I am 50 and fell in the kitchen sideways and broke my femur and had the surgery .. hip pinning and had 3 pins put in they call it internal fixaction.
I am now on my 4th week today Aug 15th 2008 - I am still on the crutches and everyone heals differently. I have been going to P/T and even went to the local pool which was great!! I could walk and NO PAIN.. until I got out.
In answer to your question how long b4 you can walk. The bone takes about 6 to 8 weeks to heal and again everyone is different. I have my days good and bad. you can expect 3 to 6 months before you can truly walk and some even say almost a year.. do your exercises and do not over due it. This is a serious injury and it takes time and patience. If you are experiencing any problems let your ortho surgeon know. I like you want to know WHEN i can walk.
hope this helps
I am 38 years old and also have a bit of osteoporosis in my hip. I had 3 pins put in my hip one week ago. The surgeon said i would be walking without crutches in 3 weeks! There is no chance. I tried to put more weight on it today and it killed. I can put 50% of my weight on it though. When will i be able to ride a stationary bike? I would soo love anyone's feedback.
Hello, I am 21 years old and had to have 3 pins placed in my femoral neck due to a car accident. I was actually 35 weeks pregnant when I had to undergo my surgery, not fun. My doctor told me not to try walking for 6 weeks even if my leg felt good just because the baby was talking calcium from my bones, naturally. So it's been 6 weeks at this point and my muscles in my left leg are very week (I should have been better about doing my physical therapy) but I am walking alright. Pain is minimal and usually only occurs when I've lifted my 25 pound two year old. Hang in there- you'll get through it!
I am sixty four. Generally very fit and active. However, I had a bad fall six weeks ago(mainly from being too active). It did hurt. I was taken to hospital and the following morning, was operated on. I had Hip Pinning but as yet I do not know how many pins.
I was so desperate to get out of hospital and managed to persuade them three days after my op. I could by then get out of bed and struggle to the toilet/bathroom. The UK NHS gave me a pair of crutches, a frame for my toilet, a trolley to push around within my home, a commode for my bedroom and some kind of strap to help me lift my bad leg into my bed. All very useful at that early time.
I then began to think about our soldiers coming back from Iraq and Afghanistan with numerous limbs missing and what many had accomplished after. They mainly achieved the impossible. I thought if they could do it, then so could I with just a mere hip operation. So I began to push myself, none too much mind you. I endeavoured to fight myself back to normal again.
I got rid of the crutches after three days. I thought they were not doing any good for my leg. I was mostly using my arms. I got a shopping trolley instead. This made me use my legs. I went out everyday doing my shopping etc. It was slow work but progressive. Within four weeks after the op, I was moving about my flat without any aids. I no longer needed the commode, the trolley or the funny strap to lift my leg. I can also sleep on both sides. This soon led me to using the stairs up and down instead of going by lift/elevator. Now after six weeks, I am going out without any aids or trolley at all and soon I expect my doctor to allow me to drive again.
Okay, I admit I am not yet one hundred per cent perfect again but I am fighting hard to get back there again. As yet today, I still walk with a bit of a limp and definitely cannot sprint. I know its still early days for me but that is my main concern right now.
Will I always have a limp and will I ever be able to run again?
After all, I am only sixty four. I was hoping to enter the Olympic hurdles!
Glad that you are doing do well. The only comment I have about starting weight bearing on femoral neck fractures (which I assume this is what you had, as you had a pinning from than a replacement), is to follow your surgeon's instructions.
Some femoral neck fractures are impacted and are stable. In these, weight bearing can be started pretty quickly. But, if a patient had a completely displaced femoral neck fracture, then these can be quite tenuous. Weight bearing in these cases has to be delayed till there is some callus formation.
So, as you can see, not all femoral neck fractures are the same. As long as one follows his/her surgeon's instruction and restrictions, then a good outcome should follow. But, the last thing that one would want to happen is put too much weight on the femoral neck, causing the hardware to fail. The blood supply to the femoral head goes up the femoral neck and, as such, is at great risk to be injured in femoral neck fractures.
So, again, congratulations on getting back quickly after your injury. Pay attention to your body, let pain be your guide. You should not have any pain in the fracture area (the groin). You may have some muscle discomfort from using and rebuilding the muscles. But, you should not ignore pain in the groin.
