Physical Therapy After Hip Replacement Surgery: What to Expect

Physical Therapy After Hip Replacement Surgery: What to Expect

After a hip replacement, it’s a long road to getting back to your life before surgery. Part of your recovery is physical therapy, which allows you to regain flexibility and functionality in your hip. However, the thought of moving around after surgery can be overwhelming. Knowing what to expect from therapy helps you mentally and physically prepare for your new hip.

At University of Toledo PhysiciansDr. Nabil Ebraheim offers hip replacement surgery and physical therapy when your hip pain is too much to bear. Dr. Ebraheim is an esteemed orthopedic surgeon with years of experience in total joint replacements.

Why physical therapy is important

After a total hip replacement, you're on your way to less pain and more mobility in your life. However, it’s not a quick or easy road by any means. Physical therapy is one of the best tools to help your new hip regain its function and normal movement after surgery.

Physical therapy is vital to your recovery. It starts a few days after surgery and continues for several months to a year after your procedure. It’s important that you take this aspect of your recovery seriously, as it can make or break your mobility.

During hip replacement surgery, Dr. Ebraheim removes the damaged areas in your hip and replaces them with a prosthetic device. This mimics the feel and movement of your natural hip bones. Physical therapy is needed to prevent stiffness in the new joint in the weeks following surgery.

Physical therapy right after surgery

Depending on your health and the severity of your hip before surgery, you may need to spend a night or two in the hospital after the procedure. Physical therapy starts right away, often the same day as your surgery.

Once you’re in your hospital room, a physical therapist visits you and first explains the precautions you need to follow with your new hip. Then they’ll begin to move your hip around gently, slowly working in range-of-motion and strength exercises during your hospital stay.

Before you go home, the therapist also fits you for an assistive device, and teaches you how to use it properly. For a total hip replacement, you’ll need a walker to help you get around. The therapist explains how to get around safely when you go home with your walker.

If you’re not quite fit to go home, Dr. Ebraheim may have you first head to a rehab center, where they help you increase your mobility enough that you can go home.

Physical therapy at home

Once you’re home from the hospital or rehab facility, the real work begins. You may need to have home physical therapy sessions for a while as you get used to your new hip. In the beginning, your hip mobility and strength will be low.

However, during the next few weeks as your body heals, your ability to move your hip and get around will improve, especially with help from your physical therapist. At home, they provide you with range of motion exercises to increase your overall functionality.

Strength exercises are also a vital part of your home therapy regimen. Weakness in your hip during the first days to weeks after surgery is expected. The physical therapist provides you with specific exercises that target the muscles in and around your hip to slowly strengthen that area.

Outpatient physical therapy

Once you’re strong enough to attend outpatient physical therapy, you’ll head to a clinic where the work to get you completely mobile continues. Along with working on your range of motion and strength, the therapist incorporates balance into your regimen.

The goal at this point in your rehabilitation is to get your hip strong enough that you can get around without assistive devices. This is where both strength and balance really come into play.

You’ll likely start your therapy sessions on a stationary bike or treadmill to loosen your hip muscles and prepare them for your session. Typically, your therapist incorporates exercises like standing knee raises and heel slides to improve the range of motion in your hip.

Stretching is another vital aspect of your physical therapy plan. After working your hip with exercises, your therapist performs a round of stretches to keep your hip flexible and reduce any pain or discomfort during your therapy.

After about three months, you should be at a point where you can return to your normal activities. In some cases though, it can take up to a year for you to fully recover from a total hip replacement.

When you’re in need of a hip replacement, don’t hesitate to call our office at 419-383-3761, or book an appointment on our website today. You can also learn more about hip replacement surgery on our YouTube channel.

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