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Since you have probably already been on surgery, In this article we will talk about hip replacement surgery in general, and we will focus on healing after hip replacement surgery.
A hip replacement is a common type of surgery where a damaged hip joint is replaced with an artificial one (known as a prosthesis). Usually, hip replacement surgery is done when all the other options have been tried (physical therapies etc.). The procedure should relieve a painful hip joint, making walking and your life easier.
When a Hip Replacement Is Needed
Hip replacement surgery is usually necessary when the hip joint is worn or damaged so much that your mobility is pretty reduced and pain is here even when you are resting.
You might go on surgery because of several reasons because of your damaged hip joint, these are for example: you have severe pain, your quality of life and sleep is disrupted, you’re having troubles with everyday tasks, feeling depressed because of the pain, you can’t work or have normal social life etc.
The most common reason for hip replacement surgery is osteoarthritis. Osteoarthritis is a condition that causes joints to become painful and stiff.
Others conditions that can cause hip joint damage are:
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- A hip fracture
- Septic arthritis
- Ankylosing spondylitis
The Different Hip Surgery Types
There are two main hip replacement surgery types. Depends on of your hip joint damage, you can have partial hip replacement or total hip replacement.
Partial Hip Replacement
A partial hip replacement removes and replaces the ball of the hip joint. It does not replace the socket. This surgery is most often done to repair certain types of hip fractures. The ceramic or metal ball is attached to a metal stem. This is called a hip implant. The stem is set down into the core of the thighbone (femur). It is firmly fixed in the femur in one of two ways:
- Cemented to the bone.
- Uncemented. This kind of stem has a porous coating that the bone grows into.
Total Hip Replacement
A total hip replacement removes and replaces damaged bone and cartilage with prosthetic components.
The damaged femoral head is removed and replaced with a metal stem. The femoral stem may be either cemented or “press fit” into the bone. A metal or ceramic ball is placed on the upper part of the stem. The damaged cartilage surface of the socket (acetabulum) is removed and replaced with a metal socket. Screws or cement are sometimes used to hold the socket in place. A plastic, ceramic, or metal spacer is inserted between the new ball and the socket to allow for a smooth gliding surface.
Recovering After Your Hip Replacement Surgery
How long does it take to fully recover?
Recovery times can vary depending on the individual and type of surgery carried out. It depends on your age, your general fitness, the condition of your joint and muscles, the job or activities you do.
It’s important to follow the advice the hospital gives you on looking after your hip. Usually, you hip joint will be fully recovered in about 3 months after your surgery. Just after that time, you should do your daily tasks normally, without pain (walking, dancing etc.).
After your joint is recovered, you will still have to visit doctor every few weeks for about 1 year. Of course, for extreme tasks as sports, running etc. you will need even more time to start doing those things.
Just After The Surgery
You will probably feel some pain, but nurses will give you some medicine to help. It’s important to cough and breathe in deep to clear your lungs. You may have a drainage tube for blood that collects around your hip. Your doctor may give you medicine called blood thinners to prevent clots.
Day after the surgery, your physical therapist will show you exercises to strengthen your muscles around hip joint. You will slowly be able to walk with a help of crutches or a walker. As the pain reduces, you will go from pain medicine to pills for reducing pain.
If everything went well, you shall go home in about 2-3 days after the surgical operation. Now it should be easier to go around. When you go home, ask your friends or family to help you with your recovering. They might go in shop for you, bring you medicine and other things. If you need more help, you might check into a rehab center for a few days or have plans for a home health aide to come to your house.
Keep care of your incision. Don’t get it wet, and skip creams, lotions, and ointments. You can use ice pack for about 10-15 minutes to reduce pain. If you have stitches, after 10 days it’s time to remove them from your skin. After removing stitches, your doctor will probably tell you not to shower that area for 1-2 days more.
Also, after about 10 days, you shall feel less pain and maybe stop using pain pills, we all know they are not healthy for our body, so, stop using them as soon as possible.
