Total hip replacement

Physical Therapy for Total Hip Replacement

It’s not always easy when you notice your hips not working quite as well as they used to. You might be suffering from arthritis, traumatic injury, or a medical issue that requires the procedure, making it unavoidable. 

Physical therapy, however, is considered the best treatment to recover from your total hip replacement (or total hip arthroplasty). An appropriately structured physical therapy program combined with a specialized therapist can greatly enhance your recovery outcomes, promoting long-term joint health and function and help you return back to a normal lifestyle pre-hip replacement.

What is a Total Hip Replacement?

A total hip replacement, or arthroplasty, involves removing damaged bone or cartilage in the hip and replacing it with prosthetics. This surgery, performed by an orthopedic surgeon, uses components that mimic natural joint functions, improving mobility and reducing hip pain. The procedure typically takes about two hours, but recovery can last a minimum of six weeks, requiring a comprehensive rehabilitation plan to ensure optimal recovery.

Engaging in pre-surgery physical therapy can help reduce pain, shorten hospital stays, and decrease post-surgery complications. This preparation includes exercises to strengthen the hip and improve flexibility, ultimately aiding in a smoother recovery. A physical therapist will take into consideration not just your hips, but also your overall mobility and flexibility and in some cases, may encourage stretching routines and endurance-building exercises that will in turn help you navigate easier post-recovery.

The post-surgery incorporation of physical therapy is crucial for a total hip recovery. The goal will always be to restore function and movement to the best possible state. Physical therapy often starts soon after your surgery and lasts a few weeks or longer, depending on the patient and the individualized treatment plan.

Therapies often include balance and stability exercises, leg raises and rotations, and abduction exercises. For some patients, continued rehabilitation can be very effective, and after the initial treatment period, many a patient can benefit from a fitness routine.

How Soon After a Total Hip Replacement Should You Start Physical Therapy?

Directly following your hope replacement, you can expect to start your rehabilitation which will evolve throughout your recovery. In the beginning of your rehab, you will focus on circulation and gentle leg movements. A physical therapist will work with you regularly to transition to standing exercises and finally, working on balance and functional activities.

In the few weeks that follow your arthroplasty, you can expect to work with your physical therapist 2-3 times per week. In addition, physical therapy can include some daily exercises that you do on your own. Having a customized physical therapy regime that takes into account your physical fitness, activity level, age, and other factors means your experience might vary, but one of the most important factors will be to work with a qualified physical therapist.

How Long Does it Take to Recover after a Total Hip Replacement?

No one person may have the same experience after their procedure, but in general, recovery can take around four weeks. Some people may find that they recover even faster. If you were an active person before your surgery, this can contribute to the total recovery time. Your overall physical condition and any other health and lifestyle factors play a role in recovery as well.

When to see a Physical Therapist for the management of your Total Hip Replacement/ Total Hip Arthroplasty

A hip replacement is a very common but complex procedure, and physical therapy is fundamental and necessary for a full recovery. If you’re planning for your THA, or you are post-op and your surgeon is referring you to a physical therapist,  our experienced team at Evolution can work with you to facilitate the full recovery of your arthroplasty procedure. Evolution Physical Therapy currently has locations in California, Colorado, Connecticut, and Long Island, with specialist PT providers that offer a range of physical therapy services and help to provide you with the treatment, education, and additional support you need on your road to recovery. Reach out to us today, by calling us to set up an appointment at a location near you, or filling out our Request an Appointment form.