(HealthNewsDigest.com) – Hip replacement is major surgery which will most likely leave you feeling under par for a while. However, it is essential that you follow the instructions given to you by the physiotherapists. These will take the form of a set of exercises for you to follow in order to safely get back on your feet again.
Your hospital doctors will have explained how the procedure will affect you initially and that it is crucial you start to exercise the muscles surrounding your new hip joint. This is the case, even though you may initially feel some discomfort. Staff will also explain what you should and shouldn’t be able to do post-surgery at home.
Exercises at Home
Because of the previous limitations on your mobility brought about by pain your leg, hip and core muscles will be weakened. Therefore, you will need to take things at a steady pace. If you are in doubt about how you’ll be able to cope with exercising, your live-in care services care giver should be able to help you to exercise safely. They can also help you with keeping an eye on any swelling which can occur at the surgical site and help with any dressings.
For best results, exercises for strengthening and for managing swelling should be done lying flat on your back. If you don’t have live-in care ask the person providing your daily domiciliary care at home to assist you to lie flat on the bed. To reduce swelling, you need to lie flat for around 20 minutes and for additional comfort place a pillow lengthwise under the leg on the hip replacement side. Cold packs around the hip will help reduce swelling – this could be something like a bag of frozen peas wrapped in a cloth. Do not allow any ice to come into contact with the skin.
While you are lying on the bed you could do some simple ankle pumps. This involves pulling your foot up towards you then away again. Do these 10 times.
It is important that you work to strengthen the muscles around the hips and in your legs. Your physiotherapist will advise you that one of the best ways to do this is through walking. Start by simply walking around the house and garden using the walking aid you will have been given, and build up gradually to longer walks.
Other muscle strengthening exercises should be done twice a day with 10 repetitions of each. Again, your bed is the ideal place to safely exercise. Continue with the ankle pumps followed by thigh and buttock squeezes. Tighten these muscles for 5 seconds then relax.
Heel slides are also useful. Slide your heel up and down the bed and bring the heel as close to the buttocks as you can. Then slide your leg out to the side and back. Then raise your leg about 12” off the bed while stiffening the knee. You can also do this one whilst sitting on a chair. Try to hold for 5 seconds. These exercises flex and strengthen the hip and knee.
Your recovery will depend on you doing your physio exercises every day but take into account your age and previous general fitness so aim for a steady improvement. Avoid extreme movements and take any painkillers prescribed.