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Weightbearing on the hip - how much?

Getting the amount of weight-bearing correct can be vital in the rehabilitation of the new hip joint.

The amount will be prescribed by the surgeon along with the time for this to be followed.

The physiotherapist will instruct you in observing the correct amount of weight to take on your leg as you walk.

Grades into which weight bearing can be divided:

  • Non weight bearing
  • 0% of body weight taken through the leg, ie hopping. This is extremely hard work even for a young and fit person. Stairs are often not possible and walking any distance impossible.

  • Touch weight bearing
  • Allowing the weight of the leg to rest on the floor as you step, up to 20% of body weight. In this technique there may be, surprisingly, less stress put through the hip joints than non weight-bearing.The hip muscles generate a lot of power when you hop and this force is transmitted to the hip joint. But touch weight-bearing relaxes the hip muscles and reduces the stresses throught the hip. This is very hard work if done properly, and the arms have to be strong enough

  • Partial weight bearing
  • From 20 up to 50% of body weight taken through the leg

  • Weight bearing as tolerated
  • Weight bearing through the leg as you feel able, with no limit, 50-100% of body weight.

  • Full weight bearing
  • 100% of body weight bearing allowed through the leg

Your physiotherapist will decide how you will mobilise, taking the surgeon’s instructions. Sticks, crutches or frames of various kinds may be used.

The person’s condition will often change the above ideal weight-bearing categories. If someone has rheumatoid arthritis, their arms cannot take much weight and the hip will have to take more if the person is to get about.

In some cases, a person is asked not to weight-bear at all for a period of time, ie use a wheelchair.

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