Total hip replacement is a significant operation that surgeons perform to fix ailing hip joints. Most often, surgeons perform hip replacement to resolve symptoms of arthritis, which can cause enough pain to interfere with daily activities. Like all orthopedic surgeries, your body needs time to heal and get used to the new prosthetic joint. Hence, patients often undergo physical therapy for months following a total hip replacement, so they can reap the full benefits of the new joint as quickly as possible.
Goals of Physical Therapy
The period of physical therapy after an operation is also called rehabilitation. As the name implies, rehabilitation ultimately aims to help patients restore their bodies to working order. Physical therapy achieves this mission by targeting multiple health and fitness goals.
Most urgently, physical therapy improves circulation to the surgery site. The danger with postoperative periods is that people are more likely to develop poor circulation if they do not stay active enough. Insufficient blood circulation can lead to unpleasant symptoms such as numbness and bed sores as well as a slower recovery. Physical therapy helps you stay active, aiding in blood circulation and recovery.
Physical therapy also teaches your body how to adapt to your new hip. The trauma of surgery coupled with new parts in your hip can cause weakness and limited mobility. To get stronger, you need rehabilitation to strengthen your hip and leg muscles.
A hip replacement also causes limited range of motion. For the first few weeks after surgery, you may feel soreness and stiffness in your hips. Limited mobility is a normal symptom of surgery, but physical therapy can help improve it. You will perform exercises that will help make your hip joint mobile, flexible, and stronger. Physical therapy will also help improve the healing process and reduce your pain symptoms.
The exact timing of your physical therapy depends on your overall health and your surgeon’s recommendation. Soon after the surgery, you will begin minor exercises. Examples include ankle pumps and rotations that engage your calf muscles. You may also do leg raises and knee bends while lying down. These movements target the quadriceps, a group of muscles at the front of your thighs that contribute towards hip stability.
These early postoperative exercises aim to maintain healthy blood circulation in your legs. They also help to strengthen your lower body in preparation for future activities.
After some time, you’ll be able to stand and support some of your weight using your legs. At this point, you’ll do several leg movements such as extending and flexing your legs, which will help strengthen your hip muscles. You’ll also start walking with assistance. Typically, you’ll use a walker or crutches, which help reduce the risk of falling.
After a few weeks of physical therapy, you’ll be able to bear more weight on the new hip. From walkers and crutches, you’ll progress to a cane, and eventually to having no support at all.
Your therapist will also start having you do resistance exercises. You will perform movements while having to counteract forces from restraints. Resistance exercises will challenge your muscles to grow stronger until they can fully support you in various activities.
Access to Physical Therapy in Texas
Physical therapy is necessary for full recovery after total hip replacement. If you are in need of a reputable and experienced physical therapist, look no further than the experts at Endeavor Physical Therapy & Wellness. We provide premier outpatient rehabilitation services for patients who need top-notch physical therapy.
To make an appointment, call us at (512) 284-7192 or request an appointment online.