Going To a Physical Therapies
During next few weeks (10-12) you need to schedule appointments to a physical therapist. Also, without help of therapist, you might make some mistakes and injury your new hip or parts of hip (if you went on partial hip replacement). The most important thing is to listen to your physical therapist.
Driving a Car
Don’t worry about those things. The most important thing is that you recover safely. After about 6 weeks, you should be able to drive your car.
Back To Work
Everyone is different, so recovery times may vary from person to person. Usually, you should be able to back to office-based work after about 6 weeks. For jobs that requires heavy-liftings, you should rest for few more weeks.
Always be in touch with your doctor and ask him about everything. Of course, be in contact with your boss and tell him about your progress so he can know when to expect you back to work.
Exercises You Should After Hip Replacement Surgery
You will get advises for your exercises from your doctor or physical therapist. However, it’s always good to know something more about exercises since some of those below will fit you more than the ones you got.
Important notice: before doing new exercises, ask your surgeon or physical therapist about them. We can give you advises, but as we said before, every person is individual and might need only chosen exercises.
Basic Exercises to do:
- Standing Hip Abduction
- Hip Extension
- Standing Calf Raise
- Hip Flexion
- Small walks
- Stair climbing and descending
To see examples of those exercises, check out this video.
Equipment You Might Need
Since your life will be a little harder after your surgical operation, you might need some equipment that will help you move around and do daily tasks. Also, we will cover equipment you will need for exercises.
Medical Equipment That Will Help You Walk And Do Daily Tasks
You must use a front-wheel walker, crutches or a cane (assistive walking device) and most likely a raised toilet seat after your surgery. Any other items are optional based on your needs.
- A front wheel walker or crutches will help you feel more stable as you walk
- A raised toilet seat or commode will make it easier for you to get on and off the toilet.
- A toilet safety frame will make it easier for you to get on and off the toilet.
- Installing grab bars around your toilet, bathtub or shower will increase your safety during transfers.
- A tub chair lets you sit while taking a shower or bath.
- A tub transfer bench can help you get in or out of the shower or tub. You can also sit on it while taking a shower or bath.
- A hand-held shower head allows you to control the spray of water while sitting.
- A long-handled sponge can be used to wash your feet when you cannot bend and to wash your back so you keep from twisting.
- A reacher helps you get things from higher and lower levels. It can also help you put clothes on the lower part of your body.
- A sock aid helps you put on socks without bending.
- Elastic laces let you slip in and out of your shoes easily while keeping them tied. The long-handled shoe horn helps you guide your foot into an already-tied or slip-on shoe.
Equipment For Exercises
This is some of the equipment you will need for your physical therapies. To do better exercises and recover from your surgery even quicker, you will need this equipment. When you get a bit more recovered, you might consider doing some advanced exercises that requires some exercising equipment.
- Medicine ball
- Elastic strap
- LIghtweight dumbells
- Box, bench or chair
Healthy Food For Recovery
As usual, we need to write you something about healthy food. We all know that it’s important to live healthy and eat different kinds of food, but when it comes to post-operative period, you need to eat even more healthy foods. Consider about eating some of these:
- Berries Shoulder Rehab Vitamins
- Fats (nuts, oils, fish)
- Dark leafy greens
- Meat or other alternatives (because of protein)
- Brightly colored fruits
- Whole grains
- Water – THE MOST IMPORTANT.
Using some supplements will improve your recovery, so, consider buying them and we wish you luck with your hip joint recovery!
If you have any questions about healing after hip replacement, feel free to leave a comment below. Also, if you liked this post and want to know when we publish any new content, Like our FB Page and share this post with your friends.
In our next article, we will be writing detailed about exercises, equipment for recovery, recommended supplements and where to buy them.
These are only our recommendations for your post surgery rehabilitation. You are not obligated to use all or any of them. We just recommend you things that we think may help you the best with your surgery recovery. Always speak to your surgeon or physical therapist first.