Getting hip joint replacement surgery is the first step to eliminating hip pain. The second step is restoring full range of motion of the new hip and building a strong support system by strengthening the leg muscles. This is where a physical therapist comes in.
Physical therapy is needed to get a hip joint replacement patient up and moving. There is a period of time after the surgery wherein the patient needs to work on restoring range of motion for the hips. Therapy can also decrease the risk of dislocating the new hip joint. Exercises to strengthen the hips and the legs are needed. Exercise helps in improving blood circulation and in preventing pressure sores.
Even at the hospital, a therapist can already start working with the hip joint replacement patient on daily tasks like dressing and washing. Therapy will progress at a pace dependent on the extent of the surgery, the patient’s strength after the hip joint replacement surgery and the patient’s ability to manage or deal with pain.
Patient is normally discharged after 3 to days. Safety at home also needs to be considered and therapists will work with the patient at home until his or her mobility improves. A support system is crucial at home to ensure that patient will have the assistance he or she needs during the first few weeks after the hip joint replacement operation.
It is common for patients to undergo 6 to 8 weeks of post operation therapy. Exercises that can help with joint replacement are sidekicks, chair stands, toe or heel raises and wall slides. Activities like leg adducting, kneeling and 90 degrees flexion should be avoided after the surgery. Precautions need to be taken to prevent hip dislocation, a possible complication for hip joint replacement patients.
Caring for a new hip will need special attention and care. This can be considered long term care since it is important to prevent infection on the new hip. One of the common problems to watch out for is the loosening of the new hip.
Joint replacement patients need to take special care in controlling their weight. Excess weight adds unnecessary stress on the new hips and can cause it the loosening.
Patient participation in therapy sessions and cooperation in preventing possible complications are very important when it comes to recovering from hip joint replacement. A patient will be walking, driving and should regain standard of living if he or she follows the hip joint replacement recovery plan set by the medical professionals working with him.