I should probably start…..

Balm Pots Mock up cream ….at the beginning. However, I’ve had some exciting new changes today, 7th January 2013. This morning at 7.15am GMT, I arrived at a local hospital in Manchester, scheduled for a Total Hip Replacement Total Hip Replacement. To say I was scared was very much understated. Mixed emotions and a feeling of surrealism as I’m led by a porter to my room. Mum and my long suffering other half are by my side yet I feel as though I’m not really here. So the beginning-Almost 22 years ago, I walked into my bedroom as an eleven year old girl and injured myself falling down and a poster that has become unstuck and landed on my floor. I recall trying to reach inside the wardrobe for my something. The rest is much a blur-screams, can’t weightbear, hobbling using the vacuum cleaner as a crutch to the top of the stairs. I’ve no idea how long it had taken to get me from my bedroom floor to the A and E department on Tameside, but it feels now like it took forever.

We arrived, mum asked for a chair as I couldn’t walk, I could not put weight on my left leg at all, the pain excruciating. My memory is somewhat clouded from that day, although I distinctly remember the emergency Doctor prodding my thigh and telling us to go home and put an icepack onto it as I’d pulled a muscle or had groin strain. So, an 11 year old girl, non-weightbearing, left foot turned out, in excruciating pain in my thigh. Go Home. So we did.

Ice, heat, exercise, no exercise, several trips backwards and forwards to our local GP. Nothing-no support. Everyone thought I was just a ‘mard’ kid, moaning and using my pain to excuse myself from anything I didn’t quite fancy doing. Family friends brought heat lamps, ice packs, crutches. No one could understand why it still hurt and why I was restricted. Fast forward almost 12 months-if i recall correctly it was maybe February 1992-the GP finally referred us back to the Orthopaedic Department at Tameside General. Xrays, tests, manipulation, asking me to stand, sit, lie down, turn. None of which was done on my original visit almost twelve months previously.

The diagnosis was clear. Slipped Upper Femoral Epiphysisor SUFE or SCFE, the ‘C’ in the USA being Capital. The first revelation was that surgery should have commenced within 15 minutes of presentation at A and E the first time around-FAIL. The fracture I had walked on for almost 12 months was irreparable. Salter-Harris growth plate fractures involve a fracture through the growth plate. Imagine taking a custard cream and seperating the top and bottom halves. That was the result. The head of the femur had slipped off the neck of the femur and growth plate. Ouch.

Treatment of this type of fracture usually consists of immobilization for a period of time, 4-6 weeks and surgery to pin the affected bone back into place. This had not happened. They had failed at primary treatment. I wasn’t even asked to stand up. As so much time had elapsed from the original fall, my femoral head had fused in the slipped position, imagine the ball joint falling off almost and fusion occurring before it can quite get the chance to topple off. The diagnosis ended in me visiting many different surgeons.

Referrals to Manchester Booth Hall, Nottingham Queens, Manchester Royal Infirmary. I saw doctors across the UK as far as Southampton. All were in agreement-something should have been done IN THE FIRST PLACE.

It became more and more apparent the original Doctor in A and e had made decisions that led to me not being operated on. Hip resurfacing wasn’t possible due to the remodeling and osteocytes that had occurred. Avascular Necrosis -death of the bone had occurred, flattening the head of the femur and deforming the entire bone.

My only option was Hip Replacement in my early teens. Almost 22 years on, a referral to Spire Manchester consultant on 8th November 2012 was the beginning. The real beginning started then and I look forward to a new lease of life without pain and restriction.

Hip replacement and exercise

Everybody knows how importantit is to exercise. Throughout our lives it is reinforced by health experts, doctors, cardiologists, on billboards, advertising everywhere that a minimum of X minutes a day or X days a week is optimum for our health.

When I had my hip replacement, I had been gradually less and less active over the previous 21 years. I was an active child, riding a bike, gymnastics, netball. Then in my final year of primary chool, SUFE hit. Gradually thorughout my teenage years my pain got worse. My mobility was instantly shot as my hip moulded into an unrecognisable mushroom. Gradually throughout my 20’s I started to put weight on due to my lack of mobility. It was painful and eventually I was unable to walk more than a few steps without exasperating, debilitating pain on top of the constamt jolts, shocks and ongoing pain that existed permanently.

My hip replacment was a revelation to  me. Thirteen month of physiotherapy from the amazing hospital I had my surgery. I eventually got to the gym for the first time in my life. I enjoyed it! Gradually see the numbers on the weights build as my strength and mobility increased for the first time in over 20 years.

What I did not realise (consciously at least), was that not doing all that exercise, 3 or 4 times a week on the weight machines, my muscles would waste again. Lack of exercise causes some muscle pain. The hip replacement can weaken. And that is where I have been, slowly losing my tone again after 2.5 years of hard work to get it right.

Hip replacement rehabilitation is not a short term thing. It is ongoing, thorughout the life of my hip replacement. Now, on the eve of my 4th hip replacement anniversary (sad I know!), I have finally realised this is for life. The gym is a necessity for me to ensure I do the exercise needed to keep my hip strong.

 

Start as you mean to go on…..

Confession:I have not been to the gym for a year. A full 12 months. And before that I ignored it for 6 months.

After my hip replacement, it took me a while to get into the gym. Once in there, you could not get me out again. I spent my mornings in there several times a week. Swimming with the kid, in the gym and sauna with friends. In the gym on the weights. My hip felt great, I lost some weight. Then I did what other people do. I stopped.

