What Does Recovery and Rehab After Complete Hip Replacement Entail?

The rate of success and longevity of a hip replacement is highly dependent on proper rehabilitation following the surgical intervention. The first few months of recovery are vital, and most of the progress is achieved in this period, but rehabilitation will take longer. 

Pain control medication will be prescribed to alleviate discomfort, and some patients may receive blood-thinning medicines to prevent blood clots. Patients will receive instructions on adequate wound care and how to approach personal hygiene to avoid infections. 

If medication isn't effective or signs of blood clots and infections are evident, recovering patients should notify their healthcare provider immediately

Physical activities will begin once a therapist clears the patient. He will work with the patient to help him:

  • Regain normal gait
  • Maintain artificial hip motion
  • Strengthen the lower limbs

During the first weeks of recovery, mobility aids like canes, crutches, or walkers may be needed to ensure stability. Swelling of the ankles and calves is not uncommon and will gradually subside.

Rehabilitation usually involves exercises focused on stretching and strengthening the muscles that surround the new hip for about 20-30 minutes daily. Patients will progressively return to regular activities like walking, bending, and going upstairs to increase muscle strength and regain motion. Tangible progress is apparent after several weeks to a few months with commitment to rehab, but caring for the newly implanted joint will take longer to ensure its durability.

Long-Term Care

Complete hip replacements aren't permanent, and regular wear and tear or other complications may lead to deterioration that requires revisionary surgery. Fortunately, experts in the field indicate that modern prosthetics last longer than previous models. 

As painful symptoms subside and moving becomes increasingly more manageable, patients should take mindful steps to protect their repaired hip and reduce injury risks

  • Establish a program of light physical activities to maintain strength and mobility
  • Avoid high-impact activities, including running or jumping that may overexert the hip.
  • Take precautionary measures to prevent tripping or falling outside and at home.
  • Follow-up examinations to track progress and assess any potential damage.