Hip Arthroscopy Recovery Diary: 2 Weeks

So you want to know how long it will take you to recover from hip arthroscopy, huh? Quite a while, that’s all I can tell you. Each person, each hip, each surgery is different. You need to talk to your surgeon and your physical therapist to know what you are allowed to do and when, because it will depend on what surgery you had, what your surgeon’s protocol is, and how your recovery is going.

However, if all you want is an example to give you an idea, here is a hip arthroscopy recovery timeline for one person:

How I’m Feeling

In some ways, much better. My head feels a little more clear and I am not feeling wound quite as tight. (Surgery really gets the sympathetic nervous system going! Breathing exercises to save the day*…)

On the other hand, I’m a little cranky. It’s so hard to get from point A to point B (even when point A is my bed, and point B is my bathroom 10 feet away). I’m also tired of the limited positions I can be in. I can sit, but if I sit too long, I get more swelling. I can lie on my stomach (and I have to to get my tummy time!) but that only lasts about 30-45 minutes at a time before I’m done. Otherwise, I’m on my back, usually trying to get my hips as straight as they will tolerate… which is usually at least on a wedge pillow and sometimes something under my knees. Ugh! So much more hip flexor stretching to do later!

Progress

  • I get to drive! It’s my left hip, so since it’s 2 weeks and I’m not on pain meds, I get to jump behind the wheel! Ahem. Okay, I get to slowly and cautiously get in the car and finagle my crutches in. But nonetheless, FREEDOM! (For those of you with right hip surgery, sorry. Usually you’re not cleared to drive until 4 weeks.)
  • The CPM (continuous passive motion) machine is gone. I’m glad that I don’t need it anymore, but it did offer a change in position at night.
  • I get to start the bike this week. Usually my surgeon has a person on the bike before this, but with extra precautions due to COVID and therefore less PT, this will be the first time on the bike.
  • Stitches are out.
  • I can let my foot rotate more, so I don’t need to wear the boots at night anymore!
No more of this!

Precautions

  • 30% weight bearing on my left hip until 4 weeks, with my foot flat on the ground.
  • Avoid any movements that cause pinching.
  • Avoid lifting my left leg. (For example, I use a strap to help me lift it into bed.)

What I’m Working On:

  • Lying on my stomach for at least 2 hours per day.
  • Ice often.
  • All the ankle pumps.
  • Isometrics (so, tightening the muscles and holding them for about 5 seconds) for my glutes (butt), quads (thighs), abs and pelvic floor.
  • Hands and knees rocking (being on my hands and knees with my back flat and moving my hips back toward my feet)
  • Cat/cow
  • Having my sister move my hip twice a day.
  • Tall kneeling- I love this one! Starting to work on gradually introducing weight bearing.
  • Bike

Notes

  • For those who do desk work, sometimes you will be cleared at 2 weeks to return to work. I have a physical job. Weeks more to go before I get to go back.

*Most breathing exercises sound too simple too work, but if you find yourself feeling overwhelmed or stressing out about every little thing after surgery, they can really help! One I like is box breathing:

Box Breathing

  • Breathe in through your nose for a slow count of 5.
  • Hold your breath for a slow count of 5.
  • Breathe out through your nose for a slow count of 5.
  • Hold for a slow count of 5.
  • Do 3-5 times as often as you think of it throughout the day.
  • No, really. It is that simple, and it does help!
I was wound so tight after surgery, I took overthinking to a whole new level. The right after surgery level. Breathing helped. I bought the socks, though. They’ll remind me to breathe!

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