Most people who need hip surgery can’t wait for the day it finally happens. They wake the morning of the procedure, nervous but excited that soon, the pain they have been experiencing for quite some time will finally go away and that the road to recovery is right around the corner.
Having hip surgery – whether it is a total hip replacement, repair of a torn labrum, or a minimally invasive procedure – is usually the last resort after trying physical therapy, pain management, and restrictions in work and play. A commitment to having surgery means that you know the risks and are willing to abide by the restrictions your doctor will place on you to ensure optimal healing. Here are a few restrictions you can expect after having a hip procedure:
Positioning is Everything
- Crossing your legs. After a hip procedure, it’s important to restrict yourself to the most conservative motions. This means how you position yourself when at work, rest, or driving. Under no circumstance should you even attempt to sit cross-legged or bend your hip at a 90 degree angle – this includes when you put on your socks or tie your shoes laces. Rather than crossing your legs, lift your knee to your chest when you need access to your feet.
- Deep bending. Sitting in a comfy chair (the kind that swallows you up) or squatting down should be avoided. When you sit, try to do so as straight as possible, minding your posture. When you rise from sitting position, do so without struggling or putting excess pressure on your hips.
- While sleeping, lay on the opposite hip, with the healing hip resting on a body pillow or support. Keep the hip parallel to the upper part of your body so as not to stretch the hip.
Movement is Key
After your surgery, you will be expected to move as soon after the procedure as possible. In many cases, especially with outpatient surgery, you will likely be on your feet (at least for a few minutes) before you leave the hospital or surgery center. Movement is key to ensuring you do not develop scar tissue, as well as to ensure that any hardware you have in place – usually pins or a new joint –are secured with no complications.
Whether your incision is large or barely noticeable, you still need to mind the area around the incision. Don’t get it wet, and avoid applying creams, powders, and lotions to the area. Ice the area of the incision throughout the day and night, but be sure not to apply the ice directly to your skin. When your doctor remove the stitches, you may consider waiting a day or two before totally immersing the area in water or a shower.
Most patients will begin their physical therapy sessions within hours or days of the surgery. Your physical therapist will gauge your range of motion and provide a series of therapeutic treatments and exercises to do both during your physical therapy sessions and at home. The key to a successful recovery is to do your physical therapy exercises even when you are not in the physical therapist’s office. Be mindful of the stretching techniques your therapist shows you. The more you do them, the faster you will recover.
You have just had surgery and chances are you don’t really feel like eating. Eventually, you will get your appetite back. Since you may be taking anti-inflammatory medications which have a tendency to constipate, consider eating whole, natural foods. Avoid salt and preservatives, which can bloat you and increase water retention. The goal is to stay hydrated. Avoid alcohol as well for the obvious reason that it could interact with your pain medication, or less obviously, consuming too much alcohol can throw your balance off, which would not be beneficial for you and your healing hip.
Canes, Crutches, and Walkers
You have come this far, and your surgery appears to be successful. Putting excess weight on your hip can undo any good that was done. Most likely, your doctor will recommend you use a cane, crutches, or a walker for support while you heal. Make sure you use this support to allow healing without the added burden of excess weight or unstable balance.
Hip Surgery in Watertown, New York
If you need to have hip surgery or would like an evaluation by an experienced doctor, the board-certified orthopedic surgeons at the North Country Orthopaedic Group can help. We will be by your side from the time you get a diagnosis all the way through recovery.
If you would like to schedule a consultation, call us today at (315) 782-1650. You can also fill out our online appointment request form now.