Physical Therapy After Hip Replacement Surgery
Hip replacement surgery is extremely common. Chances are likely that at some point you or someone you know will have hip replacement surgery. Let’s take a look at some common questions about physical therapy after hip replacement surgery and how consistent treatment is such a critical part of a successful recovery.
Who Should Get Hip Replacement Surgery?
According to the most recent data from the AJRR Annual Report on hip and knee arthroplasty, the average age for hip replacement surgery is just over 66 years old. Males represent the majority of patients in younger age groups and females represent the majority as the population ages. For close to 80% of the patients, the diagnosis at the time of surgery pointed to osteoarthritis with avascular necrosis of the femoral head being the next most common diagnosis.
But it’s not just aging adults and mature athletes like Olympic gymnast Mary Lou Retton and former aerobics queen, Jane Fonda, opting for hip replacement surgery. According to the National Center for Health Statistics, the number of hip replacements in individuals aged 45 to 54 more than tripled between 2000 and 2010.
Why the surge in hip replacement surgery among younger patients?
Previously, replacements were only designed to last about 10 years or so, which meant doctors would recommend them to older patients, delaying the option for the younger population. Now, implants are made of more dependable and durable materials which are designed to last much longer – up to 30 years or more.
And since hip conditions are not just limited to the elderly, this is good news for the younger, active population.
Additionally, younger generations have been seeking out hip replacement surgery as the procedure becomes more and more sophisticated. While in the past, it may have required a lengthy hospital stay, surgeries today are much less invasive than they used to be. According to the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, more than 450,000 total hip replacements are performed each year in the United States. Now, qualified patients will be able to have same-day hip replacements. Typically, there will be at least a one to up to three-night post-operative hospital stay. Length of stay depends on how quickly the patient responds to in-patient physical therapy. Being able to walk with or without an assistive device and demonstrating progress in activities of daily will determine the length of stay at the hospital.
When Should I Start OutPatient Physical Therapy?
Hip replacement surgery is one of the most successful operations. Physical therapy plays a key role in every stage of the rehabilitation process. Even before surgery, physical therapy has been shown to be beneficial for post-surgery recovery. In preparation for surgery, your therapist may educate you on any precautions to be aware of post-surgery, teach you how to effectively use crutches or a walker. A particularly good step is to learn a series of flexibility and strengthening exercises to be used during rehabilitation. Better to be reminded of an exercise than learn new during the early days on the road to recovery.
Depending on your procedure, postoperative treatment may begin on the first- or second-day following surgery to help you restore function and prevent blood clots. Early intervention following joint replacement surgery typically shortens the amount of time a patient will spend in outpatient therapy.
As you progress, your physical therapist will help you learn how to safely get up to a sitting position, put weight on the affected leg, turn in bed, walk with your assistive device, and perform gentle exercises. As you recover, you will continue to work on walking, balance, transferring to a chair, increased movement of your lower extremity and new hip, and specific strengthening exercises to improve your ability to stand and become independent.
Everyone’s recovery journey is different. Throughout the process, some exercises will be discontinued, and others may be added. Progress will be partially measured by the ability to move to exercises at higher functional levels, eventually reaching the desired level.
How Long Does it Take To Recover from Surgery
Physical therapy, regular exercise and maintaining a healthy diet and body weight are all necessary steps to ensure a smooth and successful recovery and help patients get back on their feet…literally. It’s not just about what you do during your physical therapy session, but what you do on your own that will lead to a positive recovery.
Following the proper steps, mentioned below, recovery typically occurs rapidly in the first several months. In just about two months, patients can be back on their feet with considerably less pain. The average healing process takes four to five months as soft tissues take longer to heal. Many patients can expect to experience improvements throughout the first year.
Physical Therapy Interventions Following Hip Replacement Surgery
An important factor to consider is the recovery process following hip replacement surgery. With physical therapy, patients will experience a bigger decrease in pain than without. In addition, physical therapy is necessary to help patients improve strength, balance and coordination which will help them return to their daily activities at a faster rate and reduce their risk for falls.
When you’re healing from surgery, it’s critical to work with highly skilled rehabilitation experts to help you restore range of motion in the joint and build leg muscles for a strong support system. Initially, therapy will begin the day after your surgery and will continue to progress through rehabilitation for an individual’s specific activities, such as returning to exercise.
While pain and stiffness is normal after surgery, a physical therapist will use special techniques to help subside the discomfort and inflammation. A therapist can also teach patients how to move through real-life settings and suggest adaptive equipment, such as a raised toilet seat, to ensure a safe recovery process.
Common Physical Therapy interventions include manual therapeutic techniques, therapeutic exercises, neuromuscular reeducation and other modalities such as ultrasound, electrical stimulation and ice.
At Home Care for Hip Replacement Surgery During COVID-19
Are you recovering from hip replacement surgery and need guidance on recovering at home? Through Telehealth at Twin Boro, we are able to deliver the same high-quality treatment and care to patients with an added level of convenience that allows treatment to be done in the convenience of your own home. Each patient’s treatment is thoughtfully customized to address the individual’s specific needs.
Live Pain-Free Again
No matter what age you are, if you have been experiencing hip pain that makes daily activities (such as walking or going up or down stairs) difficult, consult with your doctor about exploring appropriate hip-saving procedures. Symptoms of hip issues include sharp (often debilitating) pain in the groin, upper thigh and/or knee.
If you do opt for hip replacement surgery, be sure to contact one of our physical therapy clinics to learn more about how physical therapy can help you post surgery. Our professional physical therapists can help you understand the benefits and limitations of this option.
With 27 locations throughout New Jersey, we make it easy to find a physical therapy clinic near you. Simply search for the closest NJ location using your zip code.
Why Choose Twin Boro Physical Therapy
Voted Readers’ Choice Best of New Jersey in 2013, Twin Boro has provided NJ residents with high quality physical therapy and rehab for over 38 years! It’s our award-winning approach, proven results and reputation that sets us apart. By incorporating the One2Four program into each patient’s program, the latest and most reliable scientific research and techniques is incorporated into effective evidence-based practice, we deliver only the highest standard of care with the unique One2Four approach.
It’s no surprise that Twin Boro Physical Therapy has also been voted the best physical therapy practice in New Jersey by the readers of mycentraljersey.com.