Hip Replacement Aftercare: 
What You Should Know

Hip replacement aftercare may seem daunting at first, but with a little planning, you will find that it is manageable.  The purpose of hip replacement surgery is to remove damaged parts of the hip joint and replace them with man-made parts. 

This surgery is meant to reduce pain, improve joint function and improve mobility.  A team of medical professionals will work closely with you and your family to determine the best course of action after your hip replacement.

Transitioning through Hip Replacement Aftercare:

Your surgery will likely take place at a hospital and you can expect to stay at the hospital for 3 to 5 days, depending on your healing and ability to move.  At the hospital, you will work with physical and occupational therapists to begin your rehabilitation.  The therapist will teach you strategies to perform daily skills without risking dislocation of the new hip joint. 

In addition, nurses will monitor your medical status to manage pain and screen for any signs of infection.  A social worker will help you plan your transition from the hospital to your home, or to another rehabilitation facility. 

A respiratory therapist will begin deep breathing exercises to reduce your risk of developing pneumonia.  Of course, the surgeon and his clinical team will check in with you daily to make sure that your new joint is healing well. 

If you are moving well in the hospital and have support at home, you may be able to discharge right to your home after the hospital.  For people that still require some help getting around or those who live alone, a rehabilitation stay is typically recommended and your hip replacement aftercare is coordinated. 

At a rehabilitation facility, you typically work with therapists to improve your strength, range of motion, and ability to move so that you can return home safely and successfully.  In addition, nurses provide further medical attention to monitor and care for your incision.

Remember when you go home there are devices you can purchase to assist you such as bathroom aids, useful kits. hip chairs and others to minimize your effort.

Whether you’re going home or staying at a rehab facility, you will need to continue with physical therapy to regain strength and your ability to move as you did before.

At a rehabilitation facility, you typically work with therapists to improve your strength, range of motion, and ability to move so that you can return home safely and successfully.  In addition, nurses provide further medical attention to monitor and care for your incision. 

Whether you’re going home or staying at a rehab facility, you will need to continue with physical therapy to regain strength and your ability to move as you did before.

Walking After Hip Replacement:

The idea of standing and moving after surgery may seem scary.  Most people are fearful of the pain or that their new joint will not be able to support the weight of their body.  Fear not!  The pain that you experienced dealing with the arthritis that lead you to surgery is typically worse than the surgical pain. 

Your new joint is extremely strong.  Your therapist will warn you against specific movement to avoid dislocating your new hip joint.  For most cases, walking with the support and direction of a therapist  can begin the day after surgery. 

You will likely use a walker or crutches initially to increase your stability.  As you build confidence and strength, you will increase your walking distance and learn to go up and down the stairs as well.  Trust your body and the support from the hospital therapists.  You will likely be able to walk again. 

Your return to “normal” walking will be gradual.  You will likely begin walking with a walker, then transition to a cane and eventually without an assistive device. 

Your hip replacement aftercare will involve self-treatment through exercise, incision care and walking.  You will participate in physical therapy either at home or in a facility and follow up with your surgeon at regular intervals to monitor your outcomes.   A full recovery usually takes up to 6 months and is gradual work in progress.


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Related Link:

National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases: “What Is a Hip Replacement? Fast Facts: An Easy-to-Read Series of Publications for the Public”