The hip Replacement Journey

Our Physiotherapists play an important role in guiding patients through hip replacement rehabilitation. In addition to the Physical rehabilitation both before and after, we provide extensive education and caring advice to support you with your operation and recovery.

The Hip

The hip is one of the body's largest joints. It is a ball-and-socket joint. The bone surfaces of the hip joint are covered with articular cartilage, a smooth tissue that cushions the ends of the bones and enables them to move easily. When significant damage occurs to the hip joint it may not naturally repair.

When other conservative forms of treatment such as physiotherapy fails to assist with hip pain, the hip joint itself may need to be replaced with a prosthetic hip joint, known as a hip replacement.

Every person is different, therefore specific assessments and tailor made programs are constructed to suit the functional ability and to help achieve specific goals in a safe, efficient manner.

The team at Hindmarsh and Fitzroy Physiotherapy can help prepare you for a full hip replacement so as to reduce recovery time after the operation and help you post surgery.

We aim to activate the muscles around the joint to make it easier for a new hip to be supported post-surgery. Improving muscle activity will also help to reduce fatigue and reduce the weight-bearing load on the new joint – aiding stability, mobility and quality of life.

When is Hip Replacement Recommended?

There are several reasons why a hip replacement may be recommended.

People who benefit from hip replacement surgery often have:

  • Investigations such as X-rays or MRI scans indicate significant injury, which requires surgery.
  • Hip pain that limits everyday activities, such as walking or bending.
  • Hip pain that continues while resting, either day or night.
  • Stiffness in a hip that limits the ability to move or lift the leg.
  • Inadequate pain relief from anti-inflammatory drugs, physiotherapy, or walking supports.

What can Occur in a Hip Replacement?

In a hip replacement, the damaged bone and cartilage is surgically removed and replaced with prosthetic components.

  1. The damaged femoral head is removed and replaced with a metal stem, which has a ceramic ball on the upper part of the stem, is placed into the hollow center of the femur. The femoral stem may be either cemented or "press fit" into the bone.
  2. 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.
  3. A plastic, ceramic, or metal spacer is inserted between the new ball and the socket to allow for a smooth gliding surface.

What to expect after surgery

It is important to know what to expect following surgery.Be prepared that you will experience a significant amount of discomfort in the first three days following surgery.Your mobility will be limited, and you will need to depend on others to help you with your regular activities of daily living.

  1. On the first day, a significant amount of surgical pain medication will be in your system.
  2. Day 2, you will likely be able to get out of bed and start moving with assistance.
  3. Be ready for day 3 as you will probably feel like you got hit by a truck.
  4. Try to exercise for 20-30 minutes at a time.
Moving around will not only speed up your recovery but will also increase the circulation to your legs and feet which will reduce your chance of getting a blood clot.

Typically, after two to four days you will be discharged from the hospital to either your home or to a rehabilitation facility. If you require physiotherapy post hip replacement in the comfort of your home, please get in touch with our caring team

Here are some goals to use as a checklist when transitioning back to your home. Make sure that:

  • You can get out of bed by yourself.
  • Your pain is adequately under control. This doesn't mean you're pain-free but it should be manageable.
  • You can eat, drink, sleep and go to the bathroom.
  • You can walk with a stick, walker or crutches.
  • You're ready to do home exercises on your own.
  • You know what you need to do to protect your new hip from an injury.

Our Physios are available to do home visits for all surgeons so please ask if you would like us to help you with your post op program

Here’s 6 Tips for a Successful Hip Replacement Recovery

1. Remove Tripping Hazards- begin by removing all throw rugs, floor mats, etc. from your home.

2. Up grade the bathroom- a higher toilet may be your friend for life

3. Raise your legs and use a pillow between your knees when sleeping

4 Get some gadgets- sock Donners and handy grabbers will come in useful in the early stages

5. Get a higher chair

6. Borrow items rather than buy- you will only need help for a few weeks

Physiotherapy is an important part of rehabilitation after a total hip replacement.

Studies have shown that people who complete exercises after a total hip replacement may have significant improvement in functional activities of daily living, walking, quality of life, muscle strength and joint range of motion compared with people who do not.

Early postoperative rehabilitation after a total hip replacement focuses on resorting mobility, strength, flexibility and reducing pain. It is found that patients can achieve significant improvements through a targeted strengthening programme following total hip replacement.

Whether it be your own, or man-made, all joints have a certain life expectancy before they deteriorate. Only through appropriate conditioning of the muscles supporting the joints can we assist in maintaining joint health, which in turn will maintain your own mobility and independence.

Your physiotherapist will be able to identify any imbalances and implement a program targeting at correcting these. Overall, this means that your joint will be in the best possible environment to function, thus prolonging its life and reducing the risk of something going wrong.

If you have any questions regarding your upcoming or past surgery please do not hesitate to call our physiotherapists. We are happy to help with any of your concerns.

Contact us here for advice and management.
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