long term recovery/hip

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I have had a THR July 03, titanium/ ceramic, uncemented. I have had an uneventful recovery and am back to full activiies. I am experiencing a limp which my doctor says will go away in time. I have had no therapy after the original post-surgery home therapist, but I am attending an aquatic arthritis class twice a week. Is this limp to be expected and for how long?

-- Donna Allen (teacher1@bright.net), November 30, 2003


Limp may be due to varying causes. You may have a difference in leg length, or some residual tightness in the soft tissues (especially at the front of the hip limiting extension), or the most probable cause is residual weakness of certain groups of muscles. If you tend to sway towards the operated side as you walk, you may need to work especially on strengthening those muscles that take the operated leg out to the side. These also have to work hard to stabilise the pelvis as you stand on the operated leg to move your "good" leg, which is why the tendency is to throw your weight over to that side. Other muscles which often need work are the hip extensors, (Gluts). Ask at your hydrotherapy class for specific exercises to target these muscles. It can take 3-6 months for these muscles to be back to full strength, and less marked improvement in your walking may be noticed for up to 2 years post-op!

-- Rosemary Wightman (r_wightmanac@hotmail.com), January 09, 2004.

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