Hip surgeries come in all different shapes and sizes: from dealing with arthritis, to total hip replacements and removal of bone spurs (osteotomy), and repairs of labral tears or fractures. They can all be scary but are nowadays some of the easiest surgeries 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 most 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. But breaking all those bad habits, can truly be the hardest part, as it takes months to years and consistent effort to “un-learn” those crazy habits we developed 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 hip surgery of any kind, the single best thing you can do to make recovery easier is to get in shape before your surgery. Physical therapy can help guide that process by addressing what has gotten weak, what is over working, what is loose or what is stiff. Physical therapy also addresses all of those biomechanical dysfunctions (funny movement patterns) that your body developed, even though you didn’t know they were there. After surgery, it’s your therapist’s job to guide your recovery and make sure you heal as quickly as possible and as well as possible.
Before you know it, the surgery will be done and the rehab will just be a memory!