Getting older often comes with occasional aches or pains. However, nearly 50 percent of all seniors report suffering from chronic pain—pain that is persistent, lasts for an extended period of time, makes it difficult to perform daily activities and doesn’t respond to common anti-inflammatory medications such as ibuprofen or naproxen. Many of these instances of chronic pain are often found in the hip, resulting in stiffness, difficulty using stairs, trouble bending down and pain when walking. It’s no wonder then that hip replacement surgery is one of the most common elective surgeries in the United States, performed on more than 300,000 patients each year.
In 90 percent of cases, those who elect hip replacement surgery report a significant decrease in pain, improved mobility, and overall better quality of life following the procedure. Additionally, while many report some initial pain and soreness following the procedure, many are able to get out of bed and move on the same day, with full recovery taking an average of 4-6 weeks.
Hip Replacement Recovery
Even with these positive outcomes, many seniors put off having hip replacement surgery, often because they are concerned about both the lengthy recovery process and the impact it will have on their lives. While outcomes will vary based on your age, overall health and your specific case, here are four key tips to keep in mind to ensure a successful recovery:
- Complete any recommended rehabilitation and physical therapy programs. In generally every case, physical therapy will start while you are still in the hospital, followed by a short-term stay in a rehabilitation center prior to returning home. These therapy sessions help patients strengthen their muscles and keep their blood properly flowing post-surgery. They also ensure you can safely use assistive walking devices, such as walkers or canes. Many patients are cleared to return home once they can show they are able to do basic things like get in and out of bed on their own. Once you return home, your doctor may recommend additional physical therapy sessions, which can be done in either an outpatient center or right in the comfort of your own home. For best results, be sure to complete any recommended programs and follow the therapy regimen outlined by your physical therapist.
- Maintain a healthy lifestyle both before and after surgery. Leading a healthy lifestyle is key to a successful recovery following a total hip replacement. Prior to surgery, be sure to maintain a healthy diet, follow a regular exercise regime and get the recommended seven to eight hours of sleep each night. Establishing a healthy routine pre-surgery can make it easier to maintain post surgery. It could even give your overall recovery time a boost.
- Make any necessary safety adjustments to your home. Don’t put yourself at risk of an unnecessary fall which could re-injure your newly repaired hip. Make sure your home is safe by removing throw rugs and clutter from hallways or high-traffic areas. Avoid stairs until you have fully recovered. Install grab bars near toilets and showers to make it easier to safety get in and out. Make sure the items you need on a regular basis are easily in reach, asking for assistance for anything that requires a step stool or ladder to retrieve.
- Keep in touch with your doctor. Be sure to attend any recommended follow-ups with your surgeon or physician post-hip replacement surgery. They’ll work with you to make sure your recovery program is working and recommend adjustments if it is not. Additionally, if you experience any pain or discomfort following the procedure, be sure to address this with your doctor right away to avoid any serious complications.
The thought of undergoing any type of surgery can be intimidating. But if you’re suffering from chronic hip pain that interferes with your ability to lead an active, independent life, be sure to speak with your doctor about your options. Also make sure to address any concerns you may have about your ability to make a full recovery.
Rehabilitation for Hip Replacement Surgery at Episcopal Senior Living Communities
Our Center for Rehabilitation offers a true healing environment for those recovering from total hip replacement surgery or a fracture. Our team of licensed therapists will work with you or your loved one to regain their health and strength. We provide the personal attention and encouragement seniors need to reach their post-surgery goals and live a healthy life. Contact Episcopal SeniorLife Communities today for more information on our rehabilitation programs designed to help seniors regain independence following a hip replacement surgery.