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What You Need To Do After Hip Surgery

If you've had hip replacement surgery, you're not alone. In fact, hospitals performed over 300,000 hip replacement surgeries in 2010 alone. This number continues to rise, and the procedure continues to help millions of people lead pain-free, active lifestyles.

After you have hip surgery, you will need to make some changes to your regular routine. Here are the main things you need to do after hip replacement surgery.

1. Therapy/Rehab

Regular physical and occupational therapy is a vital component of the recovery process. After you undergo hip surgery, you will lose some strength. Physical therapy helps improve mobility, balance, and endurance so you can regain some of your strength.

Your doctor will want you to start moving the affected joint as soon as possible after surgery - even the day of the operation, if your pain isn't severe. Start with simple exercises while gradually building up your endurance.

At The Arbors, patients undergo physical therapy seven days a week and occupational therapy six days a week. During this time, you will receive education on hip precautions, weight bearing restrictions, and use of adaptive equipment to decrease your risk of dislocation and injury.

The physical therapy program at The Arbors will improve your strength and mobility. When combined with our occupational therapy program, you will develop increased independence as you practice everyday activities in our mock apartment. These programs help you return to your home environment and decrease the burden of care on your loved ones.

Returning to your everyday activities will take some time. You'll have to learn new ways of doing simple things, such as bending down, to avoid damage to your new hip. Physical and occupational therapy can help you get back to those activities in a more timely manner.

2. Recovering at Home

You'll need some help once you've returned home. You can make things easier for yourself and your helper by preparing your home before surgery. You or your caretaker can do this by:

  • Arranging your furniture so you can easily maneuver with a cane, walker or other assistive device.
  • Making sure that items you frequently use - such as your glasses, reading materials and the TV remote - are within easy reach.
  • Placing night lights in hallways, bathrooms and darker areas of your home.
  • Putting food and other supplies in a cupboard that isn't any higher than shoulder level or lower than your waist. Make sure that you have a grabbing tool or reacher to prevent you from bending over too far.
  • Securely fastening electrical cords to avoid tripping over them. It's also a good idea to remove loose throw or area rugs that could become tripping hazards.
  • Using a raised toilet seat to ensure that you're not bending your hips past 90 degrees. You can do this by adding an elevated toilet seat.
  • Using a bath or shower chair when showering until your balance and mobility have returned to normal. Install grab bars in the bathroom in and by the shower and toilet as well.
  • Continue to follow your total hip precautions until your doctor releases you, including:
    • Do not bend past 90 degrees at your hips.
    • Do not cross your legs, even at your ankles.
    • Do not turn your toes in.

3. Resuming Normal Activities

Returning to your regular routine and activities will take time, and you can expect some good days and bad days. Follow these final tips for a speedy recovery:

  • Always follow your doctor's instructions to prevent further injury.
  • Don't put your full weight on your leg until your doctor tells you to.
  • Avoiding certain sleeping positions and sleeping with a pillow between your legs.
  • Continuing to do your physical therapy exercises for at least two months after surgery.

It's important to carefully follow the instructions of your doctor and physical therapists as you recover from hip surgery. With patience, you'll find that you'll return to your normal routine sooner than you think.

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