The decision to undergo a total hip replacement is one to make with the advice of a professional, but the procedure can offer significant relief of pain and improved mobility for those who need it. It is a highly effective and successful operation, with nearly 300,000 performed each year in the U.S. alone. Having the surgery is just one part of a proper plan, though. The other part comes after the operation, with physical therapy and hip replacement recovery to further aid your return to strength.
What Goes Into the Procedure
Surgery may be recommended when certain diseases or conditions have damaged the hip to the point of chronic pain and difficulty performing everyday activities. Various forms of arthritis are the most common culprit, some of which can be traced back to a serious injury or childhood hip problems. In most cases, other methods of treatment will be attempted and exhausted before surgery is considered.
In a total hip replacement procedure, damaged bone and cartilage is removed from the hip and replaced with a prosthetic implant. A metal stem is placed into the hollow center of the femur (thighbone), which connects to a metal or ceramic ball that fits into the hip socket. The specific composition of the prosthetic will be chosen based on your specific needs.
Light activity is a very important part of hip replacement recovery and can begin as soon as the day of the operation. Typically, physical therapy will begin in the hospital the next day. We will teach and help you perform certain exercises which may include ankle pumps and rotations, contracting the muscles in your buttocks, and standing exercises with assistance. Such movements help rebuild strength and prevent the formation of blood clots. During early recovery, recommended exercise sessions may last up to 30 minutes for 2-3 times per day.
Physical therapy tends to continue for the first few weeks upon leaving the hospital. Depending on the situation, sessions can take place either at your home or at our facility.
Most light, daily activities can be resumed within 3-6 weeks of the operation, although some discomfort may still exist at this point. Walking will be slowly increased to improve mobility, and other activities such as climbing stairs or driving will eventually be declared safe. Although reclaiming mobility can be exciting, it is important not to push yourself beyond your limits at this point and risk a fall.
A Totally New Life
Life following hip replacement recovery should come with greatly reduced pain and an increased ability to move around. There will still be some limits, however. Although made to glide, the prosthetic in your hip will still wear down over time. Factors such as extra weight or high-impact activities can accelerate this deterioration. Activities such as running and jumping will not be recommended, but lower-impact sports such as hiking, golf, and swimming may still be considered reasonable. With the right care, a hip replacement can last for many years.
If hip surgery is in your future, let the experts at Castle Pines Physical Therapy in CO provide you the best care and education to speed a safe, healthy recovery. Schedule an appointment by calling (303) 805-5156 or toll-free at 855-371-9682.
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