The good news about hip replacement is that the pain you have lived with for so long will be gone when you come round from the operation. It will be replaced by a new sort of pain but, although you will have some soreness and discomfort initially, this will soon fade. Within 2-3 weeks you should be pain-free, becoming more mobile and you will be able to start enjoying life again.
The first few weeks after hip replacement surgery are crucial and it is up to you to do all of your hip replacement physiotherapy and aftercare you can to regain your strength as quickly as possible.
Hip replacement physiotherapy
Your hip replacement physiotherapy could start as early as the day of your operation. As soon as it is safe for you, the hospital team will get you out of bed and on your feet again. Just taking your weight on your new hip is an important phase of hip replacement physiotherapy.
You will begin with just a few steps, most likely with a frame or a stick, and build steadily from there. You will be given a range of hip replacement physiotherapy exercises that you can do on your bed, standing up or leaning against a chair. It is important to get moving again as quickly as possible to prevent the new joint stiffening up and to promote healing.
Avoiding dislocation after a hip replacement
One of the most important elements of hip replacement physiotherapy is to teach you how to take care of your new hip. It takes around 12 weeks for new protective fibres to grow around your hip, and until they do, you will be vulnerable to dislocation.
To protect your new hip, your hip replacement physiotherapy will include a range of exercises that contain movements that do not twist or stress the joint. You will have to adapt the way you walk too. For example, you will be taught to turn with steps rather than pivot around and you will be told not to cross your legs.
Carrying on with hip replacement physiotherapy
If you follow the regime suggested for hip replacement physiotherapy, you should be up and moving around within a few days and discharged from hospital soon after. You should not require any further professional help from a hip replacement physiotherapy specialist, but you will need to continue with the exercises you are given at home to rebuild your strength and to get fully mobile again.
You will still need to take care when going up and coming down stairs, and when getting into a car. Most people master this quite easily and you will be able to drive yourself about six weeks after your hip replacement surgery.
To protect your hip, it is advisable to avoid contact sports or sports involving sudden jerky movements, such as squash, even if you feel physically able to play. You should also avoid pastimes with a high risk of falls, such as skiing or horse riding.