Hip replacement surgery is performed more than 300,000 times a year in the US. This common surgery involves removing damaged cartilage and bone from the hip joint and replacing it with a synthetic implant. The purpose of hip replacement surgery is to help alleviate pain, help your knee joint function better and increase mobility. If you’re about to undergo hip replacement surgery, here are some tips for a safe recovery.
- Prevent blood clots.After surgery, you’re at risk for blood clots in your legs. Sitting up and trying to walk with crutches as soon as possible after surgery will help prevent this complication. Wearing a compression stocking is also important to provide pressure and keep blood from pooling in the veins. In addition, your doctor may prescribe medication to reduce the risk of blood clots.
- Fall-proof your home. It’s especially important that you take measures to prevent yourself from falling after hip replacement surgery. Use a walking aid like crutches, a cane or a walker as directed. Replace rugs that may give out under you with secure ones, or just eliminate them altogether. It’s also a good idea to clear pathways of clutter to help you navigate your way through your home safely.
- Don’t put off physical therapy. Regaining mobility and independence is one of the most rewarding things to look forward to after surgery. And to make sure you’re on the road to a safe recovery, it’s essential that you participate in light exercise and physical therapy as directed by your doctor. This, in addition to adequate rest and pain management, is crucial to the overall healing process.
- Take care to make your new hip last. To ensure your hip lasts, your doctor may recommend that you avoid bending your hip more than 90 degrees or twisting your hip. It’s also best to take small steps when you turn around, avoid putting pressure on your healing hip in the early stages (such as lying on your side), and avoid crossing your legs or forcing your hip to do anything that causes discomfort.
After hip replacement surgery, most patients resume normal activities after six to eight weeks. Your strength will continue to improve over a six- to 12-month timeframe.