When hip joints become painful due to arthritis or other causes, a hip replacement can offer a surgical option to do away with your discomfort. This surgical procedure involves replacing a damaged hip joint with an new artificial ball and socket, that moves smoothly and relieves pain.
After a hip replacement surgery, most patients are just in the hospital overnight, and some are even able to return home on the same day as their surgery (outpatient surgery). Once home, your surgeon will monitor your progress and condition with office visits in the clinic, and your physical therapist as well as your surgeon will coach you through the recovery course.
Physical therapy typically starts within a few hours after surgery, on the same day as the procedure, and this facilitates a speedy and safe short-term recovery process. Long-term recovery then involves working to build up your strength and endurance, which helps you to go further and faster, and to avoid the fatigue that typically is present from before your hip was fixed.
Physical therapy after surgery is very helpful to guide you through the recovery course.
How Post-Replacement Physical Therapy Can Help
Physical therapy, especially regular exercise with walking, is essential to gradually restore a patient’s physical strength after hip replacement surgery.
Assistive devices such as a rolling walker are recommended intially to ensure safe movement, but very quickly patients progress to a cane and then to no assist devices. Along the way, therapists ensure that these devices are the correct size for each patient and appropriate for the patient’s physical features and needs.
Exercise can help improve a patient’s hip range of motion and strength. Orthopedic surgeons and physical therapists often recommend around 20 to 30 minutes of physical activity 2 to 3 times a day during the early recovery period.
Here are some examples of recovery exercises after a hip replacement procedure:
- Ankle pumps and rotations
- Knee bends
- Buttock contractions
- Quadriceps strengthening
- Leg raises
- Hip abductions and extensions
Even before leaving the hospital, every patient is helped to walk safely in the hall and to be able to climb up and down stairs. There is no need to rush this. Take it one step at a time – literally. Your physical therapists will help you through the process.
As for actual walking, it is recommended that a patient walk with a cane until balancing skills are regained. Start by walking just 5-10 minutes about 3 or 4 times a day. As time goes by and patients regains strength, the duration of walks could extend to 20-30 minutes for 2 or 3 times a day. Soon enough, you will get back to walking without assistance or support, for as long as you would like.
Hip and Knee Replacement Surgery in Raleigh, Durham, Apex, and throughout the Triangle Region of North Carolina
Dr. Brett Gilbert is a board-certified orthopedic surgeon who specializes in hip and knee replacement surgeries as ways to treat hip and knee osteoarthritis. He uses minimally invasive techniques for hip replacements and knee replacements to help to preserve healthy muscles and tendons in the hip or knee during surgery.
Learn more about Dr. Gilbert and the advanced treatment options he offers, including hip replacement surgery, in Raleigh, Durham, Apex, and throughout the Triangle region of North Carolina. You may call his office at (919) 788-8797 to schedule an appointment or fill out the online appointment request form.