#Advice: Preparing for Hip #Surgery

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Somehow I managed to tear the cartilage lining my hip socket, which is called the labrum. Since I opted to have it repaired and not resected, my recovery required me to keep weight off of my leg completely (non-weight bearing) and to not bend the hip past 90° (hip flexion) or turn the leg inwards (internal rotation). Here's some products that I used and advice that I followed to make my recovery as smooth as possible.

The bathroom required the most additions to make sure I obeyed the rules set by my surgeon.

  1. Toilet seat elevator: Get ready to feel like you're potty training all over again. I used a Moen Locking Elevated Toilet Seat with Arms to raise the height of the toilet seat. Friendly reminder: wipe under the inner rim and the underside of the appliance, or else it will get very stinky very quickly. Also, be prepared to feel like you're falling off the edge of the world when you remove the seat elevator and try to sit down.
  2. Two-tier Step Stool: This goes into the bathtub so you can sit in the shower. I used a Cosco Two-Step Molded Step Stool. It was the perfect height that let me slide from the edge of the bathtub to the top step of the stool.
  3. Detachable shower head: I used the KOHLER Awaken Multifunction HandShower to bathe every night. If you go for this, you'll also want a...
  4. Suction cup hook: Make sure it's strong enough to hold the weight of the shower head. I used an Power Lock Suction Hook that came with an old dorm set I had from college. Attach it to the wall of the shower so the shower head doesn't swing back and hit the wall it is installed against (remember, you can't bend forward to retrieve it!). Also, it prevents you from getting a faceful of water anytime you put it down to lather up.
Some other advice:
  • If you have a low platform bed like me, put another mattress under your existing one so your hips don't bend past 90°.
  • Along the same lines, place extra cushions on your couch and kitchen table seat so you follow the rules.
  • Make sure you're strong enough to swing your weight around on crutches. Depending on your physical fitness, your surgeon might recommend attending physical therapy before your surgery to be sure you handle the crutches correctly and efficiently. Otherwise, here's a simple arm strength test for you. Sit in a chair with arms, and place your hands on the arms. Lift your body up using your arms and hold for 15 seconds. If you can do it, you're strong enough (in my personal, unprofessional opinion).
  • If you have surgery in the summer, forget about wearing pants - at least to sleep. Not only is it difficult to get pants on, you'll be too uncomfortably hot to want to keep them on. I wore oversized shirts and underwear, but your preference may differ.

I had the arthroscopic surgery twice, first in the Fall of 2014 and then in the Summer of 2015. I recommend opting for a fall/winter surgery, since you're probably less active in the colder months anyway. It's easier to thermoregulate (and you won't be wanting to tear your pants off in the heat), and you'll get out of shoveling snow ;) My second (summer) surgery was more intensive than the first, because the surgeon made the bone bleed (a process called debridement) so strongly that I required compression stockings to prevent blood clots. This was extremely uncomfortable in the summer heat and humidity, but it might've been easier to handle in the fall/winter.

There are two products I purchased but I did not use. First was an E-Z Reacher Pick Up Tool that a lot of websites recommended. I wasn't active at all, and if I did drop something, like a tissue, I wasn't desperate to pick it back up immediately. The second product was a loofah-on-a-stick that was unnecessary because I opted for a handheld shower head that reached everywhere I needed it to.

Best piece of advice? Go to physical therapy. Physical therapists are trained professionals who know the mechanics of your body better than you do. They'll make a treatment plan and follow your recovery progress, making changes if needed. They'll make sure you don't reinjure yourself.

Questions? Comments? Hit me up! (But not too hard - I'm fragile).

1 comment:

  1. Hi Katie, I wish you a speedy recovery! Would you like to receive a distant Reiki Healing? I wrote about it here: http://www.lilyseymour.com/2015/02/lifestyle-himalayan-salt-lamps-for-anti.html