Hip surgeries come in all different shapes and sizes: from total hip replacements to removal of spurs and repairs of labral tears or fractures. They can all be scary, but are nowadays some of the easiest to recover from. The hip joint is the deepest and most stable of the ball and socket joints, and is covered and protected by the largest and strongest muscles in the body.
Recovering from surgery is fairly standard, taking 8-12 weeks for the tissues to heal… but recovering from months/ years/ decades of protecting your hip (and the stiffness and weakness and funny gait patterns we develop) is the hard part. Regaining motion is not always a pleasant experience… sometimes it really hurts! Regaining strength can take time and can be one of the most frustrating things we go through. Breaking all those bad habits, though, can truly be the brutal part, as it takes months to years and consistent effort to “un-learn” those crazy habits we develop while trying to avoid that hip pain! We spend months and years walking up and down stairs one foot at a time, or walking with a limp or leaning over that bad hip to take pressure off of it when we walk. These bad habits can be really hard to break, even when the problem is fixed.
If you are facing surgery for a hip issue, the single best thing you can do to make recovery easier is to get in shape before your surgery. Here are some exercises to help prepare for that upcoming surgery!
Knee to Chest
Shin Box Rotations
Standing Cross Crawls
Heel to toe walking (“Sobriety Test”)
There you go! Work on that mobility, strength and balance. Before you know it, surgery will be done and rehab will just be a memory! As always, though, follow up with your physician and your physical therapist regularly to make sure things are going as planned. If there are any issues or concerns, your therapist can adjust your rehab activities and keep you headed in the right direction.
DR. KURT BROOKS, PT, DSCPT, OCS
Physical Therapist, Board Certified Orthopaedic Clinical Specialist