If you are among the 15% of people over age 65 suffering from chronic hip pain, your surgeon may recommend hip replacement surgery. Active participation during the hip surgery recovery process will help your body heal and increase your mobility.
After hip surgery, you will likely stay in the hospital for one to three days, or until you regain enough mobility to stand and walk short distances. With careful planning, the right surgical team, and a solid physical therapy program, you can recover fairly quickly from hip surgery. You can make the hip surgery recovery process much more comfortable by taking a few key preparatory steps:
1. Prepare Your Home Ahead of Time
In preparation for your surgery, you should make a few safety improvements to your home. This is because after your hip surgery, you may experience temporary weakness in your legs, making it difficult to rise from a sitting position, climb stairs, and maintain your balance.
Your orthopedic surgeon will likely recommend a walker to help you move through your home and prevent a fall. If possible, choose a walker with a front basket to carry your personal items. Having your things handy will decrease the need to bend at the waist or overreach.
You can make it easier to use your walker by creating clear pathways through your home by re-arranging your furniture. You should also remove bulky or loose rugs that could bunch up under the supports of your walker or slide as you walk across them.
Consider preparing and freezing several meals ahead of time for easy access. Casseroles can last for several weeks in the freezer, so you can plan and perform this task far ahead of time.
2. Assign a Temporary Caretaker
Simple tasks like carrying food and performing your personal care routine can become difficult when using a walker. If it is possible, arrange for someone to stay with you for a few days after your hip replacement surgery. A close relative or friend can help you reach items and navigate stairs.
If you do not have any nearby relatives or friends, please talk to your surgical team about arranging for in-home care or staying in an outpatient recovery center for the first several days of your hip surgery recovery. Pain management medications and post-operative muscle weakness will make it impossible to recover on your own.
3. Avoid Strenuous Activities
You should avoid climbing stairs as much as possible while recovering from hip surgery. Plan to sleep on the ground floor until your pain subsides and your balance improves. Lying flat might be uncomfortable for a few days so you may want to set up your couch or bed with extra pillows to help you prop up your leg.
You should refrain from bending at a 90-degree angle while your hip joint heals. Also, avoid lifting your legs high, squatting, or twisting at the knee or hip. Flexing your hip too far can increase your pain levels and damage the healing tissues.
4. Follow the Advice of Your Surgeon
Every surgeon’s instructions regarding rehabilitation and DVT (Deep Vein Thrombosis) prevention are slightly different. Be sure to follow the advice of your surgeon to ensure your recovery, and to make sure you avoid blood clots.
If you have questions about recovering from hip surgery in Arkansas, contact Arkansas Surgical Hospital at 877.918.7020 to schedule a consultation with one of our renowned orthopedic surgeons.