Walking without a hip joint

Posted by dzoneill @dzoneill, Mar 10, 2017

Is anyone currently walking without a hip joint?

@lynzze

@dzoneill I am sorry to hear of your situation and I can totally relate to your situation however mine came in a different form. In 2005 I was in a head on collision with a semi which caused my left hip to dislocate (along with numerous other traumatic injuries) they were able to put my hip back into place without surgery however a couple weeks later when doing physical therapy it became dislocated again. So the decision was made to put hardware in to try and stabilize it from dislocation, which worked until my femoral head became necrotic a year later . At that point they decided to do the first THR …it was great …but it only lasted two weeks and then I got Staph infection and it had to be removed. So then they put in a concrete hip spacer.. Needless to say we went back and forth like this 4 times over the course of 7 years …everytime they put in a new hip I would eventually get MRSA/staph and they would remove it. Finally when hip replacement 4 became infected I was referred to Mayo Clinic .
Their recommendation was to take everything out and leave it out for at least a year. If I could go at least one year without infection they would try one last hip relplacement .
It was a long recovery process plus learning how to walk with a hanging hip but i actually stunned doctors a year later when i was walking without any assistive devices (i probably shouldve been using my cane at least lol) of course I had a major limp since my left leg was so much shorter but i made it work not only for one year but for 4 years!
Finally last year I went back and told them it was time, my lower back had been killing me so bad from my uneven gait.
June 6th I recieved my “Hail Mary” 5th total hip lol and I am so happy to say that so far (fingers crossed) i havent had any problems with infection. Im only 34 years old so I know its a life long battle but at this point in time thing are looking up!!

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So sorry about your issues.. My question is how did the hip become infected after it had been in or was it infected while it was being inserted?

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My hip had been damaged from radiation treatment before it became infected. It became infected from a cat bite.

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@cheryl99

My hip had been damaged from radiation treatment before it became infected. It became infected from a cat bite.

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@cheryl99 Im so sorry for your the problems your having This reminded me of my friend who had a mitral valve put in it was a mechanical valve then a couple of years later she had radiation for breast cancer the radiation melted her valve !She had to go through heart surgery again. Hope your doing infection clears up.

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@jbro

I would be grateful to hear about his recovery from the Girdlestone procedure. I will soon learn whether my hip replacement is infected and needs to be removed, and I want to know about all options. Thank you

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Hello @jbro. I am tagging a few members who have talked about having the girdlestone procedure here to come back and share their experiences with that surgery: @joeval and @geek_girl have both discussed this procedure and may be able to share a bit more about it.

@jbro, did your surgeon discuss this surgery with you as an alternative if the infection does indeed reach your joint?

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@JustinMcClanahan

Hello @jbro. I am tagging a few members who have talked about having the girdlestone procedure here to come back and share their experiences with that surgery: @joeval and @geek_girl have both discussed this procedure and may be able to share a bit more about it.

@jbro, did your surgeon discuss this surgery with you as an alternative if the infection does indeed reach your joint?

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No. I am in the last week of my 6-week daily antibiotic IV through a PICC line, which is the protocol being used to hopefully prevent the infection that was in my incision from getting to the prosthesis. After the antibiotic treatment ends, the doctors want to evaluate me for 3 months. If the infection returns, they have already recommended revision surgery, although the statistical odds of eradicating the bacteria are significantly reduced.

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@JustinMcClanahan

Hello @jbro. I am tagging a few members who have talked about having the girdlestone procedure here to come back and share their experiences with that surgery: @joeval and @geek_girl have both discussed this procedure and may be able to share a bit more about it.

@jbro, did your surgeon discuss this surgery with you as an alternative if the infection does indeed reach your joint?

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It should be noted that I am fully aware of the difference between revision surgery and the Girdlestone procedure. I am interested in knowing more about recovery from the Girdlestone procedure, and it’s effectiveness in eradicating infection, in the event revision surgery is not successful.

