I’m deep in school mode over here with a bunch of exams coming up, but I wanted to post and update. As I’ve said each time, I feel better and better every day. Friday was the official seven weeks post-op mark, and it was also the first day where I felt like I was walking normally! Or as normal as I can remember walking to be. I officially came off the crutches about three weeks ago, but my range of motion has still be limited. My steps weren’t too big, and I definitely slowed down other people when I was walking with them. At physical therapy on Friday, one of my new exercises was challenging (we’ll get to that), so my PT wondered if my hip flexors were tight. She did some work on them, and not only did that particular exercise get a lot better, but my walking felt AMAZING after I felt. A couple days later and they feel a little tight at the end of my walking range, but it feels good overall.
Otherwise, most things are about the same. Everything gets easier day by day, and I think less about how I have to do something. Putting on socks is still a little rough, and tighter pants (leggings, skinny jeans) are a still a bit hard to get off my ankles, but I’m not complaining. I still have to think about how to pick something up off the floor, and I do a see-saw type thing/single leg dead lift type move instead of just squatting down and picking something up.
Super big news: finally removed the toilet seat lift from the bathroom, so I’m much less geriatric than before. We probably could have gotten rid of it a couple weeks ago, but I’ll admit it was actually kind of nice – bending to 90 degrees at the hips made me nervous for awhile, so just took that variable out. I feel much more comfortable about it now. (In other news, anyone want a shower stool that was only used three times [and is now bleached] or a grabber? Only used that grabber for like two days…)
Bumped up to 35 minutes on the trainer, although I only did once (maybe twice?) this week because physical therapy takes two hours on days that I physically go to PT and over an hour to do my exercises at home, so the time is adding up! Not to mention riding a trainer with little resistance is definitely not exciting. I study sometimes or watch TV, but I definitely miss the days when my study break was a short run. Not the same.
But! I am being a good patient and keeping up with all my physical therapy exercises. We added more exercises this week! Here we go…updates to old exercises are bolded!
- Flat back/pelvic tilt. Laying on my back, pushing my lower back into the table. Hold for five seconds, repeat thirty times. Helps core strength.
- Quad set. Legs flat on the table, push back of knees into table. Hold for five seconds, repeat thirty times. Helps activate quads.
- Quad stretch. Now that I can lay on my stomach, I lay on my stomach and pull my foot to my butt. Thirty seconds x 3 on each side.
- Hamstring curl. I stand next to the table and put a lot of weight on my hands (because of my weight bearing status), then bend at my knee to bring my foot to my butt. Three sets of ten on each leg with ankle weights. Week 7: Moved up to six pound weights.
- Resistance band wrapped on one foot and held with hands, point toe. Have someone hold resistance band on foot away from your foot, flex toe. Repeat 30 times, each leg.
- Sit on edge of table (reclined because although I can sit at 90 degrees, it’s not the most comfortable) with knees hanging off table. Lift foot to create a straight leg. Three sets of ten on each leg with ankle weights. Week 7: Moved up to six pound weights.
- Quadruped hip rockers. Video here. I got on all fours (like table top position) and slowly rock back, bending at my hips. It’s like aiming toward child’s pose, but definitely not that deep (yet?). Thirty times. Week 7: I can bend really far – not quite abdomen to thigh, but a couple inches away.
- Ball between the knees squeeze. Lay on my back with feet flat on the floor, ball between my knees. Squeeze and hold for five seconds, thirty times.
- Oblique twist/wood chopper with resistance band. Video here. Keep core stable while pulling across the body with the resistance bands. 3 x 10 on both sides. Ab work!
- Straight arm lat pull downs with resistance band. Video here. Keep core stable and pulling down with straight arms bringing hands to hips. 3 x 10. Ab work!
- Side lying hip abduction/leg lifts. Video here. Lay on your side, lift up your top leg! I’m not supposed to go very far (only a few inches), but it’s exciting to do something involving lifting my leg. 3 x 10 on each side. Works the glutes. Week 7: Add one pound weight.
- Side step. Step one foot out to the side, then bring the other foot to match it. Walk back and forth three times. Week 6 – added a yellow resistance band around ankles.
- Walk backwards. Week 6 – added hurdles to walk backward over. Out and back three times. Week 7: High hurdles! I can pick my leg up much better now.
- Standing hip abduction. I stand, point my toe slightly in, and move it out to the side. 3 x 10 on each side. Week 7: Don’t have to do this one anymore! Replaced with contra kicks.
- Prone leg lifts. Lay on stomach, left and extend one leg up, squeezing butt at the top. (Video.) 3 x 10 on each side. Week 7 : Added one pound weights.
- Bridges. Double leg. Squeeze butt at the top. Three sets of 10.
- Wall squats with stability ball. 3 x 10.
- Leg press (on machine). 3 x 10, used 60 pounds of weight.
- Balance board with balancing side to side and front to back. 90 seconds each.
- One leg balance on foam. 3 x 30 seconds, each side. Week 7: No more foam. Now stand on one leg and throw a ball against a trampoline and catch it.
- Contra kicks with green resistance band attached to stationary object. (Also known as hip flexion, extension, abduction, and adduction with resistance band. Seen here.) 3 x 10 each direction and each leg.
- Single leg mini squat. (Not sure how to to call this.) Stand on the edge of a mini step (about three inches) with one foot on the edge and one off the step. Lower standing leg to place other leg’s heel on the ground, then stand up. 3 x 10 each leg.
- Heel slides. Lay on back with feet flat on floor. Slide one leg straight on the ground and then pull foot back up to butt – heel on ground at all times. 3 x 10 each leg.
- Bent knee fall outs. Hold pelvic tilt. Video here. 30 each leg.
The bent knee fall outs are probably the hardest exercise I’ve had so far. (I feel hilarious saying that.) But it helps to stabilize the hip and works me on my end range of motion for external rotation. I don’t think I could sit cross legged yet (I mean…pretzel style, Indian style, criss cross apple sauce, not sure what you’re allowed to call it these days), so my external rotation isn’t back yet. I can cross my legs comfortably most of the time, although I try not to.
So you could say that’s pretty good! I feel fairly normally unless I have to change my vertical position (bending down, attempting to reach something high and realizing that’s a terrible idea). I did laundry for the first time since before surgery (my mom did it while she was here, and Eric has been doing it), and I kept dropping socks on the ground – lots of work to pick them up. But I still feel good, and I’m happy about that. I’m missing running in this perfect fall weather, but my hips definitely don’t think running would be good right now! (My walking range of motion is barely back, I can’t imagine running…)
I was supposed to have an eight week follow-up appointment this coming week, but I got a call saying they needed to reschedule everyone from that day, so now I can’t go until about week 10.5. A little said about that because I wanted to ask about running, returning to work….I like plans. I know those aren’t in the cards yet, but I was hoping to be cleared to do SOMETHING. I’ve heard you can use an elliptical around week 8, but I definitely don’t want to push too hard. There are times in life to push boundaries (hello, tempo runs), but I’ve been told multiple times that the key to this recovery is patience. What might feel like a step forward by pushing yourself will end up making you two steps back. (Even if they’re tiny post-op steps…ha! Couldn’t resist.) So more time on the super low resistance trainer it is!
Otherwise of note, I wore my 2013 Boston shirt to pt, and one of the staff ran that year as well, so we talked about that. He asked what my next race was…and I said…welllll, I think that’s a long way off right now! Hopefully not too long…at least I still look the part of a runner!