A limp can be caused by pain, weakness, decreased range of motion, or a combination of these. So, you need to determine what is causing your limp and work on that.
If you are having pain in the groin, especially with weight bearing, then you probably still need to use a cane, or whatever, to take some pressure off the healing fracture, until the bone is healed and you no longer have pain.
If the limp is due to weakness, then hit the weights or bike or whatever, to rebuild your muscle strength. Decreased range of motion is usually not a problem for walking with hip injuries, but if your ROM is so restricted that it is causing a limp, or abnormal gait, then it to needs to be worked on.
Good luck. Hope you are back to your full activities soon.
Thank you for your response, further information and advice.
Oddly enough, I did not get any post op advice from my surgeon, let alone a visit from him whilst I was in hospital. I don’t even know how many pins I have, let alone what kind of femoral fracture I sustained. All I know is that I was very keen to get out of hospital and get back to normal again.
However, now six weeks after the op, I am finding my recovery to be all swings and roundabouts. Right from day two after my op and everyday since, I have noticed a great deal of improvement each morning when I get up. It often surprises me. This morning alone I had to walk to my very near supermarket taking along my shopping trolley. I found I was able to walk very quickly and even without a limp. I even used the escalator for the first time both up and down. It’s strange but after my injury, whilst I was slowly limping forward, I noticed that normally when people walk, there is a slight bend in their knee joint as they did. I was not doing that but today I was.
Yesterday, I had a visitor to my home and I sat and chatted with her for hours. When I got up to see her out, I could hardly walk. Same goes for when I wake up each morning around 4am to go to the toilet. Despite what you wrote, it just seems to me that weight bearing keeps me going and without any leg aches. Of course, I do and have fully been aware of pain barriers. I do not push myself to go too far, but at the same time I do tend to go that extra mile.
At this Website, I have found out a lot more about my condition than I have from my surgeon, GP or even Nurses when in hospital. I once thought I was doing miracles but now know that I am just following the regular pattern. Lying in bed or sitting around too much is not going to do me any good. I feel I am where I should be after six weeks. I also found out that it will take me at least three months to really get back to where I was before, so I now know I cannot expect anything more but to progress in the way I do to achieve that goal.
And I will!
PS - A bike? You gotta be joking. These days with the way traffic is and at my age, I would be more liable to sustain even more bone injuries. Next you’ll be saying, ‘Get a skateboard!’
First, by bike, I meant a stationary rehab type of bike, not to actually get out on a two wheeled type. A stationary bike is a very good exercise for hip patients, as it helps to rebuild muscles and ROM, without too much weight bearing. Heavens, would not recommend recent hip surgery patients to get out on a regular bicycle. Not only is traffic a huge problem, but if the patient had to stop by putting his/her foot down suddenly, that could cause big problems to the hip joint.
You have also found out the problem of inflammation when you are not using the joint (sleeping, sitting, etc). This is actually quite common after surgery and/or injury. This is why patients who have an inflammatory arthropathy (like rheumatoid arthritis) prefer to be moving, as resting actually causes them problems.
Again, as long as you do not have significant pain right in the groin area with activity, you are probably doing fine. Sounds like you have done the proper rehab, despite not being advised of what to do.
Walking is a great activity (as long as you do not have groin pain). If you have access to a stationary bike, that is also a great activity. If you can get to a swimming pool, water exercises are also a wonderful thing for hip patients. The warmth of the water and buoyancy cannot be beat. In the water you can work on gait mechanics, strength, and ROM. The warmth of the water makes the tissues more pliant and stretchable.
Sounds like you are doing great. Continue, just let pain be your guide. Aches are expected and as you have noted, you do have to work through them. Go that extra mile, that is what will rebuild your muscles. Do not sit around, as you also noted, that causes stiffness and discomfort.
Each a good diet, with some extra protein, calcium, vitamin D, and magnesium. Do not smoke.
You are doing very well for being only six weeks out from surgery. It usually takes about six weeks for the bone to unite, and much longer for soft tissue healing. It is not uncommon for it to take a year for patients to recover fully from this type of injury. Not to say that you will be laid up for a year, but it may take that long to know the final outcome. But, it sounds like you are ahead of most patients.