I had all of the excuses. I have not got time for the gym, the gym is too far away to justify travelling on a week day, I will go tonight, tomorrow I will go for the early session, I got up late so I can’t go, my hip hurts, I will go later…….

So after much procrastination, weight gain, soreness in my hip due to lack of exercise, I have joined the local gym. I aim to go at least three times a week. The hardest thing is getting in the car! Updates will follow…………

 

The BOSS Study

The BOSS Study is a piece of research I stumbled across in October 2016. I am excited to see this nationwide surveillance to review rare diseases in orthopaedics, such as SUFE (Slipped Upper Femoral Epiphysis).

The British Orthopaedic Surgery Surveillance (BOSS) Study is based on other successful reporting systems in obstetrics (UKOSS) and Paediatric Surgery (BAPS-CASS.) This is interesting to me both in a personal and professional level with akeen interest in maternity and obstetrics in my profession.

I contacted one of the team and asked if I could be updated along the way and I eagerly await their findings. I am particularly interested in diagnosis and treatment in the early presentation of children at GPs and Accident & Emergency Departments. Early diagnosis and swift treatment is key to preventing lifelong disability and greatly reducing the incidence of further more complicated surgery. Many children go on to continue their sports and leisure activities quickly. Some, in situations like my own, don’t end with life changing, debilitating conditions related to SUFE when misdiagnosis occurs.

I hope recognition and research will help support doctors and radiologists to discover these issues first time and that newer, enhanced technologies put better solutions out there for SUFE patients. Here is the website to check it out Http://boss.surgery/

18 months-Total Hip Replacement are great!

So, I thought I would celebrate 18 months being pain free with a Gallery of some of the photographs that have been taken over the months (more to come when I get chance to upload them. Some of them are post surgery scar pictures so maybe not for the squeamish, but I did not have a rough time of it really with bruising, it was more the swelling and post operative pain that got me down.

Anyway, you need to click HERE to see them 🙂

Yesterday, 4 days after my 18 month anniversary, I ran, RAN across the drive to beat my middle child to the car….I did not been think about it which was the greatest thing! I am still going to the gym (after a 8 month break because I got lazy!) and swimming is helping a LOT. Walking is also fun now and not a necessity to get me to the car and back, I can actually walk a couple of miles without feeling any pain. Build it up slowly 🙂

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For anybody thinking about having a hip replacement, especially hip replacement in a young person, JUST DO IT! You will not regret it, absolutely not. Find a decent surgeon who is willing to take you on, do not take no for an answer and just go with it! Good Luck!!

Physiotherapy for hips….

….not for me! Not anymore! No way! You will know by reading this post about the Lack of Physiotherapy in the NHS that I count myself extremely lucky to have had physio after total hip replacement for a whole 14 months.

Yes, I have been discharged! However, I still keep up with my squats, my stretches and walking. I am walking further despite my general fitness being low. Stretches whilst awaiting for the kettle to boil, squats whilst the bath runs. You can do these exercises pretty much ANYWHERE. And continue you must-for physiotherapy, despite the lack of appointments, is for life.

You must keep up this exercises, ensuring you hip flexors, quads and glutes stay strong. Being able to stand on one leg and balance is quite something when you have not been able to do it since being 11 years old! Maybe I will get to play netball again someday hey?! Stretching is equally important, and when getting lazy, I know about it, because my hamstrings get tight and I have to rework on those stretches again to keep them in check. DO NOT GIVE UP. Do not give up because you can do it. Your body is able to fix the things that went wrong. You have to persevere. A LOT. You may be frustrated, I know I have been many a time in the past 16 months. You just got to keep it up.

Set realistic goals. There is no use telling yourself that you will climb Mount Snowden in 2 months time, if it is not realistic. Tell yourself that you will walk 500 metres, 1 mile, 2 miles. Then aim for that goal. Small, baby steps. You will achieve your goal, because if you are reading this page, you can bet your bottom dollar you have had some kind of difficulty walking at some point in your life, for some kind of reason.

Just keep on smiling, keep on setting your goals, achieving them and then setting some more. I believe, if I can do it, YOU CAN, ANYONE CAN.

 

 

 

Migraines and Dodgy Hips

I am beginning to wonder whether my migraines are to do with my gait and posture. 
I started with migraine after the birth of my first daughter, in which I was pulled and tugged and manipulated in ways my body could not cope with (and now as a doula I know shouldn’t have happened! )
Over the years my migraines have progressively worsened and increased in frequency. I am knocked down fit a few days. My symptoms are typically the same: pain in left side of head and behind eye,  unable to see, increased pain and pressure upon standing, dizziness, auras (usually specks of light in vision and pins and needles in head). The pain is the symptom is love to remove-I think I could cope with the rest.
I have tried migraine specific medication,  meditation,  homeopathy,  hot water bottle, cold compress, dark room, even tying dressing gown belt around my head to squeeze it out in the theory that the brain can only cope with one pain at a time. …

Walking for a couple of miles seems to put sine awfully big knots in my back,  shoulders and neck.  I wonder if it is my bad posture and walking that contributes? After all, I’ve looked at every other trigger! Wheat, gluten,  sun,  cold,  chocolate (god no!) cheese….. the list goes on…. has your head been affected by your posture?