Total Hip Replacement - Rehab Experience

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What is involved in the rehabilitation process after total hip joint replacement?

Physical therapy is extremely important in the overall outcome of any joint replacement surgery. The goals of physical therapy are to prevent contractures, improve patient education, and strengthen muscles around the hip joint through controlled exercises. Contractures that can cause limitation of joint motion result from scarring of the tissues around the joint. Contractures do not permit full range of motion and therefore impede mobility of the replaced joint. Patients are instructed not to strain the hip joint with heavy lifting or other unusual activities at home. Specific techniques of body posturing, sitting, and using an elevated toilet seat can be extremely helpful. Patients are instructed not to cross the operated lower extremity across the midline of the body (not crossing the leg over the other leg) because of the risk of dislocating the replaced joint. They are discouraged from bending at the waist and are instructed to use a pillow between the legs when lying on the nonoperated side in order to prevent the operated lower extremity from crossing over the midline. Patients are given home exercise programs to strengthen the muscles around the buttock and thigh. Most patients attend outpatient physical therapy for a period of time while incorporating home exercises regularly into their daily living.

Occupational therapists are also part of the rehabilitation process. These therapists review precautions with the patients related to everyday activities. They also educate the patients about the adaptive equipment that is available and the proper ways to do their "ADLs" or activities of daily living.

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See what others are saying

Comment from: JJ, 55-64 Male (Patient) Published: January 15

I had total hip replacement on November 13, 2013. It's been two months of pain free movement, only the scar tissue pain left. I am not using any walking aids now and still have a bit of a limp yet. I expect to be back to work in three more months doing physical labor, pain free.

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Comment from: puttrlaid928, 65-74 Female (Patient) Published: April 01

Has been 3 weeks since my surgery and the wound site is still draining - a slightly yellow tinted, odorless fluid. It requires dressing (bandage) to be changed daily, and there is leakage in clothing and bedding. I don't know it is normal.

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