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Reminder: These are my personal experiences with regaining some mobility, but I am not a doctor, and everything written in this post should be used for informational use only and is not substitute for individual medical care or advice.
When I had hip replacement surgery I lost a ton of mobility and most of the things I was able to do before surgery are not longer possible and if they are it takes twice as much effort. My doctor has told me numerous times that I was only going to continue to get stronger and that may mobility return to what is was and it took time. In the beginning I believed my doctor but after needing a hip revision only a year after the original hip replacement that completely reset my recovery I started think that I’d never regain mobility. In the last couple of weeks I started to notice some positive changes my mobility in my mobility that started to give me hope again. I have had to completely reverse the way I walk up step because normally lead with my surgery leg but I haven’t had enough strength to do it that way. I stopped trying to walk up steps the way I used to do it because I haven’t been able to do it for so long that I assumed that the way I am doing things now is my new reality. Last Sunday something felt different and I go a sudden urge to want to try it again and to my surprise I had more mobility than I thought I did and was able to walk up a reasonably high step when I was convinced I couldn’t . There is still a lot of progress to me made and doesn’t look pretty but even small progress is still progress. I do not know exactly what caused me to gain more mobility because it could have just taken time to regain strength. In this post I am going to talk about what I think contributed to more mobility.
I stretch daily- When you have hip replacement surgery doctors are always telling you how important exercise is to regain mobility but there is not a lot of emphasis on stretching. I have been told countless time that I need to do more exercise and every exercise that you think I haven’t done I mostly definitely have and it didn’t work as well as people think they do. Recently I decided I was going to focus more stretching rather than exercise and started doing some yoga stretches and have felt a huge difference. I want to be clear that the yoga stretches I do are very gentle on my body and I am not doing anything crazy like practicing my splits or forcing my body until positions it should be in because that is how you break bones. Exercise is great but you should never underestimate the power of stretching because flexibility training loosens stiff muscles and allows you to perform exercises more effectively. I am not stretching for a long time and I am only doing thirty second intervals twice a day but you don’t need to stretch for hours a day to get the benefits of it because you can also increase your time as you become more flexible.
I do less exercise- When I first started walking after hip replacement surgery I walked a lot and was doing several laps around my house every couple of hours because in the beginning it was necessary. I started to notice that I was tired all time and was not always able to do my exercises and I came to realize that it was because I was exercising too much. l have not totally given up on exercise because you have to move to regain strength but I focus more on doing things for myself and practicing practical skills rather than doing laps around my house that I probably would not have kept up with long-term. If I didn’t do an hour and half long weighted routines I probably could have kept up with walking workouts but since I was it was causing my arms to get extra fatigued make making me over train. Exercise important after hip replacement surgery and by no means and I telling to you to keep your exercise to minimum but overtraining is something that can happen and will affect your progress. I exercise less because you don’t need to be exercising constantly to regain strength and it’s important that you give your body rest to keep improving which I wasn’t doing a lot. Most people can weight lift and do walking workouts but I walk with crutches and use my arms to walk and it can be difficult to do both because my arms don’t get a break.
My supplements may play a small role- When I had my originally hip replacement surgery I was not taking supplements consistently but recently started to taken collagen and turmeric to support joint health because I have pain my wrist probably from lifting weight and typing all the time. I am not suggesting the supplements I take probably are the reason I have more mobility but it could have played a small role in building strong bone because these supplements support joint health . The supplements I take have helped me have less joint pain but I want to remind you that supplements are not miracle cures and even though it works for me that it doesn’t mean it will give you the same results because supplements alone cannot replace exercise, healthy and stretching.
My weighted routines may have helped– When people think of strength often the first thing that comes to mind is arm workouts and sometimes it can be assumed that you don’t work any other body parts but strength training works often works multiple muscle groups and can work your entire body. My entire exercise routine is weighted and mostly targets my arms but it can work other muscle groups such as hips because I do a lot of twisting and balancing exercises where I have to use my hips to prevent to stabilize myself and prevent from falling. It is hard to say how much hip strength I get through my workouts but I do think some of my exercises have helped me improve my strength because you will gain strength anytime you add resistance.
I massage my leg- When I was doing physical therapy after the original hip replacement surgery a physical therapist told me that if I massage my leg that it could help reduce some swelling. I never took that advice because for the longest time a light touch was painful and the thought of massaging my leg sounded horrible. When my pain started to become less I decided I was going to do some self massage as tolerated and feel so much looser because of it. I do not massage my leg for a long period of time because it’s still very painful but you don’t have to do it thirty minutes a day and you can see improvement by only doing it for a few seconds. If you have some swelling and could benefit from self massage I would recommend that you start small and only do fifteen to thirty second intervals or maybe less depending on your tolerance because you don’t want to cause yourself too much pain and that is usually your body’s way of telling you stop.
I cleaned up my diet– Most people know that to get stronger you have exercise but it doesn’t end there and your nutrition plays a massive role in reaching your strength goals. After hip replacement surgery I gained weight which is not surprising when you can’t do a lot of exercise but it was still a wake up call. I feel like I am at a healthier weight now and do not think it was all bad because muscle mass and swelling both played a role in my increased weight but I also knew I was not eating as healthy as I could have been because I was stressed and using food as a coping mechanism. Healthy eating plays such a huge role when you are trying to regain strength because if you are eating poorly you will feel sluggish and not want to do your exercise.
Hip replacement surgery recovery is frustrating for anyone and although it takes people with Spina Bifida take longer to recover from hip replacement surgery because those muscles don’t work it still can take an able-bodied person several months to recover. In the last few weeks, I have gained some mobility, but it does not mean my recovery is over because I still can’t do full leg extensions and on days, I am more fatigued sometimes I can’t do steps at all but even though it’s small progress it’s still progress. These are some things I think may have contributed to more strength, but I couldn’t tell you what made the most difference because I do so much all at once and may never know and it could have been one of these things or none of them. Strength after hip replacement takes time and does not happen overnight but don’t lose hope because if you are doing your exercises and stretching consistently more mobility will come when you least expect it. How do you improve your mobility after hip replacement surgery?
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