A Guide to Physiotherapy After Hip Replacement Surgery

A Guide to Physiotherapy After Hip Replacement Surgery

Hip replacement surgery can be a transformative procedure. It is considered the single most successful surgical intervention in terms of improving quality of life and relieving pain. Most patients have complete or nearly complete relief of pain following hip replacement surgery. This allows patients to go about their daily activities without limitation and lead a more active lifestyle.

But the transformation takes effort, and it doesn’t end in the operating room. Post-operative care and rehabilitation also play key roles in ensuring that you have a successful outcome. If you or someone you love is facing a hip replacement procedure, keep reading to find out what to expect and learn how physiotherapy can play a vital role in optimizing your recovery.

2023 Update on Provincial Funding Post Hip or Knee Replacement: 

In 2023, the provincial government announced additional resources for physiotherapy to assist in postoperative hip and knee replacement rehabilitation. If you had a hip or knee replacement after Jan 1, 2023, you are likely eligible for some physiotherapy coverage in a private physiotherapy clinic under this program.

At Beverly Physiotherapy, we offer direct billing for those who are eligible under this program as well as any other private insurance benefits plans. We can assist you to find out what coverage you have.

What Happens During Hip Replacement Surgery

Essentially, a hip replacement is a surgical procedure where the damaged bone and cartilage is replaced with artificial components made of ceramic, metal and plastic. It is most commonly performed on patients with severe osteoarthritis or certain types of hip fractures. The goal of surgery is to help relieve pain and improve mobility and function, which in turn leads to a better quality of life. 

Often, the decision to undergo a hip replacement is made after all other options have been exhausted. If conservative treatment methods (like physiotherapy, massage, or acupuncture) haven’t been successful, a hip replacement may be a good option. While it may seem daunting, it’s a very common and highly successful procedure.

Your surgical team will let you know exactly what to expect and how to plan for your hip replacement surgery. They will also be able to answer any questions that you might have (write a list!) and make recommendations for before and after your surgery. 

Most patients who undergo hip replacement surgery will spend anywhere from one to three days in hospital. Occasionally, select patients may be able to be discharged on the same day as their surgery. 

One of the main goals after your operation is to get you moving early! Early mobilization is key in preventing various complications such as blood clots. Your care team will help you with moving your operated leg, assisting you in/out of bed, and helping you to walk with a mobility aid (most likely a walker to start). They will also make sure that your pain is well managed and that you can eat, drink, and use the bathroom independently before discharging you from the hospital. They’ll also coach you on how to use the stairs and offer you some tips to make it easier. Finally, you’ll be given some exercises that you should continue to do at home. 

Once you’ve been released from hospital, your recovery journey will continue. Physiotherapy can play a key role in developing a plan for rehabilitation that will enhance the outcome of your procedure as well as assist in managing pain. Physiotherapists are very skilled at guiding patients through exercises that will restore your range of motion, strengthen muscles, improve balance, and enhance your overall hip function. We can also offer treatment methods that can help with pain control such as ice, massage, joint mobilizations, and TENS units. 

This informative video is helpful in letting you know what to expect:


A Customized Approach to Recovery

Optimal recovery from hip surgery depends on a progressive exercise program performed on a daily basis. These exercises should include range of motion, stretches, and strength and balance exercises.  Functional exercises such as walking, using stairs and getting on/off a chair are also important. Depending on your lifestyle, exercises specific to your unique daily activities can be helpful. A rehab program for someone who plays golf or has a lot of stairs at home or works as a delivery driver will all look a little bit different because of these demands on the hip. 

As physiotherapists, we have extensive experience assisting patients with their recovery after a hip replacement. We understand the importance of designing a personalized program that’s tailored to your individual needs and goals. Our regular reassessments and your feedback will allow us to progress your exercise program over time to ensure that you are doing the right exercises at the right time for your body. 

We will also focus on getting you back on your feet! Gait training is a fundamental aspect of hip replacement rehabilitation. We can work together to refine your walking pattern and continuously reassess your need for a gait aid like a walker, crutches, or cane. This can also be integral in reducing your risk of falls.

While it’s easy to feel overwhelmed, having a strong support team in place—including your physiotherapist—can make your recovery smoother. Our practitioners offer support and education and help you navigate the dos and don’ts post surgery. The timeline for recovery is as individual as you are! That’s why physiotherapy is not a one-size-fits-all approach. It’s a dynamic and evolving process that we can adapt to meet your unique needs and progress.

Step Into the Future

Hip replacement surgery can mark the beginning of a journey to better health. With the help of physiotherapy, you can feel confident that you are taking the right steps to achieve the best possible outcome. We’re here to guide you through each stage of your recovery, from customized exercise programs to gait training to pain management. With our expertise, you’ll be well on your way towards a better quality of life. 

Contact Beverly Physiotherapy at 204-774-8385 and let us be a part of your recovery! Let’s get you back to the activities that you love!