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Physical Therapy After Hip Replacement Surgery: Why? How? When?

Getting a new hip is a big step towards active and pain-free living. But hip replacement surgery isn’t the finish line. You need rehabilitation to ensure your new hip works great and lasts a long time. That’s where physical therapy (PT) comes in.

In this blog, we’ll explore why PT is a must after you’ve had hip replacement surgery, how it helps you and when you should start it. PT is key to making sure your new hip can do its job well. Everything from helping you walk, bend, and move without pain is connected to the hip joint.

Understanding the “Why”: Goals of Physical Therapy Post-hip Replacement

Physical therapy (PT) after hip replacement surgery plays a huge part in successful recovery. It’s how you improve your quality of life and do what you love without pain or discomfort.

High-quality research supports the efficacy of PT. Studies consistently show that patients participating in supervised, personalised rehab programs experience better recovery.

That’s exactly what we specialise in at Clearcut Physiotherapy. Our expert therapists are trained to customise your rehab plan, according to your needs. Need more convincing? Here’s why physiotherapy after hip replacement is indispensable for recovery:

  • Enhanced mobility: Your hip joint is essential for walking, climbing stairs and even getting out of a chair. Our PT programs help you regain the flexibility and movement of your hip.
  • Prevention of complications: Post-op complications like blood clots or hip dislocation are quite common. Regular, guided exercises with a trained physiotherapist can significantly reduce the risk of post-surgery complications.
  • Return to daily activities: Your PT regime is tailored to help you resume your regular activities safely and efficiently. That includes everything from household chores to leisure pursuits.
  • Improving range of motion: Our PT exercises are designed to increase the flexibility of your hip joint. Gradually, they help you to achieve a natural range of movement.
  • Strengthening surrounding muscles and retaining gait: Strong muscles support the joint and facilitate easier movement. Building muscle strength around your new hip is crucial for stability and function. Our customised PT also helps in retraining your gait. So that you can walk smoothly and steadily and reduce the risk of falls.

Mobility post-surgery is crucial, but independence is the ultimate goal. PT is how you integrate your new hip into your active lifestyle. These exercises empower you to move safely and confidently.

Image Alt Text	Patient testimonial for rehab at Clearcut Physiotherapy in London.

How to Do Physical Therapy After Hip Replacement Surgery

Post-Hip replacement surgery physiotherapy is a phased process. We incorporate various exercises and therapies into your regimen. Sometimes, these start in the hospital and continue with attending sessions at a clinic like ours, or home.

Here’s a step-by-step breakdown of the process:

Early Phase: Initial Recovery

Our physiotherapy program starts right after surgery, while you’re still in bed. The focus is getting your blood flowing and keeping your muscles active.

Initially, you’ll start with simple movements in bed to boost circulation and prevent blood clots. Both these are critical in the early days of post-surgery. These exercises also play a key role in keeping your muscles toned and your new hip joint healthy.

Soon, you’ll begin walking with devices such as walkers or crutches. This step helps gradually build up your confidence and ability to move. It also sets the foundation for walking independently again.

Intermediate Phase: Enhancing Strength and Mobility

As you progress, the exercises in our program become more challenging. The focus shifts to building the strength needed to support your new hip and increasing its range of motion.

You’ll work on strengthening your hip, core and leg muscles. This approach equips your entire body to support your new joint.

Your hip is an integral part of performing daily tasks and moving without restrictions. Through specific activities, you’ll work on slowly expanding the flexibility and movement of your hip.

Advanced Phase: Restoring Functionality and Independence

In the later stages of our PT regimen, the exercises simulate everyday activities. These exercises help you regain the skills necessary for independent living.

This stage is about making sure you can safely and efficiently perform daily tasks. That’s why we design all exercises during this phase to mimic your daily activities. To prevent falls and increase stability, balance and coordination exercises are integrated into your routine.

All this effort is to help you move about confidently and safely. From bed-bound exercises to functional training, PT helps you embrace your daily activities with renewed strength and without pain.

When Should You Start Physical Therapy After Hip Replacement Surgery?

The timing of starting post-hip replacement surgery physiotherapy is crucial for successful recovery. Initiating PT early significantly impacts the overall effectiveness of your rehabilitation.

Early intervention is key to preventing complications such as stiffness and blood clots. Typically, our PT program begins almost immediately after surgery, as soon as the day after. Initial movements are designed to enhance circulation and maintain muscle tone.

Our exercises progress from early, gentle exercises to more intensive activities following a structured timeline. In the first few weeks, the focus is on regaining basic functions. Over the following weeks and months, the intensity and complexity of the exercises increase. You’ll work on strengthening your muscles, improving your range of motion, and eventually returning to more normal activities.

The duration and intensity of your PT will depend on several factors including your overall health, the specifics of your surgery, and your body’s response to the surgery. Some people progress quickly through the early stages of PT. Others may take more time to build strength and mobility.

Our physical therapists will continuously assess your progress and adjust your PT plan accordingly. Understanding the progression of PT after surgery helps set realistic expectations.

The Role of the Patient in Success of Physiotherapy after Hip Surgery

As the patient, you play a pivotal role in your physiotherapy after hip replacement. Your engagement and commitment to the PT process are just as crucial as the expertise of your therapists.

Adherence to your PT regimen is foundational to your recovery. Following the exercises and routines prescribed by your therapist will also minimise postoperative complications. Show up for yourself every day and recognize how each exercise is a step closer to regaining your mobility.

Communication helps your therapist adjust your PT program to your evolving needs. It’s key to getting the most out of your sessions. Make sure you provide honest feedback about your pain levels, difficulties, or any concerns you might have during your sessions.

Managing realistic expectations is another critical aspect of the journey. This helps you adhere to the PT program and maintain motivation. Recovery is a gradual process and everyone’s journey looks different. Celebrate the small victories along the way and trust in the incremental progress you’re making.

Your Next Steps

Our specialised PT after your hip replacement is a big part of getting back to your usual self. It’s how you get your new hip to work well and do all the things you love, minus the trouble. Your role in this journey is crucial. By sticking to your PT plan and talking openly with our expert therapist, you’re setting yourself up for the best recovery possible.

Now, it’s your turn to take the next step. Whether you’re just starting on your PT journey or looking to keep making progress, we’re here to help. Skilled teams at our physiotherapy clinics in Eltham, Battersea and Norbury are ready to support your recovery. Give us a call or drop by to learn more about how we can help you get moving again with confidence and strength.