Why Do People Undergo Hip Replacement Surgery?
If you suffer from osteoarthritis, a degenerative joint disease, your doctor might recommend that you have hip replacement surgery. While osteoarthritis is the most common reason for patients to undergo hip replacement surgery, those that have rheumatoid arthritis, an autoimmune disorder that affects the joints, and osteonecrosis, when part of the bone dies due to decreased blood flow, can also benefit from hip replacement surgery. If you’ve broken or fractured your hip from an injury or degenerative bone disease, your doctor may recommend hip replacement surgery. If you have trouble sleeping due to hip pain or difficulty performing simple tasks, you might want to talk to your doctor today. At SPORT, our orthopedic doctors will get you back to living a pain-free lifestyle in no time.
How Long Does It Take to Recover from Hip Replacement Surgery?
You should be prepared to stay in the hospital overnight following your hip replacement surgery. While every patient is different, recovery usually takes two to four weeks. Other factors will affect your recovery time, like age, nutrition, pre existing conditions, activity before the surgery, and other health and lifestyle factors. Following surgery, our Frisco and Dallas and Wylie physical therapists will get you up and walking around the next day. The sooner you’re up and walking, the better it is for your recovery. Not only does regaining mobility benefit your recovery in the long run, but it will also help prevent blood clots.
Tips for Recovering from Hip Replacement Surgery
Recovering from hip surgery starts before your surgery and continues post-operational. There are many things that can prepare you for your recovery beforehand that can help you in the long run during your recovery. Talk to your doctor about what to expect when you get home regarding wound care and medication. You’ll want to prepare your home before heading to the hospital and ensure you have everything you need to make your recovery as easy as possible. If you smoke or are currently overweight, your doctor will give you tips on quitting smoking and losing weight. After your hip replacement surgery, you’ll want to ensure you’re up and walking as soon as possible. At SPORT, our licensed physical therapists in Dallas will be with you every step of the way during your recovery.
Prepare Your Home Beforehand
Before heading to the hospital, you can prepare your home for a smooth transition. Make sure your furniture is arranged so you can move around with a cane or walker. Prepare your recovery area by placing your everyday items at waist level. Also, have your remotes, phone, phone chargers, water, and medications in the area where you will be recovering most of your time. If you cannot have a friend or family member help you prepare meals beforehand, purchase some meals at the store that require little effort. You may also want to buy a raised toilet seat and shower chair.
Take Care of Your Wound
It’s essential to keep your wound area clean to reduce your chances of an infection. Although many post-op wound dressings are waterproof, your doctor will instruct you when you can shower or bathe following your surgery. It’s also important to follow the instructions on changing and cleaning your dressing. Avoid using creams, lotions, or ointments, and keep it dry. If you notice your wound is red and draining, notify your doctor immediately, as this could be a sign of an infection.
Try to Reduce the Swelling
Swelling after your hip replacement surgery is expected during the first several weeks of your surgery. In fact, it can occur up to six months after your surgery. Keep your legs slightly elevated to reduce swelling. You can also apply an ice pack for 10 to 15 minutes. Wearing compression socks can help reduce swelling. If your swelling is severe or starts happening out of the blue, consult your doctor, as this might be a sign of a blood clot.
Manage Your Pain
Pain and swelling following your hip surgery are common. Make sure that you’re only performing activities that have been instructed to you by your physical therapist. After therapy sessions, take time to rest and elevate your leg. Using an ice pack on your incision site in 10-15 minute intervals is also recommended to reduce hip joint pain during recovery. Your doctor may prescribe anti-inflammatory medications to help reduce pain. As you continue physical therapy, your movement restrictions lessen, and so should your pain. If your pain is not decreasing and remains intolerable, you must contact your doctor immediately.
Follow Your Surgeon’s Dietary Recommendations
Drink plenty of water after your hip replacement surgery. Drinking water will help flush out the medication and anesthesia from your surgery. Staying hydrated can also help combat constipation, a common side effect of anesthesia and some pain medications. In addition to drinking water, you want to make sure that you’re getting plenty of electrolytes. It’s good to keep some Pedialyte on hand post-surgery to keep your electrolyte levels up. Gatorade also works, but it contains more sugar than Pedialyte does. Avoid alcohol, as this will counteract the benefits of hydrating and does not interact well with post-op narcotics. If your doctor has you on any blood thinners like warfarin, you might be advised to avoid foods rich in vitamin K, like broccoli, spinach, and other leafy green vegetables. Your doctor may also recommend that you take iron vitamin supplements.
