Your hips are a ball and socket joint and connected to nearly everything in your body for healthy mobility. This is why hip dysfunction can not only be painful, but also debilitating. Hip pain may be caused by a variety of problems including arthritis, injuries, compressed nerves, torn cartilage, and other problems. Patients generally experience pain in the groin, thigh, inside or outside the hip joint, and/or buttocks. Hip replacement surgery may seem intimidating. However, advances in surgical technology have reduced the longevity and recovery time for this surgery.
If you’ve recently had hip replacement surgery or you’re considering it, here’s expert guidance on how to take care of your hips post-procedure.
Life After Your Hip Replacement
Life after hip replacement surgery is different for everyone. It will depend on your age, overall health, lifestyle, the type of hip replacement you received, and more. Your provider will review what exactly you can expect post-procedure.
Nearly everyone who undergoes a hip replacement can expect certain limitations on their movement and activities during their recovery period. Some movements and activities should be completely avoided. It’s important to be especially mindful of any activities that put your hip joints in a precarious position that could cause dislocation.
8 “Don’ts” Following Hip Replacement Surgery
There’s a lengthy list of what not to do following your hip replacement. In general, you’re going to want to keep your joints in safe positions that won’t dislocate your new hip.
1. Don’t Stay Sedentary
It’s natural to want to stay still and rest after a major surgery like a hip replacement. However, if your surgeon recommends certain types of movement or an amount of activity in the first few days after surgery, listen to their advice and don’t stay sedentary.
Getting up and moving will increase your body’s circulation and stimulate its healing processes. It’ll also help prevent blood clots and other potential complications that could interfere with your recovery.
2. Don’t Cross Your Legs
Imagine you have a line going down the center of your body. This is your “midline.” Following a hip replacement, you will want to avoid having your hip joints “cross the midline.” This includes crossing your legs. Doing so could result in dislocating your hip, especially if you try to cross over your non-operated leg with your operated leg.
3. Don’t Bend Your Waist Past 90 Degrees
Putting pressure on your hip joints with a severe bend could dislocate your new hip. Avoid activities like bending over to put on socks or shoes, sitting on furniture that forces your knees up, or any other activity that would make you bend your waist past 90 degrees.
4. Don’t Lift Your Knees Above Your Hips
Injuries to your hip will significantly affect your recovery process and may set you back. That’s why rehabbing hip replacement patients should not lift their knees above their hips. This movement creates a severe angle and could dislocate your new hip from its socket.
Some other activities that could cause your hip to dislocate include forms of exercise (like marching knees), stepping onto stairs, or laying down and pulling your knees into your chest.
5. Don’t Send Your Hips in a Different Direction from Your Chest
Keep your hips and chest pointing in the same direction as much as possible. This will keep your body in a safe alignment to prevent any issues. Avoid twisting or pivoting at your hips as much as possible.
6. Don’t Rotate Your Ankles Too Far Outward or Inward
Just like everything else on the list, rotating your ankles or feet too far inward or outward can result in possible complications.
Think about how your body is connected. Everything your feet do interacts with your ankles, which interacts with your knees and creates a reaction at your hips.
You might think paying attention to your feet is unnecessary. But when you recognize how everything in your body is connected, you’ll see how what you do with your feet or ankles can hurt your hips.
7. Don’t Drive Until Your Doctor Says You Can
Everything mentioned on this list has to do with keeping your body in a safe alignment to increase your chances of a speedy, safe recovery.
It can be challenging to remain mindful of these things and keep your attention on the road while driving. Maybe you’re prone to twisting your foot out when you hit the gas. Maybe your car is structured so that your knees are higher than 90 degrees. Regardless of your driving habits or car design, there are more risks than benefits to driving right after a hip replacement. Wait until your provider gives you the green light for your safety.
8. Don’t Rush Your Healing Process!
Most important of all, don’t rush your healing process. Take your time recovering from surgery to avoid re-injuring yourself. Independent living is waiting for you, and it’ll be there for you when you’re fully healed.
Hip Replacement Rehabilitation in Southwest Florida
Your hip health journey doesn’t end after a replacement. Your recovery and rehabilitation are crucial to your surgery’s success and getting you back to living the life you want.
That’s why it’s so important to work with a team of experts who can guide you through recovery and optimize your results.
The Orthopedic Specialists of SW Florida is the largest independent practice in the area. Our staff uses the latest technology to provide superior care for patients. Our large staff is available to accommodate your needs. Contact us by calling (239) 334-7000 or online by filling out this short contact form.