Hip Replacement and Physical Therapy

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Total Hip replacement is a surgical procedure to improve quality of life in people with very painful arthritis or hip fractures. Hip replacement may decrease pain, improve hip stability, range of motion, and quality of life.

This is an informative blog to learn more about hip replacement, hip anatomy, precautions and how physical therapy can help.

What part of the body is the hip?

The hip is the area where the hip bends to sit, go upstairs, or squat.

Which bones make up the hip joint?

The hip joint has to main bones the hip bone with a socket shape and the femur with a round head. (The femur is the upper end of the thigh bone).

What are the parts of the hip joint?

  • Cartilage. This tissue cover the hip bone surface and provides cushion to the joint.
  • Synovial membrane and synovial fluid. This fluid lubricates and allows the hip joint to move smoothly
  • Ligaments. elastic bands to control the hip movement and to stabilize the hip.

What does total hip replacement mean?

Total hip replacement is a procedure to remove damaged cartilage and bone and replace it with a metal structure with the same form and shape of the hip joint.

Why are the sign of needing a hip replacement?

If the person tries everything from pain killers, change in activities, use of ambulatory aids and the pain and lack of mobility keep getting worse, a hip replacement will be recommended

What are the most common reasons for hip replacement surgery?

  • Osteoarthritis.
  • Rheumatoid Arthritis.
  • Hip fracture (Previous falls, osteoporosis, or bone cancer).

What are the precautions after hip replacement?

The precautions means a safe position for the hip after surgery.

»  Posterior Precautions

  • Do not bend hip above 90 degrees
  • Keep the knees apart and do not cross the operated leg or ankle.
  • Keep toes straight or slightly rotate Outwards and Do not rotate toes inwards.

» Anterior Precautions

  • Avoid moving surgical leg out to the side.
  • Do not move surgical leg backward.
  • Avoid cruising or turning your surgical leg with toes outward (Basic seated yoga pose).

» Risk factors for slow recovery

  • Severe obesity.
  • Lack of body flexibility.

How can physical therapy help?

Physical Therapy improves the range of motion, strength, the ability to walk, improve balance, reduce the risk of complications after surgery and manage pain.

Physical therapy after hip replacement

The initial physical therapy begins the next day after surgery. In this visit the physical therapist educates the patient about bed mobility, transfer training, gait and walker use training and gentle exercises in bed to improve range of motion, decrease pain, improve strength, and function.

Physical therapy for hip replacement focuses on:

  • Manual therapy to decrease pain and inflammation around the wound area.
  • Deep breathing techniques, coughing exercises and incentive spirometer to prevent respiratory complications.
  • Fall prevention education for home adding rail for support, proper lightning and obstacles removed (carpet in the bathroom).
  • Physical therapy teach about post surgical exercises and precautions to prevent contractures and to protect the new hip
  • Range of motion improvement within protective and pain free ranges.
  • Therapeutic exercises progression to improve hip strength starting in bed and progressing toward standing.
  • Balance training for fall prevention.
  • Gait training on even and uneven surfaces.

Here is an example of an exercise program for total hip replacement.

If you are looking for a physical therapist after your hip replacement, call now 805-203-9940 to make an appointment to recover faster, move easier, and effortless.

The information in this blog is for educational and informational purposes only, its content is provided based upon evidence-based medicine, knowledge, and experience as a Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT).