hip replacement recovery scar

12 months after – a total hip replacement recovery story. Was 2020 the strangest year ever?

2020 was a strange year for so many reasons. At the beginning I thought it was going to be a total hip replacement recovery story. In the end it was much more than that with a new job and lockdown being thrown into the mix.

January 2020

In the beginning it went a little wrong

The start of my total hip replacement recovery story
Feeling rough post Op
12 months after - a total hip replacement recovery story. Was 2020 the strangest year ever? 1
Covid started out as a bit of a joke

Total Hip Replacement Recovery Story

Last month of the Naproxen/ Paracetamol combo to control the pain, not being able to walk far, and being woken at night each time I turned over.

The operation on 20th Jan didn’t go brilliantly due to an infection, but my hip was replaced (and the old one shown to me to prove it was arthritic). I walked out on crutches four days after the operation.

The pain wasn’t too bad but I was very tired, couldn’t move far and realised even going to the toilet was an exercise in balance.

Home injections were no fun, but got quite good by the end.

In other news…

Before the op I lunched a couple of times with ex-work mates, not realising how little I’d see of them this year.

Being redundant I had time on my hands, so started helping with an online business supporting one of my favourite things – cakes and silicone cake moulds (at Moldyfun)

Post op I wasn’t up for concentrating, so worked my way through several box sets on Netflix. Narcos anyone?

Someone mentioned Coronavirus but I thought nothing of it.

February 2020

But by Feb I was out and about in London.

The Lounge Kittens were playing one of their last gigs in London, and I was there on one crutch!
The last showing of the Lounge Kittens in central London
12 months after - a total hip replacement recovery story. Was 2020 the strangest year ever? 2
The Lake District was a walkers’ paradise (unless you have a new hip)

Total Hip Replacement Recovery Story

Start of the month still felt tired and struggled to walk far on two crutches, but enjoyed other people putting my socks on until I mastered the sock tool.

By the end of the month I was on one crutch and walking fairly fast, and for over an hour.

Also nice to be able to sleep normally, and not go through the whole crutch finding fiasco if I got up in the night.

Ended the month as the poster boy for hip replacements at a funeral, being twenty years younger than most other “hippies”.

In other news…

My first big night out was to see the Lounge Kittens in London, and do some gentle swaying while the people in front bopped their way through,

Got offered priority entrance as was on crutches. One small upside of the hip replacement. Being bundled by commuters on the tube was a downside.

At the end of Feb I was walking in the Lake District. albeit on the flat and as far as the pub. The rest of the people I holidayed with went up a hill…

Back to driving again too!

March 2020

New job, no crutches and then a lockdown.

Hip replacement recovery means ditching the gadgets eventually - so no more crutches
Hip replacement gear finally put away
Covid was no longer funny as the shops ran out of toilet roll
Covid wasn’t funny any more. Unless you liked toilet roll humour

Total Hip Replacement Recovery Story

Finally came off the crutches and moved on to a walking stick for a couple of weeks (just for balance and when tired).

Still had twinges walking far, but was upping the physio exercises to include planks and lots of sideways leg raises (as the consultant had asked)

The physio at (active8rehab) warned me not to overdo it as this could cause problems that would take longer to fix. Falling over could also cause a breakage, so care still required.

However all the tools were put away at this point, including the raised toilet seat which had been worth its weight in…ummm…not quite gold but…

In other news…

Started a new job, only to find myself part-time working as Covid hit. It wasn’t going to be for long, so I didn’t worry.

Then lockdown kicked in and all my new joiner introductions were done over video. Weird way to meet people and no beers allowed.

Had one final night out with friends, being the only people in a hotel bar in Bracknell sharing a bowl of chips.

Soon after shelves and roads emptied as we all stayed at home.

Video calling and virtual quiz nights became a thing.

April 2020

Excitement and fun with music videos, hair cuts and dance moves

David Bowie home made music videos were part of covid lockdown
Not David Bowie.
Lockdown haircut disaster in hip replacement recovery timeline
Lockdown mishaps were funny for a while

Total Hip Replacement Recovery Story

Able to dance around a room and walk into town quite happily, although there was no point as the shops were shut.

Had ongoing groin pain from overdoing some plank exercises from the physio, and felt tightness in the top of my thigh when rotating, like a muscle pull.

Definitely couldn’t do the “arabesque” but then I was never going to be a ballet dancer.

Did my first light bike right, but took it easy with the physio’s warnings about falling off and breaking the joint ringing in my ears. Apparently it takes a year for the joint to be full strength again where the bone has fully grown round the implant.