Good luck. Keep working on rehab, letting pain be your guide. Wishing you all the best.
Thank you once again for your good advice. You come across to me as somebody with a lot of experience or knowledge of this.
I now understand what you meant by ‘getting a bike’. I reside in a very small one-bed flat in a Sheltered Home. I have nowhere to store my vacuum or mop and bucket, let alone a free-standing exercise bike. But I fully understand your point.
I also, not long ago, had my bath removed and a wet -room installed. In fact it was on the day of my accident that the workman first turned up. I have appreciated many times before how hot or warm water can sooth and help rectify aching bones and it sure does work. I don’t think I can get the same out of my new shower. It just seems to me right now that I need to find somewhere outside where I can possibly achieve both those aims. Maybe a health club where they have both facilities on offer. Or maybe I can get such via my local NHS OT services. I got a phone call from them the other day asking me if I needed their help. At the time I said I was doing okay, but maybe I should call them back.
I also got a letter yesterday from my surgery. I’ve to make an appointment with the nurse for a post op review. So perhaps I could also inquire there as well.
I know I am doing very well on my own right now, but I might also need a bit more professional help to get me to my goal a lot quicker and more surely.
I also take on board your advice about extra proteins and will see to that on my next visit to my supermarket tomorrow. I have made a note of your list.
However and unfortunately, I do smoke and I cannot find that so easy to change right now. Maybe that’s just another problem for me to beat in the future.
Sorry, ROM stands for "range of motion". It is common for patients to developed restricted or decreased range of motion in the joints of the injured limb. It is a common cause of limping also. Also, when we do not use our joints, they get stiff. Use of a bike and water exercises are both good ways for hip patients to improve ROM in the hip joint.
I understand your limitations. If it is possible, do try to get access to a health club or pool. Speak with the nurse that comes, about possible options. Sometimes, pools have a certain times, when surgery/injury patients can come and exercise, so they don't have to deal with little ones or people who want to do laps. Also, ask the nurse what type of fracture you had, and what exactly was done.
From how well you have done, and the fact that you did not have anyone come tell you to stay off the hip totally, you most likely had a Garden I, impacted femoral neck fracture, which was pinned "in situ" (where it was, no reduction was necessary). These usually do pretty well, as they are a stable fracture pattern, and the patient can get up on them quickly.
Unfortunately, smoking does cause problems with bone healing, but it is also something that most patients cannot just "kick" over night. My mum smoked all of her life, so I know how hard it is to give up. Sounds like you are doing okay, in terms of the bone healing (can't tell really, without a new x-ray, of course). But, since you are gradually getting better, the bone is probably doing okay. If you could quit, it would be great, but it is usually not possible for most patients. Just one of those things.
Do try to eat extra protein, as it takes the extra protein to heal the body. When you are trying to heal a fracture and surgery, it is not a good time to go on a diet. You need the extra protein and calories to heal. The calcium, vitamin D, and magnesium are also needed for healing of fractures and for good bone health over all.
Good luck. Hope that you continue to progress. Sounds like you are not the type to just sit around the flat all day, and not get out and move around, so that is great. As the old saying goes, "move it or lose it". Wishing you the best.
Also, I will follow up your advice on finding out from the nurse what might be available for me for exercising in water etc. I used to swim a lot but have not done so for ages. I will need to purchase a new swimming outfit as I feel sure my old bikini will not be suitable for a sixty-four year old, let alone fit!
I might also add that the nurse will not come to me, I will go to the nurse. That’s always been part of my plan of remaining active and independent. Even though I could do on-line shopping, I much prefer to go to the supermarket myself, just like I did before. I will also try to find out more from the nurse about my operation. I will take my hospital discharge papers to her and maybe she will understand it more than I do.
I have always been an active person and in a constant rush. Hence my accident. I have since learnt from that to slow down a tad.
