For those who experience lost mobility and chronic pain due to the deterioration of their hips, joint replacement surgery is a powerful way to regain control and enjoyment of their lives. With satisfaction rates over 90%, hip replacement procedures are worth the investments in time and money for many.
It is, however, a major surgical procedure, requiring large access incisions. Because of the incidental damage to muscle tissue because of these incisions, full recovery takes months, and your participation is needed to optimize the healing process. Here are 7 practical tips to aid your return to pain-free activity.
Do what you can ahead of surgery to make life easier during recovery. This could include re-arranging furniture to make movement with a walker more convenient. You can rent service aids, such as a commode for the bathroom or perching stools in the kitchen. Move everyday items out of cupboards and leave them within easy reach, things like coffee and tea that may normally reside on shelves.
Enlist family and friends to help you out after surgery, perhaps with meal preparation or other daily responsibilities that will be difficult to manage as you regain mobility. Having someone to run errands for you or to help you get to follow-up appointments is invaluable.
Ask for – and fill – prescriptions for medications you’re likely to need during recovery. It’s a task that many forget, easy enough to do prior to your procedure, but potentially difficult after. Ask about prescription drop-off and delivery services at your pharmacy. Have a plan in place for acquiring unexpected medications needed during your recovery.
Recovery and rehabilitation typically last about three months, but if you have a physically strenuous job you may need longer. If it’s possible to work from home, you may be able to take on modified duties sooner than three months, but it’s important to let your recovery progress naturally, and not suffer due to a rush to return to your regular duties.
Successful recovery from total hip replacement means balancing two key components – exercise and rest. Each are crucial to healing. Exercise restores your muscles to their pre-surgery condition and beyond, as well as establishing range of motion. You also need lots of downtime, so your body can repair the effects of surgery. Overdoing the physical therapy can overwhelm your body’s ability to recover, so balance these two key aspects of recovery.
A healthy diet, full of varied food and nutrients, supplies the raw materials your body needs to heal well. Carbohydrates, proteins, fats, minerals, and vitamins are all necessary to encourage repairs. If you’re also hoping to lose weight, save that for after recovery. You’ll be better positioned to add activity to your weight loss goals later.
Hip replacement is not a procedure you can rush back from, even though your surgeon may have you on your feet the same day as your operation. While your new hip can support your weight, the surrounding support tissue needs time to control your stability. Your physical therapist is well-placed to guide you through appropriate movements, and they can let you know when your body is ready for more.
The team at Empire Physical Therapy are specialists in follow-up care for total hip replacement. They will custom-design a physical therapy plan for you that’s designed to get you back on your feet as soon as possible, while giving you the time you need to heal. Call or click today to schedule a consultation.