After hip replacement surgery, you hope your lifestyle returns to normal quickly, but without the nagging pain. In most ways this is true, but returning to your everyday activities after a major surgery will take time to allow your body to recover fully. One of the best ways to help is to be an active participant in the healing process. The following tips and information can help you get the most out of your new hip and help you get back to your daily routines as quickly as possible.
After returning home from your surgery, it is critical to follow your orthopaedic surgeon’s instructions in the following weeks.
Caring for the Incision
After your surgery, staples are used to close the incision site and are left in for about two weeks to allow your body to heal. There will likely be some bruising in the area, and it may itch, feel numb, or you may even experience a burning sensation while you’re healing. This is all normal and can be remedied with the use of an icepack on the affected area for 10-15 minutes.
The hip area needs to remain dry, so avoid the use of any creams, lotions, or ointments. If desired, you can bandage the area but change the dressings frequently to avoid soaking the incision. Once you remove your staples, wait an additional 48 hours before showering or getting the area wet.
An important part of the recovery process is activity. Within 3 to 6 weeks you should be able to resume most of your usual physical activities and routines. Throughout the first weeks of your recovery, a physical therapist will often work with you on strengthening your freshly-reconstructed hip area with specific exercise routines.
Additionally, gradually incorporating walking and household activities into your routine as permitted by your doctor will help increase your mobility. Do not push yourself further than you are comfortable, as falling can easily re-injure the affected area and may require additional surgery to correct. You should also avoid stairs during recovery unless assisted by a device such as a cane or crutches, or by a caregiver.
For the first year following your hip replacement, follow-up appointments will be scheduled with your orthopaedic surgeon at various intervals based on your recovery process. After the first year, you will also be asked to return annually to assess the function of your hip replacement.
Hip replacement surgery is no small feat, and with the amount of time it takes to make a full recovery, it is important to do everything you can to help your recovery along. With your active participation in the process, our team of Board Certified Orthopaedic Surgeons will help restore your quality of life. Request an appointment online, or contact us today at 904-825-0540 with any questions about joint replacement or orthopaedic care.