Iam 42 yrs old and broke my hip while running a 21km race, my doctor fixed it up by using a compression screw type of pinning. Its been almost 5 weeks since my surgery. My doctor advised me to do some stretching exercises but no weight bearing on the it yet for 8 weeks. Based on previous blogs by Chris can I start putting a bit of weight on it (toe touch)? My doctor did not recommend PT until the 8th week. While doing exercises like leg raises and stretching a feel a slight pain in my groin, is that bad? or is it just the muscle being tight, after a few repetitions the pain goes away. also my lower back hurts is that ok or normal in this type of injury?
Your advice and tips regarding hip injury recovery are all very helpful hope you continue to share your knowledge and experiences
It’s now been over three months since my op (I believe similar to yours). Though I agree with you that Gaelic is very well-informed with all this, but at the same time I thought I would like to share my own update, in hope that it might be encouraging for you.
First, my doctor has allowed me to drive again after six weeks. I no longer need any aids in walking or otherwise, in fact they are all being picked up again soon. I also don’t need as many painkiller tablets as I did initially. I find I get both good and bad days from my op. Mostly when I first get up in the morning, but it soon wears off. Some days I have a bit of a limp, other days I walk quite normal. Sometimes where the op was done, I get a bit of an uncomfortable twinge.
Sometimes I feel that most of the recovery is down to the muscle and tissue that the surgeon had to cut through to get to the hip. So it’s not just the hip that has to heal. Also your lower back problems might relate to you sitting down a lot and not getting any exercise. In fact, I find the longer I sit or lie down, the more everything starts to ache.
Though, I have since treated myself to a good second-hand recliner chair. That has helped solve most of my problems. Maybe you should consider that also.
I won’t suggest anything that goes against what your doctor advised. I would much prefer to leave that to Gaelic. I am a bit of a rebel and just did what I felt was needed to be done. Though my GP has commented that I have done so well in such a short time. Yet I am sixty four and you are only forty two. You should be a lot fitter than me unless you carry some heavy weight. But even that would not have stopped me.
I still go out for daily walks and extended that even more. I do sincerely believe that exercise is a lot better than just sitting around. As long as you do what Gaelic recommends, take note of your pain barriers. I don’t know but I got a sneaky feeling that it might take even a year to really get back to normal again. Even though I have had a shot of running a bit and getting back to my usual shortcut of stepping over a low wall. But right now as I write, I still do not know if I will ever get back one hundred per cent prior to my fall.
Thanks so much for your inputs and updates, its very encouraging.
Its been 5 weeks since my surgery and 3 more weeks before my 2nd month post op xray & doc. appointment .In the meantime, he told me to do some exercises and stretches but warned me not to put too much weight on it yet (toe-touch technique), not until the 2nd month or until he sees that the bones already healed and mend. I am still using crutches to aid me in walking and putting about 10-20% weight on my leg,just to get a feel if it will hurt (in the groin) as Gaelic said. It didn't hurt that much when I first tried it, considering that my muscles are still a bit tight.
I will slowly try to put weight on it to see if how much pain I can withstand and tell my doctor of my progress. Hopefully he will give me the go signal to drive on the 8th week or earlier. Then ask him when, if ever, I can run again.
Your determination is truly amazing and in such a short time you have done so well, already you had a shot at running a bit which is really great.
Thanks again for your encouraging story and advise, as for me, off to the park I go for a bit of air and exercise
Well done Alex, don’t just sit around all day but get out there for fresh air and a bit of exercise - but take notice of your pain barriers.
I found it very interesting to read what you said. You got ‘three more weeks before your post op x-ray and doc’. I never had that nor have been requested for such. The only time I went to the doc was from me making an appointment to be allowed to drive again. The doc did a bit of leg bending on me and said I was okay. So now I am driving again after just six weeks and having no problems doing so. Getting in and out of the car might not be as easy as it was before, but I just think about it as the same as when I used to wear tight skirts. Please don’t try to imagine yourself doing that or you’ll soon need to sign on to another forum!
After coming out of hospital, I soon found that the crutches were doing me no good, or at least not my leg. I was mostly building up my arms. So after three days I hung up the crutches and used a four-wheeled shopping trolley instead. It was slow work at first but it did strengthen up my bad leg, as well as give me enough support and usage to go shopping on my own. Enough to make me soon abandon that and just limp to the store instead with my haversack.
