June 29, 2021

Is Physical Therapy Needed to Help Me Recover from Hip Replacement Surgery?

If you have been experiencing chronic hip pain, there is a chance that your hip joints could be worn out or damaged. If this is the case for you, your Primary Care Physician (PCP) will recommend you schedule a visit with an Orthopedic Surgeon, also known as the hip doctor. Since orthopedic surgeons specialize in the musculoskeletal system, they can determine if a hip replacement would benefit you. Once diagnosed, an orthopedic surgeon will restore function and mobility that has been lost due to the bones rubbing together. When cartilage has been worn down, there is nothing left to cushion the joints.     

There are three major types of hip replacements your Orthopedic Surgeon will contemplate using after a diagnosis has been made.   

  • Total hip replacement (THR), or total hip arthroplasty, is the most common procedure.    
  • Partial hip replacement, or hemiarthroplasty, is more common in older patients with a fractured hip.
  • Hip resurfacing is commonly done in younger patients who are more active.

Hip replacement surgeries are less invasive than ever due to medical developments. It involves many important steps and processes that will help to determine your prolonged health and mobility. The recovery time depends on age, nutrition, pre-existing conditions, and overall health. Physical therapy (PT) can sometimes be suggested before having a hip replacement to strengthen the body for the surgery. But it is usually recommended after surgery as part of the recovery plan. Physical therapy helps to enhance and restore movement so that you can resume your normal daily activities sooner.

Physical therapy benefits before hip replacement surgery:

  • Learn useful strengthening and flexibility exercises that will help with recovery.
  • Learn how to use mobility aids such as crutches or a walker. You can expect to use these for at least four weeks during your recovery, which is phased out as you progress.
  • Make necessary changes in your home that can improve your safety after the surgery.

Physical therapy post-op benefits:

  • Improves movement and range of motion
  • Strengthens muscles and joints
  • Alleviates the pain
  • Restores joints to full function
  • Assist in transitioning you back into your normal daily lifestyle.
  • It eases your fear of possibly falling.

A physical therapist will work with you to create an exercise program that fits your needs and one that you will also enjoy doing. If you are enjoying your post-op exercising, you are more likely to continue following the program. This will help you regain your hip’s optimum function sooner, ensuring a successful outcome.

Physical therapy sessions differ from patient to patient and are tailored to help you regain your independence as soon as possible. One of the most significant advantages of recovering from hip replacement surgery is walking. You should walk often throughout the day using your crutches, walker, and eventually a cane while continuing with your exercise program. This will help to build endurance and strength as you continue to recover. 

Helpful tips to remember after hip replacement surgery:

  • It is important not to cross your legs for at least 6 to 8 weeks.
  • Be careful not to lean forward when sitting.
  • Never pick something up from off the floor while in a sitting position.
  • Do not allow your knee to sit higher than your hip.
  • Be safe while moving and using your new hip (do not twist it).
  • When bending down, do not turn your foot inward or outward.
  • Be aware of decreasing pain levels and discomfort while you are healing.

After having a hip replacement, you can ultimately expect your life to go back to normal, but returning to your everyday activities will take some time. The key is maintaining your limits by not doing too much too soon. The more proactive you are about your treatment and recovery, the speedier the healing process will be.  

If you are suffering from excessive hip pain and cannot function in your everyday routine, maybe it is time to visit an Orthopedic Surgeon. Dr. Paul Buzhardt is a qualified surgeon in the Lafayette, La area and is highly trained to solve your complex orthopedic problems. He and his experienced staff will work to improve your mobility from surgery to recovery. Call the office directly today at 337-703-3201 to speak with someone. They can help you get back to the activities you love doing.