Four Tips To Decrease Recovery Time After Hip Replacement Surgery


Though hip replacement surgery restores functionality to an otherwise bad hip, it can take 3 to 6 months to fully recover from the procedure. There are a few things you can do to shorten that time and get back to your favorite activities sooner, though. Here are four tips for faster recovery after surgery.

Get Fit Before the Surgery

Studies indicate improving your physical fitness prior to undergoing surgery can greatly shorten recovery times. One study followed 108 men and women in their fifties and sixties found that those who did low-impact aerobic, strength training, and flexibility exercises experienced significantly better outcomes than the group that didn't exercise. About 76 percent could walk 50 feet by the third day after surgery and 65 percent could go right home post-surgery. If you're overweight or out of shape, use the time before your scheduled surgery date to engage in a muscle-strengthening exercise program.

Start Physical Therapy As Soon As Possible

The longer you wait to start physical therapy after surgery, the higher the risk the muscles supporting the joint will atrophy. According to some scientists, atrophy can begin occurring within days of not using a muscle. If a muscle atrophies enough, it can have a negative impact on how much movement you can do. This, in turn, may make it difficult to engage in physical therapy and could lead to a longer recovery time because you may have to spend time rebuilding those muscles so they're strong enough to hold the hip in place and help support your body weight.

Typically, your physician will have you start doing an assortment of exercises soon after the surgery to help maintain the strength in your leg and prevent blood clots by stimulating circulation in your lower body. It's important to do these exercises religiously and then progress into physical therapy as soon as you're able.

Manage Pain

Completing a physical therapy routine will be twice as difficult when you're in pain. The pain can make you unwilling to continue doing the work which, in turn, will impede your progress. Work with your physician to develop a pain management program that keeps your discomfort at a tolerable level so you can do the exercises necessary to strengthen your hip and recover from surgery.

Be Conscious of Body Movements

You'll need to make adjustments in how you move your body to avoid dislocating the new hip, which would extend the length of your recovery period because you would have to return to the hospital for treatment if the hip does pop out. When moving around:

  • Avoid bending more than 90-degrees at the hip
  • Do not cross your legs
  • Walk with feet point forward; avoid rotating your feet too far inward or outward
  • Use an inflatable donut when sitting in chairs to avoid bending too far

It's also best to sleep on your back to avoid putting too much strain on the hip. If you must sleep on your side, place a pillow between your knees to support your hip.

For more tips on recovering from hip surgery faster or to discuss the pros and cons of hip replacement surgery, contact a hip replacement specialist.


24 April 2015

Take Your Health Into Your Own Hands

My name is Katie Langer. For a long time, I was bed ridden and I felt like I had no control over my life. I simply went along with what was instructed by my doctor and I didn't ask questions. It wasn't that my doctor wasn't willing to work with me, but I preferred to simply not think about the illness I was suffering from. I didn't realize that some of the symptoms I was suffering from were side effects of my medication and were not normal. After communicating more with my doctor, I was able to alleviate my symptoms. Since then, I've taken an interest in patient-doctor relationships and how to improve them.