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New surgical approaches and advanced technology have completely transformed hip replacement surgeries.

In the past, you could expect a lengthy recovery process full of activity restrictions. Now, anterior techniques cause less trauma, which means faster healing and less surgical pain. That also means you’re back on your feet faster and with less risk of hip dislocation.

Thomas Calton, MD, offers numerous procedures at Elevate Surgical, his modern, world-class medical facility in Ogden, Utah. He focuses on using cutting-edge, minimally invasive techniques that provide incredible results, including knee and hip replacements performed on an outpatient basis.

If you have hip replacement surgery on the horizon, here’s what you can expect when it comes to regaining movement and returning to exercise after your procedure.

Exercising after hip replacement surgery

While it will take some time until you’re able to exercise at full strength, you’ll actually start moving shortly after your surgery. Here’s the progression you can expect as you recover from your procedure.

Your first exercises

In most cases, you’ll start doing several exercises before leaving the recovery room. These movements will work to improve circulation in your legs and feet while strengthening your hip muscles and improving joint movement.

Common postoperative exercises include:

  • Ankle pumps: pushing your foot down and up
  • Ankle rotations: turning your ankle in a circle in each direction
  • Quadriceps set: tightening your thigh muscle while straightening your knee
  • Butt contractions: flexing your buttock muscles and holding for five breaths

Once you can stand in the recovery room, you’ll be able to add additional exercises, such as standing knee raises and hip extensions. You’ll also be able to start walking, which is the best exercise on your road to recovery.

Taking up walking

In addition to the postoperative exercises that strengthen your hip muscles and improve your joint movement, walking will be your highest priority during your recovery. In the beginning, you’ll walk with the support of a walker or crutches, and Dr. Calton will offer guidance on how much weight you can put on your leg.

In the beginning, it will be essential to take your time and move as smoothly and rhythmically as possible. To start, Dr. Calton will likely recommend that you aim to walk at least 3-4 times a day for 5-10 minutes each walk. As your muscles regain strength and your endurance improves, you should be able to gradually increase the time you spend walking to 20-30 minutes, 2-3 times a day.

On top of walking on flat surfaces, you should be able to add some stairs to the mix. The additional “climbing” motion will help build muscle strength and endurance and improve flexibility. Again, you’ll need to move slowly and use a handrail and crutch for support. When you head up the stairs, you’ll need to lead with your “good” leg. On your way down, you’ll need to lead with your recovering leg.

Once you fully heal, you should continue walking at least 3-4 times each week for 20-30 minutes each walk to maintain your strength and mobility.

Adding more exercises as you build strength

Even advanced hip replacement procedures take time to heal. And, when combined with pain or hip problems you had before your surgery, it can further weaken supporting muscles. As a result, you should expect a full recovery to take several months while you recondition your hip muscles and get used to your new, fully functional hip joint.

As you continue on the road to recovery by walking and performing those first postoperative exercises, you should be able to add more activities to help your hip muscles recover properly, such as the following:

  • Cycling
  • Rowing
  • Swimming
  • Resistance or elastic band exercises

Dr. Calton will also monitor your recovery and offer advice on which exercises are best for you and when you can resume activities safely. However, diligently following your rehabilitation and therapy plan will get you back in shape faster and at your preferred activity level.

Do you need a hip replaced? Learn more about your surgery and recovery options by calling (801) 758-0206 or booking an appointment online with Elevate Surgical today.

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