgical hip no matter what I did. Including swimming. Finally, I requested PT but then the pandemic hit and PT was delayed. I finally had PT in August of 2020 that helped a little. I'm going to share below what was most helpful to me as I continued throughout 2020 and early 2021 to have pain in my surgical side hamstring and lower back.

I saw a PT at Mayo Clinic, Rochester, when I was back there for other medical appointments. She thoroughly assessed me and provided me with stretching and relaxation exercises that are yoga-based. None of these exercises are taxing or require the type of yoga you see on TV.

My surgical hip is not as strong as my non-surgical hip. So I unconsciously compensate for that and without guidance on my form and my walking gait I just kept reinjuring myself. I went back to PT earlier this year and focused on strength. Then, I went to personal training where I received a medical discount although I had to pay out of pocket. The personal trainer watches my form and gait very carefully and has been so helpful.

Six weeks is very early in your recovery. At six weeks I was walking with a cane but still having difficulty finding a comfortable position for sitting or sleeping. But the more I forced myself to walk the better I felt. Did you see a PT after surgery who gave you exercises to do at home? If yes, can you call or schedule an appointment with the PT to get suggestions like Sue did on how best to position yourself when sitting or sleeping?

I know how hard it is to be patient. Please keep telling yourself that your recovery will take the time your body needs.

All my best to you,

Helen

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