Hip replacement surgery is when damaged parts of the hip joint are surgically removed and replaced by artificial components to regain mobility and use of the hip joint.
People usually opt for hip replacements when their hip joints are damaged and they have tried other, non-surgical treatments, and have not gained long-term pain relief.
Hip replacement surgery requires considerable recovery time and rehabilitation - although you might be able to resume normal activities within six months, full recovery might take up to a year. After recovery, the implants can last up to 20 years.
Hip replacement surgery might offer you long-term pain relief, which might help you sleep better. It might also help with your movement, which could allow you to do things for yourself again and improve your quality of life. As with any surgery, however, it is important to consider the long-term limitations you might face.
Limitations To Consider After Hip Replacement Surgery
Recovery requires patience. In their frustration and in the hope to speed up recovery, patience might overexert themselves. This might include overusing the joint by standing or walking for too long, or moving in ways that might twist the hip in a dangerous position.
You will have to avoid certain positions and movements, such as crossing your legs or bending over to pick up objects from the ground, at least for the first few months.
You might feel that you should “push through the pain” in order to improve your mobility and strength, but this can cause inflammation and damage your new joint. In severe cases, the new joint might become dislocated or loosened which will set back recovery efforts.
If you recover from hip replacement surgery without complication, your movement will still be limited. It would be best to avoid high-impact activities such as running or jumping. Lifting heavy objects can also put stress on the hip joint.
A physical therapist will be able to guide you through recovery, from immediately after surgery, to the long term. The treatment they provide can help improve your range of motion and rebuild strength.
How Can I Prepare For Life After Hip Replacement Surgery?
First, manage your own expectations. The pain might be much better and your mobility might be improved, but your joint might not be as strong after the surgery as it was before it was damaged.
Having realistic expectations will keep you from being disappointed later on. Discuss your recovery timeline with your doctor and ask any questions you have regarding your recovery. Gain clarity about what you will be able to do once you heal, and what you will have to avoid.
Follow your doctor’s instructions and attend follow-up appointments. This will help you minimise the risk of complications and promote a speedy recovery.
It might sound obvious, but a healthy lifestyle can help prolong the life of your new hip joint and reduce the risk of complications. This includes eating a healthy diet, maintaining a healthy weight, and engaging in regular exercise, as prescribed by your physical therapist.
Your new artificial hip joint will experience wear and tear over time, and eventually, it may need to be replaced. The lifespan of the implant varies depending on your age, activity level, and the type of implant used. Ask your doctor to explain what signs you need to look out for that might indicate the need for revision surgery.
Considering The Long Term Limitations After Hip Replacement Surgery
Hip replacement surgery can be life-changing if you suffer from severe hip pain and limited mobility. However, it is important to consider the long-term limitations that may arise after the procedure, such as avoiding certain movements, following the instructions of your care team and looking out for signs of wear and tear.