I’m wrapping up my four week post-op, and I feel like I’ve come a long way in the past week! It’s so interesting to look back at where I was the week before and see that I can do things now that I wasn’t able to do before. I also find myself not necessarily thinking about HOW to do things – I just get out of bed, I don’t think about swinging my legs over. Getting into bed is still a little challenging, as the whole lift-legs-and-rotate bit is a little hard. Otherwise, things are moving along!
Wednesday – Post-Op Day 26
After some pretty busy days on Monday and Tuesday, and I was excited to not have to do a lot of things. More studying and reading, hooray! I actually felt really good on this day. Last time, I wrote that I felt like I still bent forward when I walk, but I feel like that’s gotten better, especially if I do more than just walk around my apartment. It allows me to stretch a bit and stand tall!
Workout-wise, I did all my physical therapy exercises and twenty minute on the bike trainer. I feel good biking, and we can start adding resistance soon so that’s great. I also did a little bit of an arm workout with some five pound weights just to get things moving a bit. Nothing crazy because I don’t want to put extra stress on my hips, but just something to break a sweat a little and maybe tone up these arms while I can’t do much with my legs. I will say that doing all this rehab is actually quite time intensive – by the time I do everything, it’s over an hour of exercises! I guess that replaces the time I would spend running, but running is much more enjoyable, so the hour flies by. Ah well, I usually watch TV or listen to music/podcast while doing my exercises, so it’s not all bad. But I do miss being outside. (I hate treadmills and don’t have a gym membership, so I run outside in most conditions outside of ice. Love being outside!) I did get a tiny bit sweaty, so I felt good about that.
And who knew five pound weights could be so hard to lift? So weak, ha.
I showered (old news these days), but I can successfully shave my legs so I consider that to be a huge plus. I also put on underwear without using the grabber, hooray!
I made my big trip of the day out to Staples. We’re a few weeks into the semester, and I had yet to organize things for my classes, so I have papers everywhere. Binders, please!! And I need some new pencils. I made the walk up to Staples, which is about half a mile each way. I thought about going without the crutch, but if I got too tired and wanted to take the subway home (one stop, ha), I would need my crutch for the stairs. Luckily all was well and I felt great! I didn’t move very fast, but I got it done. Staples has stairs to get down to all the supplies, so I was climbing back up those instead of using the elevator (trying to be a normal person), and a man said, “There’s an elevator over there!” to which I replied, “I’m trying the stair thing, but I appreciate your help!” I’m doing pretty good with stairs, but it’s a step-together-step-together type deal. Going up is much harder than going down. Getting there…
Otherwise, not the most eventful day, and I’m okay with that. Of note, two years ago today I did my first (and only…so far) half Ironman. Now I get excited about putting on underwear, ha.
Thursday – Post-Op Day 27
Ah, Thursday. I like this day at physical therapy because it usually means I get new exercises added since it’s close to the “week” mark since surgery. I woke up in the morning and had some coffee while reading some school stuff. Physical therapy wasn’t until 1pm, so I had some time in the morning. I did a little arm workout again and got a little sweaty before physical therapy, ha. I pondered walking over without my crutches, but I wasn’t sure how my physical therapy would feel about that, so I took it with me. I don’t really use it to walk, just a little help with the stairs if need be.
Of note, I put on a pair of shoes and tied them myself! First time since surgery.
We started with the usual massage of my quads and IT band (right side was WAY tighter than the left side) and some range of motion. My right leg feels much looser than it did before, so that’s great, and it seems like my range of motion overall is really much better than earlier this week/last week. Hooray! I have a tiny bit of pain at the end of my range, but the end point of my range of motion is getting bigger and bigger each week, so that’s great.
My PT watched me walk and said I looked a lot better. She commented that I don’t swing my arms, which I think I’ve been told before…especially when someone is watching me walk. I think I swing them in normal life…
Since I’m at four weeks post-op, I got some new exercises. So we’re up to this:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Side step. It’s very basic – I just step one foot out to the side, then bring the other foot to match it. Walk back and forth three times.
- Walk backwards. Out and back three times.
- Standing hip abduction. I stand, point my toe slightly in, and move it out to the side. 3 x 10 on each side.
- Prone leg lifts. Lay on stomach, left and extend one leg up, squeezing butt at the top. (Video.) 3 x 10 on each side.
- Bridges. Double leg. Squeeze butt at the top. Three sets of 10.
The new exercises are 12-16, and it’s exciting to move my legs in new directions (exercises 12-15) and to engage my hips/quads/abs/butt together (bridges). I joked with my PT that I wasn’t able to walk backwards very well before surgery because I’m not coordinated, but I did just fine in therapy. The prone leg lifts are probably the hardest new exercise. I feel a stretch in the front of my hip when I do them, but still no pain so that’s great. Bridges were easy and made me feel like I’m actually doing some work like I used to.
My PT said that at week 6 we can really start adding more things, so only two more weeks until then, hooray! I believe that’s because your joint should be much more healed from surgery, so you can start to stress it a little more. Until then, it’s really about letting the area heal without doing anything to cause pain or hurt the area.
When doing bridges, my PT asked if I had done strengthening prior to surgery. I had been taking Refine Method classes and doing the PT exercises I had been given before (although not as much as I should have, oops), but I did feel somewhat strong going into surgery. I’d also been running a little bit so it’s not like I was sedentary. I told her about Refine Method, and I think that’s one of the reasons why PT is going so well – I strengthened before, so I didn’t have to totally rebuild after surgery. (I also had a good surgeon, I won’t discount that!) But if you’re reading this and have surgery coming up – strengthen your abs, butt, and quads beforehand! It’ll help! I was told this before my surgery and I definitely think it’s worthwhile.
Anyway, my PT said something like, “So you want to get back to doing that, right?” to which I said yes, it would probably be good for me to get back to doing that, but I really want to run again. Maybe now I’ll take all the cross training a bit more seriously…
I finished up all my exercises (they take a long time, as you can see from the growing list) and went on the bike. Climbing on the bike should maybe be more difficult since I had both hips done, but I always use my arms to lift my body up and over onto the seat. My PT always comments on my upper body strength, which I think isn’t that great, but maybe compared to a lot of people it is! We added some resistance and I did two miles in ten minutes with RPM’s in the 80’s. A little ice and I was out of there!
I headed over to Trader Joe’s to pick up a few things. I set a five item limit so I wouldn’t be carrying a lot of stuff. Despite having my crutch with me, a couple people still managed to run into me, so that wasn’t so great. (It wasn’t even that crowded! Geez people.) But at least I did it.
Headed home and that was that. Cleaned up around the apartment a bit. I had a terrible time sleeping last night – not sure if it’s nerves (school + maybe having to move + life in general?), but I was still awake at 1:30am and wasn’t tired at all. I ended up taking a Benadryl because I didn’t want to be up until 4am like I was last week. (Mostly interesting because I never took anything to help me sleep when I worked night shift- I was very against that for some reason.) I think I was asleep just after 2am, so I guess that worked. And here we are!
Highlights: Putting on shoes with laces and underwear without assistance! New exercises at PT! Feeling better walking around.
Downsides: Not sure if my sleep problems are related to all this – maybe inactivity? I used to do so much more in a day activity wise, so maybe my body just isn’t tired. Hmmm.