The number one best action step you can take to prepare for or recover from hip replacement surgery is to participate in a hip replacement exercise program. When you perform specific exercises for hip arthritis pre surgery, you will decrease stiffness and pain in your hip joint. In addition, pre operation exercises help you to maintain and possibly gain range of motion and strength around your hip joint. All of these exercises contribute to better recovery post hip replacement surgery. Then after your surgery, the importance of hip exercises and following a complete exercise program will help you recover faster and stronger. Overall, exercises for your hip both pre and post operation determine the speed, strength, and success of your recovery.
Pre Operation Hip Replacement Exercises
There are a lot of changes taking place in both your joint and the muscles surrounding your hip joint pre operation. Hip osteoarthritis creates deterioration in your hip joint due to loss of cartilage and then wear and tear friction on the bones. This causes a decreased range of motion at your hip joint partially due to the instability of the joint and also due to the corresponding pain. When you feel pain and have joint instability, the muscles around the hip joint tighten in an attempt to stabilize and decrease the discomfort. All of these reactions compound and lead to lack of use which produces weak muscles all around the joint. Therefore, prior to surgery your body is undergoing major biomechanical changes that include loss of range of motion, tight muscles, and a decrease in strength. These are the reasons why a hip replacement exercise program is so important pre surgery.
Exercises for Hip Replacement Pre Surgery
Contrary to what your hip joint may be telling you with its pain and limitations in movement, participating in gentle range of motion, stretching, and strength exercises, is exactly what it needs. There are three goals of a pre operation hip exercise program. The first goal includes gentle range of motion exercises that will be best done non weight bearing. This means you can do range of motion exercises lying down or you also have the option of going into the pool. The next step includes stretching all the tight muscles that are building around your joint and contributing to its decreased range. Your hamstrings, iliotibial band, hip flexors, quadriceps, gluteals, and adductors may all require gentle, pain free stretching. Maintaining some muscle strength prior to hip surgery is the final goal in the pre-operation exercise program. Again, the strength exercises you do will most likely need to be non weight bearing dependent upon pain.
It is important to note here that if you have chosen the pool as your exercise program, that it would be extremely beneficial for you to add in some body weight lying down hip strength exercises as well. The muscular endurance exercises you do using your own body weight outside of the pool will give you better strength for the demands of daily living and therefore improved recovery post hip surgery.
Post Hip Replacement Surgery Exercise Program
The good news is that if you memorized the three goals of the hip replacement exercise program pre operation, then you only need to remember and apply two of them post surgery. As you will learn there are restrictions of range of motion your doctor and physiotherapist will advise you of after surgery. What this means is that your post hip replacement exercise program only needs to focus on strength exercises for your weak muscles and stretches for your tight muscles. In addition, the other exciting change post operation, is that you will most likely be out of pain and that means we can also include weight bearing exercises.
The hip replacement exercise program I had all of my clients follow post surgery would start with non weight bearing exercises to gradually build their strength back up, but then we would slowly add in the weight bearing exercises. It is important to strengthen all the muscles surrounding your hip joint including your gluteals, quadriceps, and hamstrings if required. The feel good part of the post operation hip replacement exercise program is definitely the stretches that will loosen all the tight muscles that have shortened due to pain, joint instability, and the surgery.
Where do I find a Hip Replacement Exercise Program?
Engaging in an exercise program pre and post hip replacement surgery is essential to maintain daily function, recover quicker, and feel better overall. There are a few options available to you when you go looking for a hip exercise program. Some hospitals now offer both a pre and post operation exercise program, but there may be a wait list or you may only be able to use it for a specified time. Then there is the option of searching for a community based hip osteoarthritis exercise program. It is possible to find these through your local community health provider or at a recreation center who would offer both pool and land based exercise classes. Lastly, if you are self motivated, want to do exercises at home, and are limited on both time or transportation, is the option of a home exercise program.
There is a comprehensive hip replacement exercise program available in both e-Book and video that is an excellent resource to have at your fingertips; it highlights exercises you can do from the comfort of your home, details of the correct technique, and offers many pictures and exercise demonstrations. For a complete hip replacement exercise program which includes both pre and post operation hip exercises click here.