• Hip Replacement,

Living an Active Life After a Hip Replacement

Fri, Jan 05, 2024

It’s natural to worry about returning to an active lifestyle after hip replacement surgery. However, with the right care and guidance, many individuals can regain their mobility, strengthen their new joint, and return to the activities they once enjoyed. Let’s explore how to keep up with an active lifestyle after a hip replacement.

Understanding Hip Replacement Surgery

Hip replacement surgery, or a total hip arthroplasty, involves replacing a damaged or worn hip joint with an artificial joint, known as a prosthesis, which is typically made from metal, ceramic, and plastic components. It’s a common procedure and may be an option for those with arthritis, hip fractures, or conditions that cause persistent pain and mobility issues. It is usually only considered when nonsurgical treatments have been fully explored and are no longer effective in providing relief from symptoms.

Regaining Mobility with Physical Therapy

Post-surgery, physical therapy is an essential aspect of the recovery process and in helping you return to your active lifestyle safely. A trained therapist will work with you to establish a personalized exercise and stretching program designed to restore strength, mobility, and range of motion to your hip. They will devise specific exercises for you to do several times a day to restore movement, strengthen your hip, and to help reduce the risk of post-surgical complications.

Initially, you will briefly require a walking aid, such as a cane, walker, or crutches. As therapy progresses, you will gradually increase the amount of weight you put on your leg and be able to start to resume other normal activities, such as sitting, standing, and climbing stairs unaided, typically within a few weeks.

A Gradual Return to Activities

Patience is key when resuming more advanced activities after a hip replacement. Starting with low-impact exercises, such as walking or riding a stationary bicycle, helps maintain muscle tone and keep the hip flexible. Swimming can also be a great low-impact activity once the wound is sufficiently healed.

You should continue to do the exercises prescribed by your physical therapist for several months after hip replacement surgery. As your strength and mobility improve, you may gradually progress to more challenging physical activities, but your physical therapist will guide you through the process at the appropriate times.

Full recovery from a hip replacement can vary from person to person. Most people notice a considerable improvement even in the first few days after the surgery, which will usually continue to improve as strength increases during the first year after surgery.

Introducing New Forms of Exercise

Once your orthopedic surgeon and physical therapist give you the go-ahead, you can return to many of the activities you enjoyed before your hip replacement. But, it may be necessary to modify your exercise routine after a hip replacement or try new forms of exercise to avoid excessive joint strain. Yoga, Pilates, and Tai Chi are examples of low-impact exercises that can help in maintaining flexibility, balance, and strength while minimizing the risk of injury. Always be sure to discuss with your therapist which exercises are most suitable and what should be avoided to ensure a safe recovery and reduce the risk of injury to your new joint.

Limitations With A Hip Replacement

In time, most people can participate in lower-impact sports activities following a hip replacement, such as swimming, golfing, doubles tennis, and bike riding. However, despite the many benefits and improvements in quality of life that a hip replacement can bring, such as a dramatic reduction in pain and increased range of motion in the hip, it’s important to acknowledge the limitations that can come with it.

High-impact activities, such as long-distance running or contact sports are generally discouraged, as they can put too much stress on the artificial joint, leading to potential complications like hip dislocation or premature wear of the artificial joint. Additionally, specific movements that cause extreme bending at the hip, such as squatting deeply or crossing the legs, may need to be avoided to minimize the risk of injury.

It’s crucial to remember that while the goal of hip replacement surgery is to prevent pain and return you to an active lifestyle, these limitations are put in place to ensure the longevity of your artificial joint and overall health.

Tips for Staying Active and Healthy

To maintain an active lifestyle after a hip replacement but reduce the risk of complications, you should consider the following:

  • Listen to your body: It’s crucial to pay attention to your body’s signals to avoid overexertion.
  • Stick to your physical therapy program: Consistency is essential for recovery and regaining mobility.
  • Maintain a healthy weight: Excess body weight can put added stress on your new joint.
  • Avoid high-impact activities: Sports like basketball, soccer, or skiing can place undue strain on your new joint.
  • Consult with your healthcare team: Before starting new activities or changing your exercise routine, seek professional advice.

Hip Replacement in Raleigh, Apex, and Durham, NC

If hip pain is preventing you from carrying out the activities you enjoy, visit board-certified and fellowship trained orthopedic surgeon Dr. Brett J. Gilbert for comprehensive care. Dr Gilbert can assess your condition and provide you with the guidance and information you need to make an informed decision about your treatment and recovery.

Dr Gilbert specializes in hip replacement surgery and offers a minimally invasive, muscle-sparing approach when applicable to a patient’s individual needs. To learn more, call our office at (919) 788-8797. You can also request an appointment with Dr. Gilbert using our appointment request form, or you can self-schedule your appointment here. Don’t let hip pain get you down – call us today for expert orthopedic care.

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