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Hip prosthesis: recovery and exercises

by Alivia Nyhan
Published: Last Updated on

The development of medicine and the health sciences has allowed a wide range of resources to enable and extend the productive life of the human being, against an equally wide multitude of adversities. One of those crucial resources in the face of many accidents today are prostheses, specifically the ones that we discuss in this article: hip prostheses.

Hip replacement surgery is a delicate process and requires an extensive recovery and rehabilitation period for the patient. For this time to be profitable and not wasted time, it is essential to know the premises for recovering from it and the appropriate exercises for each stage. Find out below about hip prostheses: recovery and exercises in our FastlyHealportal.

Hip prosthesis: recovery

The recovery process for a hip replacement can be extensive and deserves a lot of attention, both due to the existence of risk factors that can threaten the entire operation even with the patient in bed, and due to the fact that it is the base of the trunk, whose function is to support the body, as well as its proximity and protection to vital organs. Therefore, when caring for a patient recovering from a hip replacement, the following should be taken care of:

Avoid leg rotation movements

Any rotational movement of the leg from the femur, either inward or outward, is highly contraindicated and dangerous. Any possible resource must be applied to prevent this, whether with the patient in bed, in a wheelchair or standing, until the physiotherapist or specialist considers that the patient is in a position to carry out such movement.

Avoid supporting the leg

A patient with a hip replacement should be patient until such time as he can put his leg on the ground and walk on his own. However, this recovery period requires that until there is sufficient recovery, the patient must be assisted to walk or move, avoiding supporting more than 80% of the weight on the operated leg.

Strengthen muscles

What is not used atrophies. Whether a patient is in bed or not walking poses a health risk by severely limiting freedom of movement. For this reason, the patient must be maintained by exercising from the positions that are possible so that his muscles are not disabled, but on the contrary, they are strengthened by the time he can walk again. This also applies to the uninjured leg.

Other important precautions

  • Do not lie on the operated side.
  • Avoid bending over and crossing your legs.
  • The patient must use not very low chairs and this applies to the toilet, which must be adapted to the individual in rehabilitation.
  • Of course, any fall is contraindicated, whether on the operated or healthy side.

Rehabilitation exercises for hip replacement: first week

It is in the first days after the operation that the mobility of the patient will be most limited. However, this is not an excuse to start with rehabilitation and strengthening exercises for the hip , both on the leg and side of the operated and non-operated hip.

  • The first basic exercise for this period is the isometric gluteal contraction. With the legs straight, both buttocks should be contracted for 5-second periods, then relax. This movement can be done while lying on your back in bed, so it involves little extra effort.
  • Following this exercise, the isometric quadriceps contraction can be applied . This is by stretching the toes in such a way that the quadriceps (muscle on the front side of the leg) is contracted, also for periods of 5 seconds for both legs. This exercise also works to give your ankle mobility.

Rehabilitation exercises for hip replacement: second week

Already during this period the following may apply:

  • Assisted leg abduction and adduction: open and close legs horizontally, forming a maximum angle of approximately 40º. Remember that it is extremely important not to allow rotations, to avoid dislocation of the limb (that is, the femur bone dislocates).
  • Forward leg bend: bring your knee towards your chest, hugging it with your arms. The posture is held for about 5 seconds and the leg is lowered and stretched. Then it is repeated with the opposite leg.
  • Isotonic movement in knee extension: the patient is seated and asked to straighten the leg from the knee, preventing him from lifting the thigh, either through the patient’s control of his own leg or with an external force applied by another person. This will strengthen the leg, especially the knee.

Rehabilitation exercises for hip replacement: raise head with force applied against

During the rehabilitation of the patient with a hip replacement, we must not forget about the trunk and upper part of the body. The back can also be weakened in the absence of movement and therefore, a very useful exercise to activate and strengthen the back extensors is to bring the head back vertically , while someone supports, for example, the hand behind the patient, serving as Counterforce to demand contraction of the back muscles.

Rehabilitation exercises for hip replacement: bicycle and piston movement

All the exercises that we list below are for a minimum of 20 days after the operation, under the approval of the specialist. Both are done by starting lying on your back.

  • The piston movement would be bringing one knee to the chest while the other extends (including the feet and fingers, also in extension) about 30º from the horizontal.
  • The bicycle movement would be continuous, stretching the leg while the other is retracted, with the difference of the piston movement in that this movement would be like riding a bicycle: circular but with the legs in the air. The piston movement is direct and linear: stretch and retract.

This pair of movements is to increase mobility in the hip joint, while the knee is given movement and the lower abdominal area is activated and strengthened.

Rehabilitation exercises for hip replacement: with walker

After the wheelchair, the first tool or resource to use to assist with movement is crutches or a walker. With them, you can do the walk in 3 and 2 points or steps:

  • The 3-step walk involves moving the walker first forward (step 1), then one leg (step 2), and finally the other leg (step 3).
  • The 2-step walk consists of advancing the walker and at the same time one leg (step 1) and then the other leg (step 2).

Rehabilitation exercises for hip replacement: balance

The sense of balance must also be cared for and practiced. If the person walks with a walker, crutches, or cane, you can practice the following:

  • Leaning on one leg and flexing the opposite one backwards: it can be done leaning even on the operated leg, remembering that you are using assistive tools to support the weight. You must be careful not to push them too far away from your body in the case of the walker and the cane.
  • Walk in a straight line: fixate on an imaginary line and follow that line. Care must be taken that the person does not rotate the leg inward or outward, as some may be tempted to do so. This exercise can continue to be done without assistance tools but with someone else’s vigilance in case you lose balance, avoid any fall.

This article is merely informative, at FastlyHeal .com we do not have the power to prescribe medical treatments or make any type of diagnosis. We invite you to see a doctor in the case of presenting any type of condition or discomfort.

If you want to read more articles similar to Hip prosthesis: recovery and exercises , we recommend that you enter our Bones, Joints and Muscles category .

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