Do you need a Hip Replacement?

posted Oct 30, 2012, 5:55 PM by LASP Team

When one or more parts of the hip joint are damaged it can become painful and movement becomes restricted. Over time cartilage (the smooth covering at the ends of the bone in the joint) starts to crack or wear away. When this happens, the bones making up the joint, rub together. It may be hard for you to perform simple activities such as getting dressed or rolling in bed. You may even begin to feel pain while you're sitting or lying down. 

If medications, changing your activity level and using walking supports are no longer helpful, you may want to consider total hip replacement surgery. In a total hip replacement surgery, the painful parts of the damaged hip are replaced with an artificial hip prosthesis (a device that substitutes or supplements a joint). The prosthesis consists of three components: a socket, ball, and stem. When the metal ball is joined with the socket, the new hip can allow for smooth, nearly frictionless movement.

Prior to surgery, your doctor may suggest that you lose weight and initiate an exercise program. If you smoke, be sure to speak with your doctor about it, as smoking can dangerously increase surgical risks and slow down the healing process. You should also make plans for after the surgery. You will need to consider:

·         if you will need a carer or help from family and friends,

·         whether your house requires adjustments (eg stairs, proximity to a shower and toilet),

·         your transport options (you will not be driving for approximately six weeks after your surgery).

Following surgery you will be in hospital approximately 4-5 days, however full recovery can take 3-6 months, depending on your health and age. You will generally need to use crutches for 2 weeks following surgery and then using other walking aids for another 4-6 weeks.

Following surgery you will need to avoid 3 hip positions:

  1. Bending you hip past 90deg
  2. Twisting your leg in or out
  3. Crossing your legs

Surgery is not a pleasant prospect for anyone, but for some people with arthritis, it could mean the difference between leading a normal life or putting up with a debilitating condition. Surgery can be regarded as part of your treatment plan— it may help to restore function to your damaged joints as well as relieve pain.

Physiotherapy treatment is vital to hasten the healing process and ensure an optimal outcome in all patients. It can play a part both before and after your hip surgery.

Prior to surgery, the Physiotherapist can help you build up the muscles that control your hip and leg. The better these muscles are working before surgery, the better they will work again after surgery.

Following surgery, regaining movement and strength early is extremely important. The Physiotherapist will help you regain your flexibility, mobility and function.

Physiotherapy may comprise of soft tissue massage, hydrotherapy, progressive exercises to improve flexibility, strength and balance, advice about activity modification and a gradual return to activity program.

If you have any questions about hip replacement surgery or the rehabilitation following, you can speak to the friendly staff at Lifestyle and Sports Physiotherapy on (02) 4647 3373.

Helping you to Live, Perform, Be Well!