I sincerely believe that you will run again if you really want to. I didn’t run that much prior to the accident, I just did it to see if I could. I have no real plans to try again. Yet if I was like you and running was very important to me, then I would have done a bit more and more each day. My main aim was just walking normal again (without a limp), going up and down stairs and not afraid to use escalators.
In my own mind, I do not really believe that a doctor can really tell you when you can do this or that (don’t quote me on this), I personally believe it is all down to the individual. Some people, maybe like myself, can do it quickly and others may take longer. Some even lose confidence to ever go out again. It’s all down to sheer will and determination.
My first inspiration that set me off when I was in hospital after the op, was that many soldiers come back from war zones with far more serious injuries and loss of limbs - yet just look at how many of them have overcome it and done so well. I reside in UK and right now we have the Olympics beginning. Many of those contestants from all over will be fighting for Gold, even though they have a severe disability.
Is that not enough to goad you and I to do a lot more for ourselves with just a ‘mere’ hip injury. The only lesson it has taught me, is not be so foolhardy as before when I thought I was invulnerable.
Sorry to hear about your femoral neck fracture during your race. The vast majority of these fractures in runners are due to a stress reaction which ultimately goes on to a frank fracture. Runners tend to really push their bodies, ignoring the body's signals that there may be something wrong. Be careful doing that during your healing. It is best to not push to see how much pain you can stand. That may be what got you in this predicament.
You must follow your surgeon's instructions. He/she is the one that has seen your x-rays and felt how well the screw went into the bone (called purchase of the screw into the bone). So, you should really listen to what he/she has to say.
While it is probably true that you will have some soft tissue pains around the pelvic area, you really have to be careful with the pain in the groin, over the neck of the femur.
With the way the compression screws are placed, it is an indirect way of reducing the fracture, such that the soft tissues right around the fracture site are not disrupted (as to not injury the vital blood vessels). So, there really should not be too much discomfort coming from the soft tissues. So, pain in that area is most likely coming from the bone (not all, but most).
When you do a straight leg raise, that places a significant bending moment upon the femur. Any weak area (i.e. fracture) will really note the stress from a straight leg raise. The longer the lever arm, the more the stress. So, raising a leg with a bent knee places less stress on the femoral neck than a straight leg raise. Sorry, that may be a little too much physics. Anyways, the point being, just listen to your body. If it hurts to do something, back off. And, if the surgeon stated to not do something, it is best not to do that for right now.
You also have to remember that not all fractures are the same. In fact, they are all different. Thus, what happens in one patient with a femoral neck fracture will not be the same for another patient with a femoral neck fracture. Which is why you really must go with your surgeon's instructions. Only he/she knows your particular fracture characteristics.
Femoral neck fractures are not to be messed around with. If the blood vessels along the neck are disrupted, that could lead to AVN (avascular necrosis) of the femoral head (ball of the hip joint). This would be a disaster.
Also, when the bone broke, how much it displaced (moved out of place) makes a big difference on how well it will heal. So, a patient with an impacted fracture which did not move much at all is very different from a patient in which the fracture had gross displacement. Though both are treated with the same hardware, their fracture characteristics are very different.
Every patient is unique.
If you have access to a pool, you may find that doing lower extremity activities are much easier and do not cause discomfort. With the buoyancy of the water, activities are essentially nonweight bearing. In some pools, you can even "run" in the water. Many elite runners do this to stay in training when they have a lower extremity injury. You might inquire. What is basically done, is to place patients in a vest with weights that keeps them suspended in the water and allows them to "run" in the deep end of the pool. There is no weight bearing, no impact.
It is something to look into.
Again, sorry about your injury. Hopefully, the fracture will heal up nicely and you will be back to abusing your body running again. Just kidding. Be careful, listen to your body while you are healing. Nature gave us pain for a reason, to tell us we are doing something wrong.
Be careful. You stated that you were going "to see if how much pain I can withstand" in your last post. In healing of femoral neck fractures, that may not be the best thing to do. You have to remember that the screw is there to just hold the bone pieces together until the body can "glue" them back together. Too much repeated stressing can hamper that.
