Congratulations! You have decided to stop living in pain and to have a hip replacement.
The decision to have joint replacement surgery is usually made when other treatments have been unsuccessful in easing the pain of hip arthritis – pain that often leads to limitations in activity and a poor quality of life. So now you’ve joined the ranks of hundreds of thousands of Americans each year who have had hip replacement surgery, which is one of the most successful orthopedic surgeries performed today.
Now that you’ve taken the steps to live without pain, you want your new hip joint to stay healthy and strong. By now, you’ve surely reviewed all your post-op instructions with your orthopedic surgeon. But it’s important that from the day of surgery, you take charge of your recovery and work to protect your new hip joint for years to come.
Rehabilitation After Hip Surgery
Your rehabilitation after having hip replacement surgery will begin right away. You’ll be taught by a physical therapist (PT) how to walk with an assistive device like a walker, and your orthopedic surgeon will determine the type and amount of activity you should engage in initially. When you are ready, you’ll walk without any devices and with much less pain.
Your therapist will also teach you exercises which will be done for 20 to 30 minutes per session, two to three times per day. It is very important to stick closely to your exercise routine, working to improve the strength, stability, and mobility of your new hip joint.
Your commitment will determine your progress, but most people return to normal activity within three months. You can expect continuous improvement throughout your first year after surgery.
Preventing Injury of the New Hip
While closely following your rehab schedule, preventing injury will become a natural part of life. It is very important to prevent falls. In fact, before you even go into surgery, you should prepare your home by eliminating fall hazards. Throw rugs, electrical cords, toys, and slippery or uneven surfaces can cause a fall, so be sure to arrange your home in such a way as to eliminate hazards.
Even as months and years pass, fall prevention is important. Wearing shoes that fit well and stay on, being aware of your surroundings in your home and when you go out, making sure that your eyeglasses prescription is up-to-date, and ensuring that there is good lighting where you walk are all important aspects of fall prevention. Develop good habits that give you the confidence to walk without falling.
There will also be certain movements and certain activities that you should temporarily avoid. Pivoting and twisting on your new hip and crossing your leg over the midline of your body could injure your new hip. You should also avoid bending your hip past 90 degrees (like a right angle) with activities such as bending over or squatting during the initial healing period after surgery. Eventually, you will be able to enjoy low-impact activities like swimming, stair-climbing, or walking, but it’s best to discuss what physical activity you can participate in with your orthopedic surgeon before you do it.
Continue Seeing Your Orthopedic Surgeon
Your orthopedic surgeon will be a part of your life for a long time. You should expect to have regular follow-up appointments with your surgeon in the first weeks and months after surgery. If you have any concerns of complications or infections related to the surgery or the new prosthetic hip, your orthopedic surgeon should be the first person who you should call for advice.
Once you are considered to be fully rehabilitated and back to normal, your professional relationship does not end there. You should expect to follow up with your orthopedic surgeon at least annually in the beginning so that the health of your new joint can be evaluated and maintained.
Trusted Hip Replacement Surgeon in Raleigh
After hip replacement surgery and rehabilitation, you can expect your new joint to serve you for years and years. Osteoarthritis is a leading cause of chronic pain in the U.S., and total hip replacement surgery is one of the most common and most successful surgeries performed to alleviate that pain.
If you have any questions about hip replacement surgery, our friendly team is here to answer all of them. Board-certified orthopedic surgeon Dr. Brett Gilbert will address your unique concerns, and he specializes in minimally-invasive hip replacement and knee replacement procedures.
To schedule a consultation, contact us today by calling us at (919) 788-8797 or request an appointment online now. We look forward to serving you!