Hip Replacement Therapy
Hip replacement is one of the commonest and most successful therapies for severe arthritis of the hip joint and has very high increases in quality of life, higher than any other medical interventions. Once the operation has been completed the patient works with the nurses and the physiotherapists to rehabilitate the new joint.
The physio may prescribe hip replacement exercises to improve the pain, ranges of movement and muscle strength to restore normal joint function. Post hip replacement exercises are not a major issue in this case as there is a danger of dislocation and excessive stresses applied to the junctions between the bone and the implant or bone and the cement.
In the years before the hip replacement surgery the hip joint has typically been deteriorating with the osteoarthritic changes and this usually leads to pain, loss of movement and loss of muscle strength and size. Exercises for joint pain are typically performed prior to the operation such as hydrotherapy and a joint exercise program may put off or prevent the need for surgery.
Hip replacement therapy concentrates mostly on mobilising into walking with the physiotherapist and a normal functional gait will restore much of the movement and strength loss.
It is uncommon for hip replacement stretches to be required unless there is a large loss of movement such as a fixed flexion deformity which might prevent the patient from easily getting to stand upright. Stretches should only be done under physio supervision as dislocation or excessive stress to the hip joint may occur.
Hip resurfacing exercises are safer to perform as the head of the femur in this replacement technique is much larger and less likely to dislocate. To clearly understand why the post-operative exercise regimes are prescribed it is helpful to see how the operation is performed in a total hip replacement video.