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Hi, I had a Girdlestone procedure in July 2018 due to cancer. I am currently undergoing radiotherapy treatment. I can walk with crutches or a frame and can get up and down stairs with one crutch and a hand rail. I do have significant muscle loss on my bad leg and it is also about 3cm shorter. I'm eager to walk again as unaided as possible. Any tips or advice would be gratefully received

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Thank you for sharing about your Girdlestone procedure. How do they immobilize the hip after surgery? How long after surgery did it take to walk with crutches or a frame? How long did they say it takes for the femur and pelvic bone to heal together so the pain diminishes and load bearing is possible? Thanks again … I am grateful for your time and knowledge.

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@peaky1966

Hi, I had a Girdlestone procedure in July 2018 due to cancer. I am currently undergoing radiotherapy treatment. I can walk with crutches or a frame and can get up and down stairs with one crutch and a hand rail. I do have significant muscle loss on my bad leg and it is also about 3cm shorter. I'm eager to walk again as unaided as possible. Any tips or advice would be gratefully received

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As I investigate further, I will remember to share any tips or advice I find regarding unaided walking after a Girdlestone procedure.

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@jbro

Thank you for sharing about your Girdlestone procedure. How do they immobilize the hip after surgery? How long after surgery did it take to walk with crutches or a frame? How long did they say it takes for the femur and pelvic bone to heal together so the pain diminishes and load bearing is possible? Thanks again … I am grateful for your time and knowledge.

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I was in ICU for 4 days with my leg in a foam block. Then on an Orthopaedic ward for 3 weeks. Began physio within 1 week of operation. I was walking very short distances on a frame within 3 weeks of the operation and on crutches within 5 weeks. I am fully load bearing on crutches and can walk about 30 meters before rest. I still have some pain after walking up stairs. Haven't been signed off by my surgeon yet but hope to get some longer term prognosis when I see him in December

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@peaky1966

I was in ICU for 4 days with my leg in a foam block. Then on an Orthopaedic ward for 3 weeks. Began physio within 1 week of operation. I was walking very short distances on a frame within 3 weeks of the operation and on crutches within 5 weeks. I am fully load bearing on crutches and can walk about 30 meters before rest. I still have some pain after walking up stairs. Haven't been signed off by my surgeon yet but hope to get some longer term prognosis when I see him in December

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I still sleep with the foam block for comfort

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@peaky1966

I was in ICU for 4 days with my leg in a foam block. Then on an Orthopaedic ward for 3 weeks. Began physio within 1 week of operation. I was walking very short distances on a frame within 3 weeks of the operation and on crutches within 5 weeks. I am fully load bearing on crutches and can walk about 30 meters before rest. I still have some pain after walking up stairs. Haven't been signed off by my surgeon yet but hope to get some longer term prognosis when I see him in December

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Thank you for the detailed explanation. I have a much better idea of what to expect if I have to travel the same path, and a much better idea of the questions I need to ask my orthopedist. Blessings to you.

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@jbro

Thank you for the detailed explanation. I have a much better idea of what to expect if I have to travel the same path, and a much better idea of the questions I need to ask my orthopedist. Blessings to you.

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@jbro best of luck. Just finding this group makes me feel more positive

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@jbro

I've had four surgeries, but never had a hip replacement hardware. I had broken bones that would not heal (radiation damage) that got infected. The last surgery was on 04/2017 removing some more bone from the top of my left femur (girdlestone) and removing the front part of my pelvic bone (due to infection). Note that this surgery was way more drastic than a regular girdlestone surgery. It was my fourth surgery, removed lots of bone, and I had a problem with the femoral artery, so I ended up with three large incisions instead of one. My muscles are finally getting stronger, but without the bones in there, my hip area is definitely unstable. Also since part of my pelvic bone was removed, my muscles don't work like they used to–the underlying framework is gone. A couple of times, I've tried to do too much physically which resulted in a terrible muscle spasm in my hip and thigh with pain that lasted for weeks. I need to learn to be more gentle with my efforts to recover.

My bones will not fuse together as they might for some people–they are too far apart. I think the scar tissue will continue to form in there which will add more stability over time. I've gotten a lot stronger since January of this year.

