You have traded in the nightmare of constant pain and stiffness, going from limiting your ability to enjoy life to a life of amazing possibilities.
Now the key is to get the most out of your hip replacement surgery, to make your life from here forward that much more enjoyable. You need to recover well and work toward a healthier lifestyle. Your previous pain has led you to a more sedentary life, you avoided movement and exercise because it caused you pain. The effect of this is weakened muscles in your hip. A full recovery from hip replacement will take many months.
Keep a close eye on your incision to avoid infection. Keep your incision clean and dry and wash hands or wear gloves before changing dressings. Follow the discharge instructions given and contact your surgeon with any questions or concerns. Some possible warning signs would be:
- Redness around the incision
- Drainage from the incision
- Fever and chills
Physical activity after surgery reduces your risk of developing blood clots. You will be surprised how quickly the nurse get you up and around to promote circulation. If you notice new swelling or tenderness to the touch of the affected leg, contact your hip replacement surgeon immediately. These are signs of possible clots.
Working with a physical therapist or trainer allows them to design a routine to restore strength and mobility to your hip. This paves the way to a full recovery and gradual return to everyday activities plus others you may enjoy. Now is not the time to baby yourself because you had surgery, it is the time to rebuild wisely with the right guidance.
Physical therapy after hip replacement usually begins the day after surgery while still in the hospital. You will be amazed that within days you can walk with a walker, crutches, or a cane. You will continue physical therapy for several weeks to even several months following the surgery. Everyone heals and strengthens at their own pace after surgery. Physical Therapy, whether as an outpatient or in-home, is essential. Just as in the gym, no pain…no gain. Follow the instructions given by the professionals and you will see the difference in your ability to enjoy life. It will be much easier for you to participate in regular exercise in time.
Speak with your surgeon and physical therapist and discuss what you can do on your own to speed up your recovery time. There are simple exercises you can do while lying in bed, just watching television, that increase circulation and strengthen your weakened muscles.
- Pump those ankles… slowly push your foot up and down, bending and flexing
- Rotate your ankles…moving in circles inward and outward
- Knee Bends in bed…. slowly slide your foot toward your buttocks, keeping your heel on the bed without rolling your knee inward. Hold for 5 to 10 seconds and straighten
- Buttock Contractions…. slowly tighten and release while lying flat
- Abduction Exercise…. slowly scissoring your legs while lying flat
- Quadriceps Set. … Tighten your thigh muscle while trying to straighten your knee, hold and release.
- Straight Leg Raises…. Tighten your thigh muscle with your knee fully straightened on the bed, lifting your leg several inches. Hold for 5 to 10 seconds. Slowly lower.
Eventually you will be ready to graduate to exercises done in a standing position…full recovery here you come!
A visit to Dr. Marshall P. Allegra will answer all of your questions about hip replacement surgery and the recovery period. He is a board-certified orthopedic surgeon in private practice in Monmouth County for over 25 years. As an expert diagnostician, Dr. Allegra can expertly determine the best treatment options to return you to your normal, pain-free life.