You'll soon be checking into the general orthopedics floor of the hospital to have your arthritic hip replaced. This procedure will help you to walk pain-free again. But the surgery is just the first step of the entire process. Your recovery at home must be successful to get the full benefit from your new hip. Here are some of the ways to have the best experience recovering at home.
1. Manage your pain closely.
The surgery itself is extensive, involving bone, muscles, tendons and ligaments. All of these tissues must heal from the procedure. So you'll have some pain for weeks as the healing continues, and exercise and physical therapy will aggravate the pain. Take your pain medication as scheduled, no matter how good you feel at the moment, because you won't know when just walking to the bathroom will be enough to cause you a lot of pain. Take the medication before physical therapy because you'll be more relaxed about doing the exercises if you're not anticipating a painful session.
2. Set a pace with your physical therapist and stick to it.
Your physical therapy will be most successful when you're on a slow and gentle schedule to regain range of motion and strength in your hip. Don't push yourself beyond the activity level recommended by your doctor and therapist. You should be most cautious on those days when your hip feels really good. You'll be tempted to do too much, which can result in straining the muscles and tendons. You could injure yourself and cause a setback in your recovery. Learn to appreciate the incremental progress of your recovery and don't push your limits.
3. Be careful with your hip position for several weeks.
Your doctor will give you instructions as to how much weight you can put on your leg and hip. They will also give you a warning about not forcing your hip beyond a right angle while it is still healing. The plastic and metal parts that make up your new hip joint are held in place by your tendons and muscles. Until those tissues are fully healed and strong enough to hold your joint in place, you risk injuring yourself, and even a hip dislocation, in certain situations such as:
- Sitting in soft chairs and sofas that let you sink down, so your hip is at more than a right angle.
- Leaning forward to get up from a sitting position, putting stress on your new hip joint.
- Crossing your legs at the knees forcing the hip joint to be in an awkward position.
- Bending forward at your waist at more than a right angle when picking up something.
The closer you monitor and manage your pain, your activity level and your hip position, the more successful you'll be recovering at home.
For more information and assistance, contact a general orthopedics clinic, such as Burlington County Orthopaedic Specialist Pa.