Whether you suffer from osteoarthritis that has led to inflammation and cartilage loss, or have a damaged or injured hip joint, you may be considering a hip replacement surgery.
This invasive or minimally invasive surgery involves the removal of a damaged joint surface and its replacement with an artificial implant. The outcome of a hip operation is heavily reliant on the patient’s rehabilitation period.
Hip Surgery Rehabilitation Tips
During the preliminary stages of rehab after hip surgery, it is vital that you practice gentle range-of-motion exercises and stay active to ensure a proper recovery of your hip joint and surrounding muscles.
Below, we highlight several important exercises and recuperation tips to ensure a speedy healing process:
Start Exercising Soon After the Operation
Go ahead and begin exercising as soon as you feel comfortable, and your physician gives you the green light to start working with a physical therapist. In fact, you can even start simple movements right in the recovery room.
The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS) touts simple movements, such as ankle pumps and ankle rotations, to start. Both of these are great for promoting circulation.
If you’re still on bed rest, it doesn’t mean you have to remain stagnant. Try out knee bends or leg lifts.
Focus on Strengthening
Hip-strengthening exercises should be done every day. Not only are they beneficial for increasing muscle flexibility and strength (both of which help protect the joints), but they also promote healing in the body by increasing blood flow to repair the damaged region.
Squeezing and contracting the quadriceps (which is an exercise that can be done while lying down) are excellent for strengthening the front of the thigh without putting strain on the hips.
Gluteus Exercises Help the Hips
Exercises for your backside can also be incredibly helpful in strengthening your hips. These back-of-hip muscles are largely responsible for controlling the hips’ delicate joints, so exercising them and keeping them strong and limber are a must.
These exercises are simple to do: Just lie down on your back with your legs extended, and squeeze the buttocks in five-second increments. Do this as often as you’d like.
Hip Exercises While Standing
Once you’re able to stand up, you can add new exercises, such as:
- Standing hip abduction – Lifting one leg outward, away from the standing leg
- Standing knee raises – Similar to a marching movement
- Standing hip extension – Lifting one leg backward, away from the standing leg
Be sure to always keep something nearby that you can lean on, such as a chair or solid surface.
Resistance Exercises After Hip Surgery
At around seven to 12 weeks following surgery, you may be ready for some extra resistance, such as using ankle weights or exercise bands. If your surgeon recommends it, you may use a treadmill, or start walking in a swimming pool. These types of exercises have been shown to improve endurance, balance, and walking pace.
The ability to walk up and down stairs will require strength and flexibility, and these are important for so many daily activities. Before you climb stairs, try to “exercycle” first. The AAOS advises that a patient pedal backward first, and then forward.
Remember to push yourself to the point of a little discomfort, but stop if anything is causing pain.
Hip Surgeons in New Jersey
Before beginning any exercise plan, consult a qualified doctor. The board-certified and fellowship-trained surgeons at Orthopedic Associates of West Jersey will diagnose your condition and health status to determine
which regimen works for your specific needs.
For more information or to schedule an appointment, call us today at (973) 989-0888 or fill out our appointment request form here. Let us help you live a more pain-free, active lifestyle once again.