In other news…

Lockdown continued, and in the wave of initial novelty and enthusiasm home-made videos were popular. My version of David Bowie’s Life on Mars was nothing like David Bowie’s Life on Mars.

My Taylor Swift impression was worse, but I successfully threw toilet rolls across the screen as part of a challenge.

Homemade haircuts were a necessity. Thankfully mine didn’t end up like a friend’s, which is wife found funnier than he did.

Work calls all moved to video which meant you did get some insight into the mess in other people’s houses before virtual backgrounds became common.

May 2020

Enjoying the peace and cycling some distance, not much socialising though

12 months after - a total hip replacement recovery story. Was 2020 the strangest year ever? 3
Dorney Lakes by bike, and enjoying the peace and quiet
M25 completely empty in Covid lockdown
M25 in rush hour, usually nose to tail…now you could play crossy-road without dying

Total Hip Replacement Recovery Story

Started to do some cycling as part of the recovery. Kept it flat and higher revolutions as the physio advised, but was regularly cycling over 20 miles without pain.

Worried a little about falling as the bone was strengthening but kept it safe.

The physio also told me I wasn’t walking properly, but that was partly due to my years of muscle wastage and a whole host of bad habits.

He suggested walking to a mirror and back without rolling but I concluded teaching an old dog new tricks is actually quite hard.

In other news…

The sun was shining, and part-time working at least gave me the chance to explore the local area by bike, write a blog and do some online shop building.

NHS clapping took off at 8pm each week.

On my road a nice lady walked up and down making sure we were doing it loudly and for long enough. The kids hid behind me and occasionally waved at the neighbour.

Did a lot of work in the garden as I worked my way through a list of jobs. If I had known what was coming, I would have slowed down and saved some up.

June / July 2020

Feeling good and relaxation begins with bikes, blokes and an occasional beer

12 months after - a total hip replacement recovery story. Was 2020 the strangest year ever? 4
Can’t beat the White Cliffs experience
12 months after - a total hip replacement recovery story. Was 2020 the strangest year ever? 5
Coffee and cake during a ride – and with other people!

Total Hip Replacement Recovery Story

By six months things were good. The physio told me my walking was still all wrong, but got me doing different exercises to strengthen muscles which “had been sliced apart” as he put it.

Got signed off by the surgeon as a success (although none the wiser on infection), and given the hope that with advances I wouldn’t need a second replacement too soon, unless I “did an Andy Murray” and pushed it too hard.

Pretty pain free but still feeling twinges when pushing some of the stretches. For example, if I laid on my back I couldn’t lift the leg without it being too painful.

That said, cycled 100 miles in a week, so can’t be too bad!

In other news…

Got down to Dover to see the sea in my old home town. Can’t beat the view in the sunshine.

Brilliant to be able to walk along the pier, when before I had to turn back for tea and coffee much sooner.

Lockdown started to relax and we all started to feel a little more positive, albeit with some limitations.

Cycling in groups was allowed and we could even squeeze in the occasional coffee stop in the sunshine.

Started back at work full-time and struggled with the 5 day week after so much time off.

Luckily I had some holidays booked to look forward to.

August 2020

Holidays and walking distances, socialising in sixes and much to look forward to

12 months after - a total hip replacement recovery story. Was 2020 the strangest year ever? 6
Chobham common wasn’t the only thing on fire
12 months after - a total hip replacement recovery story. Was 2020 the strangest year ever? 7
Anyone recognise this film set?

Total Hip Replacement Recovery Story

Realised was now putting socks on without effort (able to cross legs over) and walking for long periods with no pain at all.

A friend’s Mum who had her replacement in the same week as me was struggling due to the leg length alteration, so I count myself lucky mine seemed ok.

Played a bit of cricket, although had a mental block when it came to running. Not sure why but felt it wasn’t safe. Just a me thing.

Hip flexor still paining me (no sit ups, no lifting leg off floor when on my back) but all very manageable.

In other news…

Managed a holiday up north in the UK.

Spent time sat in beer gardens enjoying the Covid table service, although there was confusion on masks and bar ordering. Can thoroughly recommend Northumbria – plenty of space to socially distance.

The rule of six applied, although often this meant tables were pushed together.

Celebrated my birthday with carrot cake. Well into midlife now.

September 2020

Actually saw people in an office, much more flexible and with little to no pain

Cycling in Norfolk in the rain, but no issue for the hip replacement.
A weekend away in the rain…good for the soul and the hip
Curfews and tiers in lockdown reminded me of when i sent the kids to bed
Curfews and tiers. Just like when I used to send the kids to bed.

