Your hip, a ball-and-socket joint, transports you through life. It’s your largest weight-bearing joint and is responsible for carrying your body weight, plus anything you happen to pick up to hold or move.
Your hips deteriorate for a variety of reasons, most often due to osteoarthritis, which worsens with age. Rheumatoid arthritis causes hip pain as well, or you might suffer a traumatic accident, like a hip fracture or break due to a fall.
If conservative treatments don’t relieve your hip pain or help your mobility, your doctor may recommend total hip replacement. This is a major surgery, so you’ll want to know what to expect for the first week of recovery.
Physical therapy plays a key role in your recovery, and our Empire Physical Therapy and Athletic Rehabilitation team can help.
Billy Reilly, MS, PT, and Paul LaRosa, MS, PT, can help you recover from hip replacement and heal more quickly. Their clinical expertise combined with a warm approach makes our patients trust them from the get-go, knowing they’re in the best hands — figuratively and literally.
What you get when your hip is replaced
You already know you get a brand new hip, but what does that mean exactly? In order to understand, you need to learn about the key parts of your hip. With surgery, you get:
- A new hip joint socket, or acetabulum
- A ball component that fits within the acetabulum, the rounded top of your femur
- A spacer that ensures that when the ball moves, it easily glides
Fortunately, most hip replacement surgeries can use minimally invasive techniques, which require the surgeon to make only a few small incisions rather than a single large one.
Minimally invasive surgery is associated with faster healing and less pain, bleeding, and scarring. You’re also at a lower risk for post-surgical infection.
We can partner with you to create a healing experience that’s as smooth as possible. You see the same physical therapist for each session that first week of recovery, so you can build a good rapport and develop trust.
What to expect the week after hip replacement surgery
You may be able to return home the day of your surgery, amazingly. It also might surprise you that your surgeon will likely encourage you to move safely that same day to combat stiffness and ensure healthy blood flow to your hip.
It’s normal to experience some pain and swelling. Either over-the-counter or prescription pain medications can help.
Depending on your stability and other factors, your doctor might recommend that you use an assistive device at first, like a cane or walker, to help eliminate any fall risk. During this first week of recovery, don’t take a do-it-yourself approach. Ask for help when you need it.
Keep a close eye on your incisions so you can identify any signs of infection early. It takes about six weeks for incisions to heal fully. It’s OK to shower during that time, but refrain from taking a bath or swimming.
Physical therapy helps you recover from hip replacement
Physical therapy is crucial for healing after total hip replacement surgery. At Empire Physical Therapy, we employ a variety of approaches to help with your recovery, including:
- Tissue massage to address internal scar tissue that can limit your movement
- Strength training to build hip strength
- Balance exercises to keep you upright
- Walking to restore energy, strength, and mobility
We start you out walking on a treadmill, but you eventually graduate to walking on a variety of surfaces. It’s essential to wear appropriate shoes as you recover, and all the time really, so your feet aren’t bound or uncomfortable.
You should begin feeling — and moving — like yourself again about 3-6 weeks after your surgery. With our help, you’ll have a new lease on life, as you leave hip pain and mobility challenges behind.
Call our New York City office in Manhattan’s Midtown East neighborhood to schedule a series of appointments well before your hip replacement, or book them online. We’re dedicated to helping you come back from total hip replacement surgery and living your best life again.