THR walking well without pain at 4 weeks, then pain returned

Posted by deejay52 @deejay52, Feb 29 9:17am

I’m 71 years old. After my THR this January, I was walking well with a cane and even short distances with no cane at about 4 weeks. PT discharged me, then suddenly pain returned. I was doing their exercises and walking a mile or two every day, but suddenly I could barely walk or put weight on my leg at all. My doctor prescribed ibuprofen to “pull out” the inflammation as he thought pain was due to overuse. I’ve been faithfully taking meds and toning down my activity level. Now at 6 weeks, I’m not even back to where I was at four weeks.. It feels like I have one good day, then a bad day. Is this kind of up and down normal? Can I expect to be able to walk without a cane soon, or how soon? I was hoping to do some short trips in April, or is that just wishful thinking?

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@deejay52 Yes, healing from major surgery can be very much an "up and down" adventure - every one of my five hip surgeries was different, but your April goal is not out of reach - I just suggest you keep your cane handy.

Doctors tend to tell you "You're fine" if the incision heals, there is no infection, and the x-ray shows the parts are in the right place. At six weeks, your body has recovered from the major tissue trauma of the surgery, but muscles still need to mend, nerves to regenerate, and bone and femur implant need to grow together. Not to mention, as your doc may have, "you're not a kid anymore", so everything takes longer.

At this point, with your goals in mind, maybe you can request a couple of PT "evaluation and further rehab" visits to get you moving in the right direction. This shouldn't require a doctor visit, just a phone call and they can write a referral and Medicare covers as long as there is progress. You can ask PT for a gait evaluation - the new hip may have affected how you walk. Sometimes new shoes or an insert can help. Other times, you just need to be conscious of the change to your body and move accordingly. The PT can also recognize if there are other issues the doctor needs to address.

Also, are you still using ice? At six weeks I was still icing my hip at least 3-4 times a day especially after exertion and at bedtime - this actually calmed the inflammation as well or better than ibuprofen. And it's free, and won't affect your stomach, liver or kidneys.

Hang in there! My original replacements were 18 years ago, the revisions were 12, and I'm still movin' right along.



I'm really sorry to hear about the ups and downs you've been experiencing since your hip replacement surgery. It's incredibly tough when you're doing everything right—following your PT exercises, walking, and taking care—but still find yourself facing setbacks. It must be frustrating, especially when you've got plans and trips you're looking forward to.

Have you thought about using something like the Breg Polar Care Cube w/ hip pad?

I know a ton of people who this helped speed up their recovery from THR.


Good days and bad days at this early stage. I think the healing and recovery is not a straight line and hits plateaus and seems to go down a bit before improving. You can try to keep a pain journal. You may be developing internal scar tissue. You may need more pt or therapeutic massage. Or you may just improve again. I find it is exactly as Sue states in her response to you. I think it’s very very unfortunate that surgeons do not address these issues. I hope with forums such as these there will be more attention/remedies and realization that recovery is complicated and has more issues to address even if the implant is perfect.


My surgeon told me a 3 mo check to use heat after exercise
I would do a pool workout, then sit in the not tub
After walking would use. Heating pad
Good luck

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