Having hip replacement surgery is a big decision for you and your loved ones. Although it is one of the most commonly performed orthopedic surgeries, it still takes a lot of planning and preparation to have it done, and it requires patience in terms of recovery and healing. Your local orthopedic surgeon will give you some ways to prepare for your recovery before your surgery even takes place, as the more you know what to expect, the better off you’ll be after the surgery is complete. Healing and recovery take time, of course, but there are some things you can do to speed up your recovery and get back to feeling your best again soon.
Ask for Help
It should be no surprise that you’ll need some help after your surgery, but make sure that you’re prepared to have assistance for a while to help speed up your recovery. You don’t need to be pushing yourself too hard physically at first, and you’ll need someone to help you get food and drinks, maybe help you walk to the bathroom, and even do basic tasks like changing your socks or fixing the blankets on the bed. You’ll also need someone to drive you to doctor’s appointments until your orthopedic doctor clears you to drive. If you don’t have someone at home who can help you, ask a friend or relative to stay with you for a few weeks, or consider staying in a rehab facility if need be.
Eating well is important all the time, of course. But it’s especially important before and after your surgery since your body is working so hard to heal. You need as many healthy foods as possible during your recovery, and you should aim to eat a well-balanced diet. Be sure to eat healthy proteins, like lean meats, seafood, nuts, and beans. Aim to consume several servings of fruits and vegetables each day—it’s even better if they’re raw and fresh. Some of the best choices are berries and dark leafy greens. Be sure to get healthy fats, like avocados and healthy oils, as well as whole grains. You can meal prep before your surgery, order in healthy foods, have someone cook for you, or even consider meal delivery services. Eating healthy foods will help you heal and recover faster, maintain and even increase your strength, and minimize your risk of infection.
Know What to Expect
They say knowledge is power, and that is incredibly true when it comes to recovering from a hip replacement. Your orthopedic surgeon will give you a timeline for your recovery, and the more you’re aware of what’s realistic, the better you will recover and heal. You will likely get up and walk with assistance the day of or the day after your surgery, and you’ll be using a cane, walker, or crutches to walk within a few days, at which time you’ll be able to leave the hospital. You’ll likely be able to drive again between three and six weeks after surgery, and you should be back to normal activities at around ten to twelve weeks post-op.
Manage Your Pain Well
While it is important to wean off your pain killers after surgery, you need to stay on top of your pain during your preliminary recovery process in order to speed up your healing. If you are in too much pain to move around and do your physical therapy exercises, your healing will be negatively impacted in a big way. Managing your pain from the beginning will not only help your physical health and recovery, but it will also improve your mental state and quality of life. You don’t need to suffer from pain unnecessarily, so stay ahead of your pain, especially for the first few days, and be honest with yourself and your caregivers about how much pain you’re in.
Get Up and Move
Your hip joint is now in the best shape it’s ever been in, but it’s up to you to strengthen the muscles around it to keep it healthy. You shouldn’t push yourself too hard at first or do too much too soon, but you do need to get up and move regularly, even in the first few days. Joints stiffen when they aren’t used, and the less you use your new hip, the longer it will take to heal and the less range of motion it will have when it is fully healed. Moving around will also bring more blood flow to your joints and lower extremities, reducing the likelihood of blood clots and speeding up healing. Follow your orthopedic surgeon’s guidelines for movement and do your physical therapy exercises as often as recommended to keep your body on track for healing well.
Contact AICA Orthopedics to speak with an orthopedic surgeon about your hip replacement surgery or recovery.