If you recently had a total hip replacement procedure because of joint damage, then your surgeon probably recommended that you enroll in an orthopedic physical therapy program. Patients who forego physical therapy after hip and other orthopedic surgeries do not "bounce back" as quickly as those who do participate in programs. Here are some physical therapy benefits that you will enjoy following your total hip replacement.
Orthopedic physical therapy helps enhance circulation after hip replacement surgery. Promoting circulation after surgery is important because it helps reduce the risk of blood clots. While your surgeon will prescribe anticoagulant medications to lower your risk for postoperative blood clots, physical therapy needs to be included in your recovery plans to augment the anti-clotting effects of your medications.
Enhanced circulation also helps speed up the healing of your incision, improves pulmonary capacity, and reduces pain and inflammation. It is important to note that total hip replacement surgery is is a major procedure that may cause significant postoperative pain.
You may experience challenges during your first few therapy sessions, however, over time, your exercises will be easier to perform. Orthopedic physical therapists recommend that patients take their pain medications before the start of their sessions because doing so will improve mobility and decrease pain while performing their exercises.
Total hip replacement surgery is more commonly performed on older adults. The combination of age, medication side effects, balance problems, preexisting health conditions, and significant pain can raise the risk of falls after orthopedic surgery.
Physical therapy helps improve strength, correct balance problems, promote blood flow to enhance healing, decrease pain, and it may even prevent postoperative dizziness, which may significantly lower the risk for falls. Whether you participate in a physical therapy program while you are still in the hospital recovering from your hip replacement surgery, at an outpatient facility after being discharged from the hospital, or with a physical therapist who comes to your home, you will enjoy the fall-reduction benefits that physical therapy can provide.
If you are anticipating total hip replacement surgery to replace a damaged joint, talk to your doctor about the benefits and importance of physical therapy. If you do not participate in a physical therapy program, you may experience ambulation problems, a higher risk for infection of the surgical incision, poor posture, a greater risk for blood clots, and you may even be at a higher risk for failure of your prosthetic joint.
To learn more about orthopedic physical therapy, contact a health professional near you.