Rehabilitation after hip replacement – what you need to know

Rehabilitation after hip replacement

By Physiotherapist Tracey Di Matteo

Hip replacement surgery (or total hip replacement) THR, is an operation to replace the worn out and painful ball and socket joint of the hip. In 2014-15 there were over 122,000 hip replacements in the UK alone. The procedure has been around since the 1960’s and was invented by the British Orthopaedic surgeon Sir John Charnley.

THR surgery may be considered if other non-surgical procedures, including Physiotherapy, have not been successful in improving pain and function.

 Why post-operative rehabilitation after hip replacement is important

If you do need a hip replacement, post-operative rehabilitation is very important to achieve the best outcome following your surgery.

Rehabilitation after THR begins in hospital the day after the operation and may involve gentle exercise and walking practice with the appropriate walking aids. You will be given special advice in hospital regarding pain relief, exercise and specific precautions, which are likely to include not crossing your leg, avoid low chairs (as this forces the hip into too much flexion) and lifting your knee above hip height.

What happens once you have left hospital?

Following discharge from hospital further rehabilitation will be required to help improve muscle strength and function of the new hip. This should be started 7 to 14 days post operatively.

Specific exercises to improve muscle strength will be started to suit your particular needs. These may also include balance training exercises and gait (walking) re-education.

How soon can you be doing normal things?

In general you can expect to return to driving at 6 weeks, swimming or hydrotherapy once the wound has completely healed and return to work at 6 to 12 weeks depending on your occupation.

The progress of your rehabilitation is determined by the type of replacement you have had and the surgeon’s specific post-operative protocols.

Physiotherapists at the Waldegrave Clinic would be happy to advise you should you have any questions and/or assist you in your post-operative rehabilitation.

To book an appointment call 020 8943 2424

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