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Physiotherapy Before & After Total Hip Replacement Surgery

Total hip replacement surgery is a procedure that involves replacing a damaged or arthritic hip joint with an artificial joint. Physiotherapy is an essential part of the recovery process both before and after a total hip replacement. Pre-operative physiotherapy aims to prepare the patient for surgery by improving overall strength, flexibility, and cardiovascular fitness, whereas post-operative physiotherapy helps to reduce pain and swelling, increase mobility, and promote independence. In this article, we will provide examples of exercises that can be done before and after a total hip replacement to aid in the recovery process.


Physiotherapy for Hip Replacement Surgery
Physiotherapy for Total Hip Replacement Surgery

Pre-Total Hip Replacement Surgery Exercises

Before total hip replacement surgery, physiotherapy is aimed at preparing the patient for surgery. This includes improving overall strength, flexibility, and cardiovascular fitness. Here are some exercises that can be done pre-operatively to help with your total hip replacement surgery.


Walking

Walking is one of the simplest exercises that can be done to improve cardiovascular fitness. Patients can start with a slow and gentle pace and gradually increase their speed and distance.


Hip-Strengthening Exercises

Strengthening the muscles around the hip joint can help to improve overall strength and stability. Examples of hip strengthening exercises include:


  • Clamshells: Lie on your side with your knees bent. Keeping your feet together, raise your top knee as high as possible without moving your pelvis.

  • Bridging: Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the ground. Lift your hips off the ground and hold for a few seconds before lowering back down.

  • Hip Extension: Stand behind a chair and hold onto the back for support. Slowly lift one leg behind you, keeping it straight, and hold for a few seconds before lowering back down.

  • Range of Motion Exercises: Improving flexibility in the hip joint can help to reduce stiffness and improve mobility. Examples of range of motion exercises include:

  • Hip Circles: Stand with your feet hip-width apart and hands on your hips. Circle your hips in a clockwise direction, then repeat in a counterclockwise direction.

  • Knee-to-Chest Stretch: Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the ground. Bring one knee up to your chest, holding it with your hands for a few seconds before releasing.


Post-Total Hip Replacement Surgery Exercises

After total hip replacement surgery, physiotherapy is essential for recovery. Physiotherapy can begin as soon as the patient is medically stable and can help to reduce pain, swelling, and stiffness, improve range of motion, and increase strength and mobility. Here are some exercises that can be done post-operatively when rehabilitating from total hip replacement surgery.

1. Ankle Pumps: Ankle pumps help to promote circulation and prevent blood clots from forming. Lie on your back with your feet flat on the ground. Slowly point your toes towards your head, then back down towards the ground.

2. Leg Raises: Leg raises help to improve strength in the hip muscles. Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the ground. Lift one leg up towards the ceiling, keeping it straight, and hold for a few seconds before lowering back down.

3. Walking: Walking is an essential exercise after a total hip replacement. Initially, patients may need to use crutches or a walker for support, but as they recover, they can gradually increase their walking distance and speed.

4. Gluteal Sets: Gluteal sets help to improve strength in the buttock muscles. Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the ground. Squeeze your buttock muscles together and hold for a few seconds before releasing.

5. Quadriceps Sets: Quadriceps sets help to improve strength in the thigh muscles. Sit in a chair with your feet flat on the ground. Tighten your thigh muscles and hold for a few seconds before releasing.

6. Hip Abduction: Hip abduction exercises help to improve the strength of the hip abductor muscles. Lie on your side with your legs straight. Lift your top leg away from your other leg as high as possible without moving your pelvis.

7. Hip Flexion: Hip flexion exercises help to improve the strength of the hip flexor muscles. Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the ground. Slowly lift one knee up towards your chest, holding it with your hands for a few seconds before lowering back down.

It is essential to note that exercises recommended post-operatively will vary depending on the surgeon's preferences, the extent of the surgery, and the patient's specific needs. It is crucial to work with a physiotherapist who can design a personalized exercise program tailored to the individual's needs.


Post-Operative Physiotherapy

In addition to the exercises, physiotherapy for total hip replacement surgery also includes other forms of treatment, such as manual therapy, heat and cold therapy, and electrical stimulation. Manual therapy includes techniques such as massage and joint mobilization, which can help to reduce pain and stiffness. Heat and cold therapy can also help to reduce inflammation and promote healing.


In conclusion, Physiotherapy is an essential component of the recovery process both before and after total hip replacement surgery. Pre-operative physiotherapy can help to prepare the patient for surgery, whereas post-operative physiotherapy can help to reduce pain and swelling, improve range of motion, and promote independence. Exercises such as walking, hip strengthening, range of motion, ankle pumps, leg raises, gluteal sets, quadriceps sets, hip abduction, and hip flexion can help to improve overall strength and mobility. It is essential to work with a physiotherapist who can design a personalized exercise program tailored to the individual's needs. With the right exercise program and physiotherapy treatment, patients can achieve a successful recovery and return to their daily activities.


Contact The Well Balanced Centre

If you have an operation planned, or are recovering from total hip replacement surgery, be sure to contact The Well Balanced Centre today. We are experienced in providing a wide range of treatments to patients preparing for and rehabilitating after operations, including total hip replacement surgery. To learn more about our services, contact us on 07852526916 or hello@thewellbalancedcentre.co.uk.


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