As you are reading this I am officially 30 days post-op. After my hip labrum repair, after 30 days I was told by my surgeon that I could cease using crutches and was able to start a course of PT where I not only worked on not only ROM but strengthening my hip.
Recovery from Proximal Hamstring Surgery is a bit different. As I cross this 30 day mark I am still living the #crutchlife. On the positive side – I do not have to wear my brace at home and have started to sit in a regular chair and therefore transitioning back to the work bunker. On the negative side – I still have to wear the hip brace at night with a bent knee and dealt with swollen legs from the lack of movement.
With the exception of doctor appointments and an exciting trip to CVS and Starbucks this past weekend, I pretty much have been sequestered to the house. Mark still is the lifeblood of the household, a true Rockstar. I don’t know how recovery would be going if I had to do this alone or with an un-supportive spouse. Mark’s been able to work from home, but has transitioned back to 1/2 days in the office.
This past Friday was the first day that I was actually home alone for the ENTIRE DAY. He did leave me breakfast but it was up to me to make lunch. I did a pretty good job if I do say so myself. Nothing fancy and it was easy enough to crutch my way back to the work bunker.
BUT it’s all about baby steps forward. It’s a sprint not a marathon, and I keep telling my self each morning when I wake up that I’m one day farther from my surgery and one day further in my recovery journey.
What’s Next On the Recovery Agenda
BUT -excitement abounds in the Ciccio household this week, however, as I get to start Physical Therapy on Monday! This means not only getting out of the house, but my surgeon wants my therapist to start weaning me off my crutches and brace! Unfortunately it does not mean strengthening until at least 8 weeks post-op. In all the reading I have done prior to my surgery, this is the standard protocol.
And in all honestly – I really need to work on just moving and massaging my right leg. My right leg has atrophied so any attempts at strengthening my hamstring would not be helpful.
To be honest I am excited and a bit nervous to start weaning off crutches at this point. I mean, I have not put any pressure on it in 30 days, so I know I am going to be pretty cautious for a while. As Mark said -I am going to have to re-learn to walk comfortably and will probably be tired as I start this new phase in my recovery.
BUT – I have followed my doctor’s instructions up until this point so now it’s time to start engaging those hamstring muscles and continue moving (literally) forward!
12 Things I Have Learned Thus Far
- You will have to learn to rely on other people. This was (and still is) so hard for me. Your recovery depends a large part on not moving so that you can heal. Having a support system in place before surgery is imperative.
- Remember recovery from hamstring surgery is long – it’s a marathon and not a sprint. DO NOT OVERDO IT! I cannot express this enough because remember – anything “extra” that “feels” good now MIGHT set you back more than you realize.
- You won’t be hungry for the first couple of days BUT it’s important. Unfortunately, I learned the hard way after my last surgery, so Mark made sure I had food at all times.
- Try and wean yourself off the narcotics as soon as you are able. Yes- you will be in pain/sore but I found that after the first couple of days I was able to wean myself off them, taking Tylenol as necessary. One caveat – if you are in pain – take the pain medication, that’s what it’s there fore but don’t use it as a crutch. You just had major surgery and it’s going to hurt!
- There is no getting around it but sleeping will be uncomfortable. You just have to get used to it and learn to “love” sleeping on your back. I am a stomach sleeper so it has been quite a turn of events. Luckily I have eventually been able to lay on my side (with the brace still on) as long as I keep a pillow between my legs.
- If you can – a hand held grabber is a game-changer. This really helped me because until you master the one-legged crane squat, picking up things you drop is hard.
- Even with a brace, I highly recommend putting one or two pillows under your knee. This will ensure that it stays bent (thereby keeping your hamstring relaxed at all times) and helps with swelling.
- Showering is a challenge – a hand held shower head was helpful as sitting was hard.
- Related – showering everyday is probably not feasible because it takes a lot of effort and a lot of time. Invest in shower wipes (see below).
- I’m not going to lie but using the toilet is also hard. I did start out using a raised toilet seat. This works for some, but for me it presented more problems. I learned through trial and error to “hover” and was eventually able to sit (not comfortably) “deadlegged” on the toilet.
- Recovering from hamstring surgery will make you tired – naps are your friend!
- And lastly – make sure you have some good books and movies to help you pass the time.
My Top 5 Post-Op Essentials
- Extra Wide Adjustable Laptop Stand – I was lucky to be able to take 2 weeks off after my surgery. Unfortunately, when I returned to work, I was still unable to sit in a chair. This “desk” was a lifesaver!
- Comfy Stretch Pants – Face it, you’re going to be lounging for the foreseeable future after surgery. They are stylish, stretchy enough to pull on and off (carefully) yourself, and will fit under the bulky brace. What more can you ask for.
- Body Wipes – As mentioned above, it will initially be challenging to shower after hamstring surgery. These were great to help me feel (and be) fresh day in and day out.
- Crutch Pads – Another little thing to make your life easier. You are going using crutches for a while, so why not make what limited mobility you have a bit easier.
- An Elevated Toilet Seat – Although this did not work for me, I have seen many others rave about this product. If you can find out that fits to your toilet it can be a game changer.
And Two More (Just Because)
- A Coloring Book and High Quality Markers – Helps keep boredom at bay.
- Oil Diffuser and Essential Oils – Might as well make the room where you will be spending a lot of time in smell nice, right?