Take it easy. Let your body heal. You can get back to running once everything is good. I know it is hard, sitting around, chomping at the bit. But, it won't be too much longer.
i had 7 screws and a metal plate it was 3 months before i was allowed full weight bearing i could walk without crutches about a week later but with a bad limp but it seemed to get a bit better everyday
now 17 weeks after surgery i still get a bit of knee and foot pain what causes a slight limp i walk to my friends every day what is about half a mile away
dont worry you will be able to walk again it just takes time to heal
You really hit the nail on the head:). While reflecting what happened to my pre and post hip injury, I should have listened to my body. Two weeks prior race day, while doing 21km long runs I already felt pain on my groin left and right sides, but I still continue with my training (there's your notion of runners pushing the body ignoring body signals). I still went on with the race, after 20.6Km into the race i heard my bones snap.(there's the "stress reaction which ultimately goes on to a frank fracture"). Anyways that's all history, all I can think now is how and what I can do to heal my bones quickly. Based on my doctor's advise which coincides with yours is that " your body needs to heal..in due time".
Maybe I need to start listening to my body after punishing it for sometime..joke Now I understand that pain is Nature's way of saying that something is wrong and you need to respect it and rest. Hopefully if given a chance, I really would love to run again (are there cases that hip injured individuals can still run?)but this time I'll be wiser.
The pool exercise idea I will definitely look into or is it possible to do stationary biking already at this healing stage? I have been doing both bent knee and straight leg raises and the slight pain near the groin is already gone. I have also been doing "toe touch" while walking with crutches but not to much weight (really concerned about AVN and its consequences).
Thanks for reminding me also that every injury and healing time are different, some people are just fast in recovering and some aren't, like the uniqueness of every runner. Hopefully mine will be a fast one, but I guess taking it easy and allowing time to heal my bones are the best thing to do at the moment...maybe its time to give my body a break. Once I recover, I can always start punishing it again...haha just joking
Anyways, you really are a big help, what you said just confirmed what my doc said while I was still in the hospital.Will be counting the days to my 2nd month post surgery xray and hopefully my doctor will finally say that my lovely hip bone has finally started to heal.
Many patients with femoral neck fractures do return to running. It mainly depends upon how well the fracture heals and whether or not AVN occurs.
Luckily, most stress fractures are not grossly displaced at the time of injury. The displacement at the time of injury (the difference between a Garden I and a Garden IV fracture) is usually what determines the severity of the injury. It is sort of logical, if the soft tissues get ripped up with the bones moving around, there is going to be much more significant problems.
So, you are not alone. Many runner have stress fractures (femoral neck, pelvic, tibia, metatarsals, etc), as they are the type of individual to push through discomfort. If you can't ignore discomfort, you can't run for very long. You just have to listen to your body. You probably know by now what your body is saying to you.
But, do let your bone and soft tissues heal. You will have a lot of work ahead of you, to get back to the level of running you were doing.
Running in the water is a great way to not decondition too much while you are healing. Do look into it.
Good luck. Hope that you do get back to your running (it is a great stress reliever - I wish I could still run).
I was concerned that my injury is not as common with runners, as my friends says. But now i see it in a different light and when you said that I can still run (depends on the healed fractures) Iam now determined to do the work to get back to it and if my bone and soft tissue needs healing , in due time, then let it be. Iam sure it will pay off and will be off to running again.
On Aug. 20 I will see my doctor and will have another x-ray. I'll probably ask him about the severity of my injury ( he didnt disclose it at the hospital) like its displacement and if I can already put weight on it.
You're right running is a great stress reliever and it gives you time to think and sort out things...really miss it a lot. Yes, you could still run just think of it as an appointment with yourself, just you and the road
Thanks again Gaelic, I really appreciate your informative insights and tips. Now, I can understand more about my injury and have accepted it. At least I already have a guide on how to start with my recovery, first by listening to what my body is telling me.
I am 26 years old. I had a acetubular fracture from a car accident a little over 3 months ago in mid Jan. I have compression screws put in. I was no weight bearing till mid April and then up graded to weight bearing as tolerated. I have also started PT and currently get around with crutches. I wanted to know from your experience, how long did it take for you to get off crutches? I know everyone is different and recovers differently, but I just wanted to get an idea.