What To Expect When Recovering From Total Hip Replacement Surgery


Your hip has caused you pain for years due to to the arthritis in that joint. Your doctor has discussed replacing that hip with an artificial one, and you have scheduled your surgery. The surgical replacement of your hip is just the start of the process. When you get back home, the real work begins, as you do physical therapy to get your hip back into shape. Here is what to expect after the surgery and your continued recovery at home.

Getting Back on Your Feet Fast

Within a few hours after the surgery, the staff will get you out of bed and into a chair. Getting your body moving so soon after surgery enhances healing by stimulating the circulation. You'll learn how to move yourself from bed to chair and back. A physical therapist will show you how to use crutches or a walker to take a few steps. When your doctor sees that you're steady on your feet with support, you'll be sent home.

Settling Into the Routine at Home

During your first few days at home, you'll be gaining back your stamina. You'll appreciate having someone help with simple tasks around the house. Walking to the mailbox and feeding the dog may be a challenge for a while. You will be able to carefully walk around the house, and after a few days at home, you'll have a follow up appointment with your orthopedic surgeon. Your doctor will then get you started on a physical therapy plan that you will follow for several weeks.

Regaining Movement in Your Hip

The first stage of physical therapy is getting your hip to move through its normal range of motion. The muscles in your hip have contracted slightly because of the arthritis, making your hip feel stiff. The physical therapist will help you slowly stretch out those muscles so the hip joint moves freely as you walk. They will show you exercises that you'll need to do at home to continue your progress.

The therapist will measure your hip's movement at each visit and record your progress in notes that your doctor will read. When your doctor is satisfied with the amount of range of motion you have in your hip, they will have you move to the next stage of physical therapy.

Strengthening Your Hip Muscles

You'll now begin doing physical therapy to strengthen the muscles in your hip. These muscles not only help you walk smoothly, but they support the hip joint and prevent injury or dislocation. These muscles have been weakened by the arthritis and surgery, and it takes several weeks for them to build up their strength.

Your physical therapist will have you work on special equipment in the clinic that puts resistance on your hip, leg and knee so new muscle tissue develops. You'll have strength exercises to do at home in addition to your daily walking exercise. As your hip gets stronger, you'll gain more independence and soon be walking confidently and painlessly on your new hip.


14 December 2015

choosing a care home for surgical recovery

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