Total Hip Replacement Recovery Story

Comfortably cycling up to 40 miles a time unless I was on a road bike when the position pinched after a while.

Didn’t stop the punctures and rain though.

Continued physio exercises, and able now to do the one leg arabesque. It’s not the getting over but the getting back up that’s hard. Ballet dancing here I come.

Can recommend using exercise (elastic) bands for leg strengthening. Doing a crab walk with these makes you realise you can still improve.

In other news…

Last outing of the year was a cycling weekend in Norfolk. I’ve never been so wet but the raspberry muffin in one cafe was something to behold.

Went to an office a couple of times (in a hospital ironically) until once more restrictions knocked that on the head. It was strange chatting in the office – so much easier than video calling but so much more distracting. Have lost the art of small talk.

Went for a drink with friends to beat the incoming 10pm curfew rule, and ended up making it last until the early hours. A first and last in 2020.

October 2020

Curfews curtail fun, my hip proves its strength and I have more time to exercise

Broken cleats caused me to fall off my bike which could have hampered my hip replacement recovery
Broken shoes thankfully didn’t break the hip
Everyone was getting a bit bored with the whole lockdown thing
We all had had enough of Covid by this point…

Total Hip Replacement Recovery Story

Fell off my bike four times in one ride due to broken cleats onto my ex-bad hip. People I was riding with refused to let me continue as I was a health risk (to myself). It proved that the join was solid, although it bruised as much as after the operation!

Some things I can’t do on left side compared to right (side plank leg lift), but things noticeably improving even after all this time.

Tightness sometimes around the top of the hip. Took to walking again as it had dropped off the list of exercises. I found it did make a difference and gave me something to do in lockdown.

In other news…

Excitement that Christmas might be on, so started to plan outings and parties.

The curfew kicked in and you could only go to pubs if you had a big meal. It meant we all ate more and drank faster.

Warnings started to circulate of a new lockdown coming, just as the house was becoming more peaceful with everyone off doing their own thing,

November 2020

Indoor zwifting counts as socialising as Zoom calls don’t feature much in this lockdown

Zwift for middle aged men was a key part of the hip replacement story
Zwift for middle aged men
Online beer tasting in Covid 19 proved you can get drunk online
Online beer tasting proved you can get drunk online

Total Hip Replacement Recovery Story

Upped the quantity of Zwift miles as evenings were now dark and cold, but found the seat position did cause a pinching pain in the hip and a tightness on the outside when pushing too hard.

That said, I was racing and managing to hold my own in my category, albeit that was the bottom one (D).

At least lockdown meant I continued with some morning stretches. Definitely worth keeping these going as I could still do more on my good side, and improvements were still being made.

In other news…

Got to the pub for some socially distanced Christmas drinks in a group of six, in what we hoped might be the first of many. Then the Covid cases started to rise and it all went the other way.

It was too cold anyway and two hour stints were not enough to make it enjoyable. Awkward greetings were the norm as no one knew whether to fist pump, elbow or just wave from a distance.

Ended up with online beer tasting as pub replacement which proved you can get drunk by yourself. It is all a little strange once you click off and sit there. No walk home to sober up and no kebab.

December 2020

Christmas celebrations muted, but plenty of cake to keep me quiet so more cycling required.

Gingerbread house helped pass time in lockdown
Housebound with a gingerbread house
Zoom calls are the enduring thing of 2020...
The image of 2020.

Total Hip Replacement Recovery Story

My year ended with having done over 1400 miles outside and 400 miles Zwifting.

I continued with stretching exercises most days, but got the occasional twinge if I overdid it. This was especially in the hip flexor, and sometimes on the outside by the scar it still felt tight. But it wasn’t the same pain, more of minor muscle pull than unable to walk pain.

I was disappointed when someone asked why I was limping – thought I’d cracked that one. More mirror time required (but I look so old..).

The scar still looks quite impressive, but even now no one wants to see it….(but I sneaked in a photo anyway).

In other news…

Christmas meant no parties, no after work drinks, no office meetings and only myself to work through the mountain of cakes being produced at home.

As lockdown 3.0 kicked there were some upsides.

The lockdown meant I at least persevered with the physio exercises, hadn’t rushed recovery and saved my liver,

On the downsides… oh, there were lots of those…

Outside of lockdown there were others – I won’t even mention the fiasco that was Donald Trump .

So 2020 went out with a whimper, with no New Year’s Eve party. The only wish was for a better 2021, for everyone.

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