What To Expect From Your Total Hip Surgery And Recovery At Home Afterwards

Your doctor has recommended a hip replacement to remove the arthritic-damaged hip joint and give you one on which you can walk without pain. The first part of this process is the surgery to replace the hip by the orthopedic surgeons. The second part is in your hands - a successful recovery at home. Here is what you can expect while you're in the hospital and after you get home.

A Short Stay in the Hospital

You'll check into the hospital the night before, if your surgery is scheduled in the morning. If it's in the afternoon, you may check in in the morning. Once the surgery is completed, you'll spend some time in the recovery area while the anesthesia wears off, then go back to your room. Shortly after you get back to the room, the staff will get you out of bed, and you'll practice moving from the bed to the chair and bathroom.

Over the next couple of days, you'll work with the physical therapist to learn to walk with crutches or a walker. You'll practice on a level surface, and if you're strong enough, the therapist may have you try walking up and down stairs. During this time, the doctor will be checking on the surgical incision for any signs of drainage or infection. When the doctor is satisfied that the site is healing well, you'll get to go home. That's where the next important step in your recovery happens, and it's up to you.

Home Recovery from Hip Replacement Surgery

The surgery affects muscles, tendons and ligaments in your hip, and they must be relaxed and strengthened in order for you to have normal use of the hip. Initially these tissues will have contracted and become tight. Your hip will feel stiff. The physical therapist will work with the tissues to slowly stretch them out to their normal length. You will help by doing exercises to slowly move your hip in all directions to regain normal range of motion in the hip.

Once your hip is able to move in all directions comfortably, you'll begin strength training. The muscles in your hip not only help you to walk, but they hold the hip joint in place as you move. Weak muscles will become tired after a short time walking, and you risk dislocating the hip joint should you fall. The physical therapist will show you exercises to build up the muscles in your hip. You will also work on a treadmill, bicycle and begin walking faster and up inclines.

The key to a successful recovery at home is to know your limits, set your pace and stick to it. Pushing yourself to do too much, even if you feel well, puts you at risk of straining your hip or falling. Any damage you do will set your recovery time back.

For more information, contact Omaha Orthopedic Clinic & Sports Medicine PC or a similar location.