Your orthopedic surgeon has you scheduled for a total hip replacement. Arthritis has worn down the cartilage in your hip joint enough to make it painful to walk. You look forward to walking without pain with your new hip. But the surgery is only the first step in making that happen. The weeks of recovery that you'll do after the surgery will determine how much functionality you'll gain back from your hip. Here are a few tips to make your recovery a success so you can get back up on your feet again without pain.
1. Keep moving.
The hospital staff will get you out of bed a few hours after your surgery just to get your body moving. Movement stimulates the blood circulation which enhances tissue healing. Once you get home, get in the habit of keeping your body moving when you think about it. Even a short walk around the room every few minutes while watching television will keep your muscles limber and keep the circulation flowing while you heal.
2. Manage your pain medication.
Your doctor will send you home with a couple of pain medications to help with the ache in your hip that you may experience for a few weeks. Pain medication is not as effective when taken during spikes in pain. It works better to have a level of the medication in your system before you really need it. Set up a regular schedule for taking your pain medication, and stick to it even if you feel comfortable at that moment. Try to schedule the medicine before going to physical therapy or doing your exercises at home. That will take the edge off of any discomfort during these sessions.
3. Be disciplined about your exercise and physical therapy.
You'll be on a physical therapy program for several weeks. The therapist will also give you exercises to do on your own at home. A successful recovery from total hip surgery requires slow incremental progress. Set the pace with your physical therapist and maintain that throughout your recovery. If you slack off and miss a physical therapy session or skip your home exercises, you'll slow down your progress. If you decide that you're feeling much better and push yourself beyond your limits, you risk injuring your hip and also setting back your recovery time.
4. Focus on the angle of your new hip for several weeks.
During your recovery, the muscles and tendons in your hip are becoming stronger and better able to support your hip joint. While the healing continues, your hip is at risk should you move it beyond the angles that it can tolerate. Your doctor will send you home from the hospital with a set of guidelines for protecting your hip. These will include:
- Sleep on your back, if you can. If you must sleep on your side, place a pillow between your legs to prevent your hip from becoming stressed.
- Avoid low seats and soft furniture that causes you to sink down into the seat. You'll have to bend forward at an extreme angle for your hip when getting up out of those chairs.
- Do not sit with your legs crossed at the knees.
- Avoid bending forward at your waist to pick up something from the floor. Use a grabbing tool to help with those items.
Forcing your hip to be at an angle that it's not ready for can cause pain and, in extreme cases, a dislocation of your new hip joint. To learn more, contact a company like Northern Care Inc Prosthetics & Orthotics.