For most people, it takes about three months to feel like yourself again and be cleared for regular activity after hip replacement surgery. However, recovery can be different for every individual, and it will be very important for you to follow your orthopedic surgeon’s instructions, go to follow-up appointments, and do all of the physical therapy and home exercises that are recommended. Full recovery takes time and effort on your part, so you must be committed to the journey if you want to see optimal results.
What to Expect After Surgery
You will probably have to stay in the hospital for two or three days after the surgery for monitoring, pain management, and help from a physical therapist. You will be in some pain but will be given medication to control it. After surgery, you will just rest and recover from the anesthesia for the remainder of that day, but you will be expected to start moving on the second day. A physical therapist will help you get out of bed and take a few steps. The next day, you will begin to walk with support and transition off the IV pain medication. Your physical therapist will also teach you exercises that you will have to do at home to continue your recovery.
Active Recovery Continues When You Are at Home
Being discharged from the hospital does not mean you are ready to go for a run, nor does it mean you can just sit back and relax. If you hope to make a full recovery as quickly as possible, you will have to continue to work on it at home. Older patients might be released to a rehab center for a few days to get more hands-on help and therapy, but most people will be able to go home.
Once you are home, you will probably be advised to do the following:
- Get help with errands. You will not be permitted to drive for about six weeks after surgery, so you should line up help with shopping, going to appointments, and keeping up with housework. You should not sit still, however. It’s important to use your new hip to prevent stiffness.
- Take care of your incision. You should not get the incision area wet until the stitches have been removed, which should happen within a week or two. If the area is causing you pain, you can apply an ice pack.
- Do home exercises. You will be released from the hospital with printouts of exercises to do, and as annoying as it might be, it is very important that you do them as instructed.
- Wean off pain medication. You will be sent home with pain medication but should be able to stop taking it within ten to 14 days. If you are still in a lot of pain at this point, you should reach out to your doctor for help with pain management.
- Begin light activity. Within three to six weeks, you should be able to resume your normal light activities, such as walking, shopping, doing housework, and going out to dinner and movies.
- Go to physical therapy. Follow-up physical therapy is a vital part of your recovery. Getting used to a new hip takes some time, and PT with a trained hip-replacement specialist will be very beneficial to a speedy recovery.
- Return to normal activity. If you have followed your doctor’s orders, you should be able to take full advantage of your new, pain-free hip about ten to 12 weeks after surgery.
Of course, your specific recovery protocol will be up to your doctor and will depend largely on your age and overall health. Active 50-year-olds might experience a much quicker recovery, while a person in their 70s might need more time.
Discuss Hip Replacement Recovery With Our Team
When hip pain caused by arthritis or injury is keeping you from doing what you love, it might be time to consider a total hip joint replacement. Understanding the recovery process is an important part of deciding if the surgery is right for you. Call us today at 503-245-2420 to make an appointment to discuss your hip pain relief options in the Portland-area office closest to you.