I am currently not able to walk without some external support. I am able to use crutches for short distances, but prefer a rolling walker as it is more stable and I can sit when I get tired. After the last surgery, it took several months before I was able to walk with a rollator. I was using a wheelchair until then. A few more months before I was strong enough to use the crutches. Now I am able to go up one step (or a curb) with both the crutches and the rollator. I have been able to go up a few steps at a time with a sturdy handrail on one side and a crutch on the other side. I avoid stairs. I don't walk very far with crutches. I can walk much farther and faster with a rollator. I am hoping one day to be able to walk short distances with a cane or one crutch, but I don't know if I will ever be able to walk unassisted again. I have difficulty just standing in one place for more than a few seconds.

My left leg is about 2.5 inches shorter than the right. I had the sole modified on my left shoe to add 1.5 inches. It makes walking and standing easier.

I use pillows when I sleep to help support my hip. I don't recall being immobilized after surgery. They used foam blocks on one side just for support. I use a leg lifter to get my leg in bed. It's a long stick with a loop at the end. I have to use my hands to reposition my leg sometimes or roll over in bed. I have to lift my leg with my hands into my car. I would not be able to drive a stick shift–I have an automatic transmission in my car.

I take Doxycycline forever to help prevent infection from flaring up. When I went off the antibiotics the last time, I had an infection within a month and was back in emergency surgery. They call it suppression therapy.

I definitely have less pain after the broken and infected bones were removed. But it took a few months to feel better because I had such a big surgery.

Whatever PT they give you, do it. It helps strengthen the muscles you need to walk. You can do it! The body is an amazing thing!

Liked by peaky1966

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@geek_girl

@jbro

I've had four surgeries, but never had a hip replacement hardware. I had broken bones that would not heal (radiation damage) that got infected. The last surgery was on 04/2017 removing some more bone from the top of my left femur (girdlestone) and removing the front part of my pelvic bone (due to infection). Note that this surgery was way more drastic than a regular girdlestone surgery. It was my fourth surgery, removed lots of bone, and I had a problem with the femoral artery, so I ended up with three large incisions instead of one. My muscles are finally getting stronger, but without the bones in there, my hip area is definitely unstable. Also since part of my pelvic bone was removed, my muscles don't work like they used to–the underlying framework is gone. A couple of times, I've tried to do too much physically which resulted in a terrible muscle spasm in my hip and thigh with pain that lasted for weeks. I need to learn to be more gentle with my efforts to recover.

My bones will not fuse together as they might for some people–they are too far apart. I think the scar tissue will continue to form in there which will add more stability over time. I've gotten a lot stronger since January of this year.

I am currently not able to walk without some external support. I am able to use crutches for short distances, but prefer a rolling walker as it is more stable and I can sit when I get tired. After the last surgery, it took several months before I was able to walk with a rollator. I was using a wheelchair until then. A few more months before I was strong enough to use the crutches. Now I am able to go up one step (or a curb) with both the crutches and the rollator. I have been able to go up a few steps at a time with a sturdy handrail on one side and a crutch on the other side. I avoid stairs. I don't walk very far with crutches. I can walk much farther and faster with a rollator. I am hoping one day to be able to walk short distances with a cane or one crutch, but I don't know if I will ever be able to walk unassisted again. I have difficulty just standing in one place for more than a few seconds.

My left leg is about 2.5 inches shorter than the right. I had the sole modified on my left shoe to add 1.5 inches. It makes walking and standing easier.

I use pillows when I sleep to help support my hip. I don't recall being immobilized after surgery. They used foam blocks on one side just for support. I use a leg lifter to get my leg in bed. It's a long stick with a loop at the end. I have to use my hands to reposition my leg sometimes or roll over in bed. I have to lift my leg with my hands into my car. I would not be able to drive a stick shift–I have an automatic transmission in my car.

I take Doxycycline forever to help prevent infection from flaring up. When I went off the antibiotics the last time, I had an infection within a month and was back in emergency surgery. They call it suppression therapy.

I definitely have less pain after the broken and infected bones were removed. But it took a few months to feel better because I had such a big surgery.

Whatever PT they give you, do it. It helps strengthen the muscles you need to walk. You can do it! The body is an amazing thing!

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It is heart-breaking to read what you have been through, but you have a testimony of inner strength and perseverance that is very inspiring. I truly hope your pain is now manageable, that you remain free of infection, and you continue making progress in finding your path to becoming more active. You will be in my thoughts and prayers.

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