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Posted by on Nov 16, 2021 | 0 comments

Tips For Recovering From Total Hip Replacement

Mark and Brian here – and today we’re going to talk total hip replacements. The good news about a hip replacement is that is the surgery that they know the most about. Typically it can be the easiest recovery over knees and shoulders, but you have to know what to do. You have to respect what the surgeon tells you. Lot of times there’s precautions that you have to follow too, just to make sure you’re safe. Total hip replacements have excellent outcomes. People are able to return to activities and that after them. 

Two approaches that they use for a total hip replacement are what they call an anterior approach, where they’re going to go in from the front, or a posterior approach, where they go in more from the back. The differences being, with the posterior approach, that is one that is usually most common. Although a lot of surgeons now are going to the anterior approach. The differences are with a posterior approach, they’re cutting through some of the muscles in the back and they have to reattach them. After your surgery, you’ve typically got precautions for six to 12 weeks after, depending on what your surgeon says about that. So you always want to check with them.

The precautions, after a posterior approach, are you can’t flex your knee past 90 or your hip past 90, which means you need to elevate your sitting position usually. You have to be careful trying to put on shoes and socks. The second precaution is you don’t cross your leg over the midline. The third precaution is you don’t rotate your hip inward because with that posterior approach that will put stress on where they went in at, and in instances that can cause damage to the surgery site.

Now for an anti interior approach, they go in the front. With the anterior approach, they don’t have to cut muscles. They separate the muscles to get to the joint. It’s a little bit more difficult, from what the surgeons have said, because they don’t have as clear a view through the anterior, but they do great jobs with this surgery. Anterior approach is especially good for more active people, because you don’t have those hip precautions for the six to 12 weeks.

Your basic hip precautions with an anterior approach is that you don’t want to extend through your hip too far. So you need to be careful bringing your leg back, and you wouldn’t be doing stretches that direction, or turning your foot out. They call this externally rotating. Those would be your precautions for an anterior approach, typically six to 12 weeks. Your surgeon is going to decide which approach is best for you, but those are the options.

After this, one of the things you need to be careful with is putting your pants on. What can make it easier is if you support yourself, hold your pants, put your surgical leg through the pants leg first, pull it up, all the while keeping yourself supported and safe. Then put it through the other leg. Taking it off surgical leg first, let it slide down. That’s the easier way to do it, so you’re not trying to put it on your good leg and then trying to have to bend your leg up to get it on. 

Now with gait, meaning walking, a lot of people forget that they need an arm swing. Depending on what your surgeon says, a lot of times you may start off with a walker and then move to a cane. As you get off of those assisted devices, you want to make sure you have a nice shoulder swing when you walk. Don’t walk with your arms planted at your side, make sure you swing your arms because that helps mobilize the joints and helps everything work a little bit better. Again, especially for the first six to 12 weeks with the anterior approach, you’re not going to overextend that back leg. So walk a little bit slower, a little bit shorter stride starting off.

Another thing people ask is when can I go back to activities, like their normal stuff that they were doing before? Sixty-five percent of the surgeons in 2018 said anywhere from three to six months is when they allow their patients to go back. Now again, saying this means that 35% of them did not agree with that. So as always, and I cannot caution you enough at this, you’re going to check with your particular surgeon because they are going to tell you what they think based on YOU.

Typical activities that the 65% said you could return to are walking, weight training, low impact aerobic classes, cycling, doubles tennis, swimming, hiking, cycling on the road or a stationary bike, weight machines, stair climbers, and ellipticals. So after three to six months, it’s usually safe to go back to those. Things that you’re not going to be doing anymore, singles tennis and martial arts. That’s at least what the majority of surgeons say you should not return to.

If you thinking about total hip and you have further questions, contact us at

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