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The number of hip replacement surgeries that take place in the United States has significantly increased over the last couple of years. Hip surgery is still mostly performed on middle-aged patients, 45+ years old, but since 2015, statistics have shown that it has become a more common issue among younger patients. Hip replacement surgery has about a 95% success rate and most people report consistent relief for 10-20 years thereafter. Though it is cost-effective and efficient, it is still a major orthopedic surgery because it involves the removal of a painful hip joint with arthritis that is replaced with an artificial joint. After hip surgery, your body must be retrained to perform normal functions such as walking so post-surgery care is vital.

Here are tips on how to improve your range of motion after hip surgery:

Hip Surgery Recovery Timeline

Hip surgery can have a pretty long recovery timeline, so proper rehabilitation is necessary to get you back on your feet. Here's a breakdown of what you can expect in the following days and weeks after your hip surgery and what activities you can preform to help regain your range of motion. 

1 - 3 Days After Hip Surgery: The hospital stay is usually about 2-3 days in which you would have transitioned from IV meds to pain medication and have done some exercises to get around a little easier.

4+ Days After Hip Surgery: To ease pain, ice is typically recommended and continuing the light exercises learned at the hospital. You may get some in-home therapy as well during this time. 

10-14 Days After Hip Surgery: Stitches will be removed and you may hurt much less with little or no medication needed at all. 

3-6 Weeks After Hip Surgery: Light, normal activities can be done but driving is not recommended until after the 6th week. You may have a little soreness and discomfort but we’re approaching the time and need for functional rehab. 

10-12 Weeks After Hip Surgery: Movement should be most easy and you should be back to feeling almost like yourself. Physical Therapy for weeks to months should follow as well as routine follow-up visits with your doctor throughout that first year

Post Hip Surgery Physical Therapy Can Improve Range of Motion

After hip surgery, physical therapy aids to restore joint motion and strength. It begins as early as day 2 in the hospital because it is crucial for the new joint to conform to normal function with the lower extremities. Some patients may check-in for a short stay in a rehab facility immediately after hospital discharge to get the ball rolling. Once the patient is strong enough to leave the house, outpatient therapy should begin promptly and aggressively. 

Outpatient facilities and licensed physical therapists offer more options such as specific equipment and the ability to work in real-life setting with a therapist as well as alongside others that may be rehabilitating from similar surgeries. The focus of this rehab is to regain range of motion then strengthen the muscles surrounding the hip. This program usually starts with balance exercises to reduce the risk of falling, heat to warm up tight muscles, and ice to reduce inflammation and soreness. Repetition and consistency is of high importance during this phase; relearning normal movement and rebuilding strength in the joint and the surrounding areas are of the most important components of the overall hip surgery recovery.  Personal goals will also be set to achieve with more-specific exercises to perform a certain activity like golfing or jogging.

What to Expect From Post Hip Surgery Rehabilitation Treatment

When receiving post hip surgery rehabilitation, physical therapy is one of the most important pieces to the healing process. When the patient initially starts treatment a physical therapist will go through a thorough evaluation of the patient's case and their prescription or referral for therapy. There will also be a physical examination during the first visit to set benchmarks for range of motion and overall improvement. A series of visits will be scheduled out in advance for your convenience and you will move through the phases of care toward the personal, short and long term goals you and your therapist set in conjunction with your doctor’s order. Range of motion exercises, strengthening and stabilization exercises, ultrasound, electrical stimulation, and manual therapy are all inclusive in most physical therapy programs but they are tailored to your specific needs. 

Overall seeking physical therapy treatment from a qualified physical therapist who is familiar with your surgery is what will help you get back on your feet. It is also what will ultimately help you manage your pain long term to ensure that everything heals correctly. 

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