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Exercise

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Exercises to improve your range of motion can help prevent circulation problems, as well as strengthen your muscles. Remember to turn and reposition yourself every two hours when in bed. The staff is available to assist you. As soon as you are able after surgery, usually post-surgical day 1, a physical therapist will begin to work with you.

During this initial visit, your therapist will check to see how well you are moving in bed, your safety getting up and sitting on the edge of the bed and whether you can begin walking with the aid of a walker. As your endurance and confidence increases, your therapist will begin to train you to go up and down stairs using an assistive device. You will also be given exercises to increase your hip range of motion and strengthen your leg muscles.

The occupational therapist will teach you how to live and thrive with your hip replacement. During your recovery, many otherwise ordinary tasks, such as getting dressed, will require special attention. For example, one of the most difficult is the simple task of putting on socks; this causes you to bend past a 90-degree angle, which can dislocate your hip.

Your participation in the therapy program is essential to the success of your surgery. The more committed and enthusiastic you are, the quicker your improvement will be; however, avoid "overdoing" it. You may feel discomfort with your exercises, but this should be a "reasonable" discomfort.

The therapists will assist you with the following activities:

  • Sitting at bedside with your legs dangling

  • Standing with the aid of a walker

  • Activities of daily living

  • "Gait training"
Gait training ensures you can walk safely with a walker.
  • First, lift your walker, and place it a comfortable arms length in front of you with all four legs of the walker down.

  • Second, advance the operative leg, heel first, then toes, and place it in the center area of the walker.

  • Third, using your arms, push down firmly on the walker arms and advance your non-operative leg so that it comes a few inches past the operative leg.

How much weight you are allowed to put on the operative leg after surgery often varies, and is decided by your physician.

Climbing stairs
If you are going up or down stairs, it is important to remember the sequence of which leg to move and when to move it. A saying that is often used and easy to remember is "up with the good, down with the bad". You will want to lead with the "good" leg when going up the stairs, and lead with the "bad" or operative leg when going down the stairs.

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