Adjusting to Life With a Hip Replacement

Hip replacement recovery and rehabilitation is just as important as the surgery itself. If you fail to follow recovery protocols, you may compromise your ultimate result of the surgery. Total hip replacement recovery takes about six weeks for most patients. However, if you had both of your hips replaced at the same time, your hospital stay and your recovery may take longer.

Often times my patients will say that the pain of the hip surgery is not much worse than the arthritic pain they had prior to surgery,” said Dr. Kolisek. “Patients notice a difference the first time they walk with their new hip. It is because of this that hip replacement patients are some of the most satisfied patients that I take care of which is very gratifying.”

Exercise, maintaining a healthy diet and body weight, taking steps to prevent blood clots, and preparing your household for reduced mobility can help to ensure a successful recovery following your hip replacement surgery. In most cases, if you work at a sedentary job, you may be able to return to work after three to six weeks.

Hip replacement surgery not only improves quality of life but is also associated with increased life expectancy, compared to people of similar age and sex, reports a study in Clinical Orthopedics and Related Research® (CORR®), a publication of The Association of Bone and Joint Surgeons®. The journal is published by Wolters Kluwer.

How this can help seniors:

Exercise to Promote Blood Flow
Certain exercises can help to promote blood flow and prevent clots: Regularly squeezing the thigh and calf, motion exercises for the legs that utilize full range of leg motions, and walking with or without the assistance of supportive devices such as a walker or cane. Once light activity becomes possible, gradually increase walking and light household activities (sitting, standing, climbing stairs).

A Better Quality of Life
Once you return home and complete your physical therapy, you will find yourself adjusting to your new hip and enjoying a more mobile lifestyle. Hip replacement recovery is usually pretty fast and many patients feel like it gave them their life back.

Returning to an Active Lifestyle
Patients are often more active after their hip replacement because they are finally able to move around without pain. Swimming, cycling, slow-paced tennis, hiking and golfing are safe to return to and encouraged when your physical therapy is complete. Jogging, basketball and other high impact activities are not encouraged as they put pressure on your new hips. Talk with your total joint specialist about your goals before surgery.

Quick tips for ensuring a safer home for seniors:

Tip #1 – Practice safe cooking habits. Avoid foods that are unsafe for seniors, such as raw foods, unpasteurized products or uncooked items.

Tip #2 – Prevent Slips Around the House. Wear anti-slip slippers or socks when walking around you home, especially on slippery surfaces such as polished hardwood floors or tile.

Tip #3 – Prevent Home Fires. Don’t leave any candles or fireplace burning in an empty room.

Tip #4 – Stay Alert. Avoid falling asleep on a public train or during bus or taxi rides.

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