Hip replacement surgery can offer you better joint function and less pain. However, before you can benefit from either, you’ll undergo a recovery period during which your body will heal from the surgery, and you’ll work to strengthen the area around the joint. Fortunately, there are predictable phases that happen after surgery.
In the Hospital
After the hip replacement surgery, you can expect to spend a few days in the hospital. You’ll be offered pain medication to help manage any pain. Plus, you’ll be asked to participate in two types of exercises. First, you’ll learn how to do exercises that reduce the risk of blood clots, which can happen after surgery or from being inactive in a hospital bed.
Second, you’ll start physical therapy, usually with a staff physical therapist. Even if you don’t feel up to exercising, it’s important to start physical therapy as early as possible. Doing so will help you recover faster and experience better results from the hip replacement surgery. Talk to your doctor and physical therapist about any concerns you may have. For the vast majority of patients, it’s best to start physical therapy in the hospital.
First Few Days at Home
Soon after your hip replacement surgery, you’ll be discharged to go home. Make sure that you have a friend or family member drive you home. While it might be tempting to crawl into bed and pull the covers over your head, resist the urge. Make sure to talk to your doctor and physical therapist about what amount of exercise is appropriate for your unique situation. Plan short walks and be sure to make an appointment with a physical therapist, if you haven’t already.
First Few Months at Home
The first six to eight weeks are the most important for your recovery. What you do during this time will largely impact how well you recover. Anticipate closely following your doctor’s orders for activity and appointments, as well as using a cane or a walker as appropriate, based on your type of hip replacement. You may even need to use a special pillow while you sleep to protect your joints and give them time to heal. After six weeks, you may be allowed to drive again.
You’ll need physical therapy a few times a week for the first few months. In some cases, you’ll want to have physical therapy for longer periods of time. Don’t panic if your physical therapist or physician recommends physical therapy for longer than six weeks. During therapy, you’ll learn how to move, both during the recovery period and going forward, to preserve the health and function of your new hip joint.
Physical therapy is one of the most important aspects of hip replacement recovery. It’s important to schedule regular appointments with a trusted and skilled physical therapist with experience working with hip replacement patients. Contact us at Manhattan Physical Therapy to discuss how we can help you with your hip replacement recovery.