What to Expect during Hip Replacement Recovery

By Dr. David Dodgin on August 17, 2017

X-ray image of hip replacementAs a person ages, the bones can weaken and deteriorate as a result of conditions such as osteoarthritis. This deterioration can cause significant pain that interferes with a person’s ability to enjoy a full range of motion. The hip is one of the most common areas to experience a loss of bone tissues. Today, patients can take advantage of the benefits of hip surgery.

Hip surgery addresses hip pain by restoring structure and strength so that a patient can enjoy full function and mobility. Hip replacement has proven to be a safe and effective method for many patients. However, prior to undergoing surgery, patients should be prepared for the lengthy recovery period that will follow. Here, we provide a brief overview of hip replacement recovery following treatment at our Austin, TX institute.

Hospital Stay

Immediately following surgery, patients will be moved to a recovery room where they will be monitored while the effects of anesthesia wear off. Once they are awake, patients will be moved to a regular hospital room. It is common for patients to stay in the hospital for at least two to three days after hip replacement surgery. We will not send patients home until they have demonstrated that they can sit on the edge of the bed and stand and walk independently with the use of a walker or crutches.

Hip Pain

The most common side effect of hip replacement surgery is hip pain. Hip pain can range from moderate to severe, especially in the first few days after surgery. Hip pain can prohibit a person from putting weight on the hip. However, physical activity is crucial to the healing process, so it is important not to let pain interfere with rehabilitation. We prescribe patients pain medication that will ease discomfort so that they can comfortably perform their physical therapy exercises. As the hip heals, pain will subside and this medication will no longer be necessary.

Physical Therapy

Physical therapy is a vital aspect of hip replacement recovery. Patients will be taught exercises that can be performed at home to strengthen the hip and restore mobility. We will customize a physical therapy treatment plant that is best suited to each patient’s unique needs. In addition to these exercises, patients are encouraged to walk and perform regular household duties, as tolerable. Patients should slowly build up their strength and stamina, being sure never to push the body beyond its limitations.

How Long Is Hip Replacement Recovery?

Most often, the first thing a patient wants to know about hip replacement recovery is how long it will last. Hip replacement recovery can be broken down into short-term recovery and long-term recovery. Milestones of short-term recovery include getting released from the hospital, getting off of pain medication, and being able to walk a short distance without pain or the assistance of a walking aid. Based on these standards, short-term recovery typically takes about four to six weeks.

Long-term recovery refers to the complete healing of the incision site and the soft tissues around the hip socket. Milestones of long-term recovery include returning to work and other routine activities, being physically strong and active, and feeling like yourself again. The length of long-term recovery varies greatly. Some patients may be completely recovered in as little as a month, but the average length of long-term hip replacement recovery is six months.

Contact Us

Hip replacement surgery can ease hip pain and restore a comfortable range of motion and activity. If you are interested in learning more about hip replacement surgery or the recovery process, contact us at your earliest convenience.

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