Warning Signs to Watch for After a Hip Replacement
After hip replacement surgery, you need to listen to your body. Notify your doctor if you experience any of the following: fever, redness, swelling, or bleeding that does not stop within a few days, increased pain around your new joint, pain in the affected leg, or new or worsening swelling in the lower leg. These can be signs of a blood clot or infection of the hip replacement site.
Following your hip replacement surgery, you’re at a higher risk of developing a blood clot. It’s important to start moving around the day after your surgery, either with a cane or walker, to get the blood flowing. Following your surgery, it’s recommended to wear compression socks. These will keep blood from pooling in your leg veins, lowering your chances of forming a clot. Your doctor might also prescribe blood thinners to take after your surgery. Depending on how active you are will determine how long you will need to take blood thinners. If you notice pain in your leg or calf that is not related to your hip surgery, or notice redness or swelling in your leg that is not resolved with elevating your leg, call your doctor immediately as these might be signs of a blood clot.
While only a small percentage of hip replacement patients may develop an infection, there is always a risk following any medical procedure. If you notice redness, swelling, or tenderness around your surgical site, drainage, increasing pain, chills, or fever, call your doctor immediately. These might be signs of an infection. If you develop an infection and it is caught early, your doctor will prescribe you antibiotics. If the infection is deeper, your doctor may need to reopen the wound.
What NOT to Do After Hip Replacement Surgery
As you prepare for your hip surgery, your doctor and physical therapist will provide a list of what you can and cannot do following your surgery. To recover quickly from your surgery, listening to what your doctor and physical therapist have outlined for you is critical. Below are some of the most common precautions.
Staying Still for Too Long
After your surgery, you’ll want to get up and walk around as soon as possible. Before you’re discharged, your physical therapist or nurse will help you as you begin to walk and may also provide you with a walker or cane. Staying sedentary will increase your chances of developing a blood clot and slow down your healing process.
Bending Too Much at the Waist
Avoid bending your waist more than 90 degrees if you had a posterior approach. If you need to tie your shoes or pick up something, have someone help you. Bending too much at the waist will increase your chances of dislocating your new hip. If you had an anterior approach feel free to bend over and touch those toes, tie those shoes or pull that golf ball out of the hole.
Crossing Your Legs
Also, avoid crossing your legs after surgery if you had a posterior approach. Your doctor may have you wait up to eight weeks following surgery before you can cross your legs. This action runs the risk of dislocating your new hip as well. If you had an anterior approach, cross away.
Twisting and Pivoting at Your Hips
Your chest and hips must remain facing the same direction as much as possible.
Lifting Your Knees Too High
Avoid lifting your knee higher than your hip if you had a posterior approach. This can cause hip dislocation. If you had an anterior approach, feel free to high step and show off that new hip.
Driving Too Soon
Every patient heals differently. You will want to discuss how soon you can drive with your doctor before getting behind the wheel. Often, patients can drive after a few weeks.
Rotating Your Feet Too Far Outward or Inward
Keep your feet pointing in the same direction as your hips, whether sitting, standing, walking, or lying down.
Rushing Your Recovery
While you might be ready to return to your active lifestyle, it’s important not to rush the healing process. Performing activities too soon and not listening to your physical therapist can disrupt your healing process and re-injure your hip joint.
Contact the Orthopedic Specialists at SPORT Orthopedics + Physical Therapy
At SPORT Orthopedics + Physical Therapy in Dallas and Frisco, one of our board-certified orthopedic surgeons will perform your hip replacement surgery. Voted the best orthopedic surgeon in Dallas by D Magazine, you know you are in good hands. Contact us today to schedule an appointment with our top orthopedic surgeons. You can call us at 469-200-2832 or stop by today. We also accept walk-ins.