Total hip replacement surgery may sound scary, but it has become a routine operation with very low complication rates. The second most common joint replacement procedure following knee replacements, in 2012, there was almost 300,000 hip replacement operations performed in the United States. Of course, before you undergo any major surgery, do your research so that you know what your options are and the recovery time. Choose a reputable hospital to help you feel assured that you will receive the best aftercare.
After total hip replacement surgery, your orthopedic surgeon and physical therapist may recommend that you exercise at least 20-30 minutes a day. It will be painful and uncomfortable, but it will also help:
- Increase blood circulation to your legs and feet
- Prevent the risk of blood clots
- Strengthen your muscles and improve movement of the replaced hip
Total Hip Replacement Postoperative exercises your physical therapist may have you perform include:
- Ankle Pumps: Lie on your back and slowly push your foot up and down as much as you can. Repeat every 5-10 minutes.
- Ankle Rotations: Turn your ankle toward your other foot and then away. Repeat 5 times in each direction, 3-4 times a day.
- Bed-Supported Knee Bends: Bend your knee, place your foot down flat and slide it towards your buttocks. Keep your heel on the bed. Repeat 10 times, 3-4 times a day.
- Buttocks Contractions: Squeeze you buttock muscles, hold for a 5 count then relax the muscle. Repeat 10 times, 3-4 times a day.
- Abduction Exercise: Extend your leg straight out to your side, as far as you can, and then bring it back in. Repeat this 10 times, 3-4 times a day.
- Quadriceps Set: Tighten your thigh muscle while you straighten out your knee. Hold for a 5-10 count. Repeat 10 times over a period of 10 minutes, and continue until your thigh is fatigued.
- Straight Leg-Raises: Straighten your knee and tighten your thigh muscle at the same time. With your thigh muscle tightened lift your leg up off the bed and hold the position for a 5-10 count. At the end of your count slowly lower your leg to the bed. Repeat this exercise until your thigh is fatigued.
Standing Exercises (for support use a chair or firm surface):
- Standing Knee-Raises: Slightly bend your knee and lift it toward your chest. Do not lift your knee higher than your waist. Hold the position for a 2-3 count then slowly put your leg down. Repeat this exercise 10 times, 3-4 times a day.
- Standing Hip Abduction: Stand up and point your hip, knee and foot straight forward. Keep your knee straight and extend your leg away from your body. Slowly bring your leg in toward your body and place your foot back on the floor. Repeat this exercise 10 times, 3-4 times a day.
- Standing Hip Extensions: Stand up, keep your back straight, and slowly lift your operated leg backward. Hold the position for a 2-3 count then return your foot to the floor. Repeat 10 times, 3-4 times a day.
- Walking: After surgery your doctor will want you to start walking short distances and performing light exercise to help rebuild strength and movement in your hip muscles.
In order to prevent a set back or worse do not overexert yourself during recovery. Listen to your physical therapist because he/she is trained to help you.
Medical Disclaimer: Be sure to check with your physician before starting a new exercise routine or if you have any health care-related questions.