After a hip replacement, there are several “rules” that you may have to follow, depending on the type of hip replacement surgery you underwent. Dislocation and infection are the two most common complications after this type of procedure.
Your physical therapist and medical team will explain to you the importance of avoiding specific movements to avoid dislocation.
The posterior approach to hip replacement involves making an incision and replacing the joint through the side of the hip. This approach has three main movements that are restricted in order to reduce the likelihood of dislocation. You should avoid crossing your legs, pointing your toes inward and avoid bending forward past a 90 degree angle.
You cannot bring your knee up toward your chest. You may not bend forward as you traditionally would to reach something from the floor, or put on your shoes. There are strategies to be successful with dressing and reaching without breaking your hip precautions.
The anterior approach is a more recent way of performing this surgery. After an anterior approach, you must avoid excessive hip extension, which means that you cannot kick your leg backward behind your body. Normal walking is okay, but any movement that stretches the leg behind your body is not allowed.
In order to ensure the safety of your hip, you will likely use a “hip kit” which will consist of tools that allow you to put on and take of your shoes and socks, as well as a long handled reacher. The reacher allows you to grab things that you would otherwise have to bend forward to obtain.
This prevents you from moving in a way that may risk dislocation. You will also be using some type of walking device, such as a walker, crutches or a cane. Walking devices keep you safe while relearning how to walk.
Exercise is a crucial component to your rehabilitation. You underwent a major surgery and it is important that you do everything for optimal outcomes. Home exercises are meant to restore range of motion and strength around your new joint.
Your home exercises will consist of simple strengthening activities that can be done with little or no equipment. Your therapist will instruct you on proper form and execution. Be diligent about your home exercises and you will regain strength quickly.
It is essential to have consistent medical supervision after a hip replacement. You will be followed by your physical therapist and he or she will answer many questions that may arise.
You will have regularly scheduled appointments with the surgeon and his surgical team to assess your progress and healing. Your follow up care will ensure successful outcomes to get you back to where you want to be.
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National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases: “Questions and Answers About Hip Replacement”