Hip Arthroscopy Recovery Diary: 4 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 of what to expect, here is a hip arthroscopy recovery timeline for one person:

How I’m Feeling

My hip was a little sore earlier this week, but the last few days has been feeling good. Always important to try to do more when I’m feeling like this, but can be hard not to overdo, since it usually doesn’t get sore until the next day!

Progress

  • This is the week that I get to start weaning off crutches. My surgeon, PT, and I are all on the same page here. This is not a step to rush. I will still be using crutches for a while, but it’s really exciting to start to put more weight on my leg and knowing the crutches are on their way out!
  • Hopefully, I will be getting in the pool this week. I wanted to go last week, but some of my incisions are not cooperating. They are healing well, but not fast.
  • Now that I can weight shift more, I’ll be able to get on the floor to add another exercise or two.
  • I’ll start going for walks this week! Granted, they’ll be super slow walks about 5 minutes long and I’ll still be using two crutches and not putting full weight on my leg, but you have to start somewhere.

Precautions

  • Gradually increasing weight bearing, still with 2 crutches. Being careful not to do so much that it starts to increase the hip pain.
  • Avoid movements that cause pinching.
  • Be careful lifting my left leg, help it out if needed.

What I’m Working On:

  • The main thing: The beginning of walking. Good form (especially not letting the pelvis tip forward), normal movements, gradually increasing weight.
  • Weight shifts. Get the left hip ready to be on its own soon.
  • Lying on my stomach for at least 2 hours per day.
  • Ice as needed.
  • Ankle pumps if I’ve been in one place for a while.
  • 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
  • Tall kneeling- some balance with turning my head, some moving the pelvis and shifting weight.
  • Bridging on a ball.
  • Hip hinge.
  • Bike (upright stationary)
  • Pool

Notes

  • Some surgeons want more time on the crutches, others less. My surgeon (and for that matter several of the other surgeons that I know of that specialize in this) requires at least 4 weeks of partial weight bearing. Depending on other concerns, it might be longer. He would rather have me still on crutches at 8 weeks or more if it was needed, though most people are off by about 6 or 7 weeks.
  • I have two criteria for progressing crutch weaning. 1) No increased hip pain. 2) No limping. People are sometimes so desperate to get off crutches that they’ll limp around until they’re sore. It’s actually faster to get to normal walking patterns to use the crutches a little longer if needed but avoiding limping. Added bonus, it hurts less.

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