The long road ahead to recovery requires determination, perseverance and commitment to doing exercises and following hip precautions.
You must follow your hip precautions for a MINIMUM of 3 months, unless otherwise advised by your surgeon.
- Continue to follow hip precautions as you go about your daily activities.
- Continue to walk and exercise every day.
- Use an ice pack if your hip begins to feel tender or if it begins to swell.
- Twist your hip. Instead turn your entire body bu taking small steps.
- Bend more than 30° in bed.
- Bend more than 90° in standing or sitting position.
- Cross your legs or ankles
How To Protect Your Artificial Joint From Infection
You must protect your hip from infection to prevent complications.
- If you have any dental work scheduled, call your surgeon and notify your dentist that you have an artificial joint. You may need to take antibiotics.
WHEN TO CALL YOUR DOCTOR
- Fever of 100° for a period of 24 hours.
- Fever of 101° for ANY period of time.
- Redness or drainage from your hip incision.
- Increased pain, tenderness or swelling within the hip, knee, calf or elsewhere.
- Any other problems or questions.
Exercises Week 1-2
Before leaving hospital I was taught post-operative hip exercises and also given a sheet to remember them. This is the start of a physiotherapy program to help regain strength and range of movement of the hip. It is very important that you complete these exercises ON YOUR OWN in order to regain hip function as quickly as possible.
To begin try doing 5-10 repetitions of each exercise 3-4 times a day.
In Bed – Lying on your Back
Pump your ankles up and down and in circles.
Keeping your knee straight, tighten the thigh muscle and press your knee down into the bed. /whilst doing this pull your toes towards your nose.
Tighten your buttock muscles and push your entire thigh back into the bed.
Initially use a plastic bag under your heel to make this easier. Bend your knee by sliding your heel up towards your bottom. Then slowly slide your leg back down. Remember your hip precautions and do NOT bend your hip more than 90°.
With a roll or small cushion under your knee, lift you heel off the bed whilst pulling your toes towards you. Then lift your heel off the bed until your knee is straight. This is done by tightening the thigh muscle. Slowly lower the foot, without allowing it to drop to the bed.
Hold onto a solid object for balance. A counter top for hand support is ideal.
Bend your operated hip to bring your leg up into a half marching position. Do not bend your hip more than 90°. Ensure to keep your back straight.
Bring your operated leg backwards keeping your knee straight. Ensure to keep your back and shoulders straight.
Keeping your back and shoulders straight, bend the knee of the operated leg to move your heel towards your buttocks.
Without using any strength from your shoulders or arms, rise up on your toes and then slowly down. Ensure you keep your back straight and go straight up.
Sitting in a Chair
Sit in a chair with your knees positioned below your hips. Straightening your knee, lift your foot off the floor. Do not lift your thigh off the chair.
Sitting in a chair with your knees positioned below your hips, slide your heel under the chair. Do not lift your thigh off the chair.
You will need a walking aid after discharge. Progression will likely be from a walker or crutches to a cane. Your physiotherapist will prescribe the most appropriate aid and will also work with what you have for your recovery.
Using a walker
Take the weight through your arms for support.
Move the walker a few inches in front of you.
Step into the walker with your operated (bad) leg.
Step with your good leg to the equal level of the bad leg.
Step with your crutches and operated leg.
Step with your good leg. As you step, push your body through your arms using the hand grips. Do not take the weight through your shoulders. The crutches should rest just under your underarms.
Using a cane
Carry the cane on your good side.
Weight is taken on the cane and operated leg when stepping.
You will be taught how to get up and down stairs before your discharge from the hospital. You will need a handrail at least at one side for easier stair climbing.
Up with the good. Down with the bad.
Walking UP stairs you will lead with your good leg. Then you will follow with a cane or crutch and the operated leg. You will be tackling ONE stair at a time.
Walking DOWN stairs you will lead with your bad leg. You will step down with the cane or crutch at the same time as your operated leg and then follow with your good leg. Again, you will be tackling ONE stair at a time.