How to Prepare for Hip Replacement Surgery

how to prepare for hip replacement surgeryHip replacement surgery has become an increasingly popular orthopedic procedure as the Baby Boomer generation ages. In fact, according to the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons, there are more than 320,000 hip replacement surgeries performed each year. Total hip replacement surgeries are considered one of the most effective procedures in medicine, resulting in quick, reliable relief from hip pain and increased mobility.

Prepping for Hip Replacement Surgery

Once you’ve made the decision that hip replacement surgery is the best option for you, you’ll undoubtedly have a few questions for your doctor or surgeon. In order to prepare for hip replacement surgery effectively, there are a few steps to consider before the day of your surgery:

  • Write down your questions. Before heading into a pre-op appointment with your doctor, take a few moments to write down the questions you may have about your surgery and the rehabilitation process. This will ensure that you won’t forget any questions and that you’ll be well-prepared for your appointment.
  • Make decisions about post-surgery care. If you have friends or family nearby who can stay over, enlist their help for your recovery. Or, consider a stay in a short-term rehabilitation facility to ensure you’re getting the post-operative care you’ll need.
  • Prepare your home. If you’ll be recovering in your home, you’ll have to make a few changes so you will have an easier time when you return from the hospital. If the bedroom is on the second floor, for example, be prepared to utilize the couch or favorite recliner in the living room as your bed. Also, remember to remove potential tripping hazards like throw rugs or cords and wires so you have a clear path.
  • Meet with a physical therapy team. Before surgery, it’s helpful to meet with the team or professional who will be providing physical therapy after your surgery. If you take the time to learn some of the hip replacement exercises beforehand, you will have an easier time completing them post-surgery.
  • Learn about possible complications. While complications only arise in around one percent of hip replacement surgeries, it’s still important to educate yourself about them. There may be side effects from anesthesia, infection, blood clots or blood vessel injury, etc. Find out what measures are taken to prevent such complications.
  • Strengthen and tone your body. If you’re slightly overweight, work on losing some of those extra pounds before your surgery. Building up strength and toning your muscles will make it less difficult to get around using crutches, a cane or a walker.

Adding Exercises for Hip Pain to Your Routine

Even if you’ve been slightly less active due to the hip pain you’ve been experiencing, it’s important to incorporate some daily exercises to prepare for hip replacement surgery. Starting exercises for hip pain now will help aid in your recovery time, too. In fact, exercise is actually one of the best things you can do for your hips, as it helps maintain range of motion and strengthen supporting muscles.

Along with relieving pain, hip replacement exercises are designed to help add strength and flexibility. Many of these exercises can be done on the floor, the bed, or a chair. For instance, you can lie in bed and work on rolling your ankles both clockwise and counterclockwise, keeping toes pointed toward the ceiling. Or, do some leg slides, where while lying down, you slide one leg out, keeping the knee pointed up and return to starting position, repeating on the other leg.

To strengthen your arms a bit in preparation of using crutches or a walker, sit on a sturdy chair, grasping the arms and pushing up, straightening your arms as you lift yourself off the chair. Repeat this five times at first, adding five more repetitions as the exercise becomes easier.

Your physical therapist can also advise on what types of exercises for hip pain and hip replacement surgery you can start doing in advance of your surgery date.

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