When a hip or joint is replaced, the joint is now in great condition. The connective tissues (including muscles) however are yet tight and shortened from likely months or years of the patient adapting, protecting the joint.
It can be a difficult task following surgery but with the proper guidance of a physical therapist the patient can perform an optimum program of exercise to ensure the best outcome and function.
One exercise focus that can be missed is learning and performing appropriate exercises over the months BEFORE the scheduled surgery. To the best of the patient’s ability developing increased range of motion (stretching the muscles and connective tissues) around the joint, and developing as much increased strength as you can before surgery can have a significant benefit in a patient’s recover following surgery. Also, exercising your upper extremities (arms and shoulders) prior to surgery can be a great benefit as initially you may be using your arms more (in ways you are not used to) to lift yourself form chairs and using a walker or crutches.
AN INVESTMENT PAYS OFF
One of my patients, on his own, sought such instruction in appropriate exercises before having both knee joints replaced during the same surgery. He not only exercised his legs, but also his arms and upper body knowing he would be using crutches after surgery.
Over the 2 months prior to having both knees replaced he learned the right exercises to perform and was dedicated in their performance at home and the local YMCA.
The result? A lot of work afterward, but considerably less than if he had not proactively sought and performed the exercises he did before surgery.
ASK YOUR DOCTOR about providing you a physical therapy order to learn what you can work on BEFORE surgery or simply seek out instruction on your own. The results of preparing for a surgical procedure can make rehabilitation much easier and provide a much better long term outcome.