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Hip Replacement Stretches

Total hip replacement is one of the most successful medical interventions and has some of the highest increases in the quality of life measures in all of the medical field.

Due to the typically long period preceding the hip replacement surgery that the hip arthritis has affected the hip joint, the hip has usually lost range of movement and muscle strength to some degree. During the operation the hip capsule, the ligamentous bag around the hip which may have become tight during the arthritic joint period, is often cut away, leaving the hip able to achieve new ranges of movement.

Before hip replacement the patient will likely have been given a joint exercise program by a physiotherapist to improve strength and range of movement. Exercises for joint pain are a standard hip replacement therapy before surgical intervention is considered.

Apart from the capsule, the muscles and tendons around the hip may be tight and in certain cases the patient may need to be taught hip replacement stretches by the physiotherapist. Stretching the tissues around the hip needs to be done carefully to avoid the likelihood of dislocation if the joint is pushed too far.

The most important restriction in movement is if the front of the hip is tight as this will prevent someone from standing up straight properly. Lying regularly in prone, on the front, is a useful way of gently stretching out the front of the hip and can be started as soon as the person can turn over safely and comfortably.

In cases of restriction or weakness, hip replacement exercises may be routinely prescribed by the physiotherapist. Hip resurfacing exercises after this, rather different, technique to hip replacement can be performed more strongly due to the reduced risk of dislocation with the larger head used.

Other ranges of movement of the hip rarely need to be stretched out, and post hip replacement exercises and functional movements may be safer and more effective in increasing the ranges of movement of the hip.

To understand the way that the hip needs to be mobilised the most useful thing is to view a total hip replacement video which can help you understand what has happened to the hip and why the movements need to be increased in some cases.

There is a nice PDF article about hip replacement exercises here.


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