Full Motion Physio
When a hip replacement is the best course of action
There are several factors that could result in you needing a hip replacement. You may have a family history of arthritis, you might have had a congenital condition (one that you were born with) that led to early wear and tear of the joint e.g. hip impingement or dysplasia. The pain is unbearable at this point, it radiates down your leg and overall mobility is limited which impacts your day to day life. The benefits of strengthening, rest and pain relief to improve your current condition are now likely to be limited.
Hip replacement – the mechanics
A hip replacement is recommended when the joint has worn down and is beyond the point of conservative rehabilitation. At this stage, the cartilage that links the bones has worn away to the extent that the surfaces of the acetabulum (the hip socket) and femoral head (ball at the top of the upper leg) are rubbing against one another. This is what causes the pain, stiffness and the reduction in range of motion. All this can make moving very difficult and greatly impact your quality of life.
During the surgery, your joint will be replaced with an artificial ball and socket; this is referred to as a prosthesis. The procedure is typically performed under general/spinal anaesthetic. The surgeon will remove the head of the femur (ball at the top of the upper leg) and socket, replacing them both with the prosthesis. The benefits of this surgery are that it will help with pain reduction, improve your levels of mobility, and increase your hip range of motion.
Hip replacements are designed to last for as long as 20-30 years. Factors that influence the life time of a hip replacement include the weight of a patient, levels of activity and overall physical condition.
Hip replacement – what the evidence says
The evidence strongly suggests that having a hip replacement significantly reduces pain and improves range of motion in those with arthritic hips. Each individual case varies from person to person, however physiotherapy support and guidance throughout the rehabilitation process can have a positive impact on recovery.
Hip replacement physiotherapy: before surgery
Prior to your surgery, the physio’s job is to give you an understanding of what to expect from a hip replacement, any restrictions you need to be aware of concerning your range of movement and what basic exercises you can do to help your recovery. Hip replacement is a significant procedure and you will need some patience, perseverance and commitment to maximise the benefits.
I believe that if you know what to expect before you undergo the operation, you can better manage your recovery post-surgery. So my approach involves working with you to guide you at each step of the way.
Hip physiotherapy: after surgery
Post-operative rehabilitation will begin as early as the day after your surgery, sometimes even on the day of the surgery if the physio’s on the ward can get to you quickly enough! It is a team effort and your job will be to follow the physio’s and advice and exercise program to help you best recover from the surgery.
The physiotherapist should work closely with your surgeon to ensure that your treatment matches your individual needs. There are times when specific restrictions are placed on a person’s post-operative mobility to ensure optimal recovery.
The best physiotherapy is tailored to you individually. This is because your initial strength, balance and mobility and your rate of progress will be unique to you. So the physio should take these factors into account throughout your recovery period, and adjust the treatment to best match your requirements.
Hip replacement: the mental challenge
Rehabilitation can be as much a mental challenge as a physical one.
I understand that having a hip replacement can seem like a scary prospect, but with the right direction, support and motivation it can have a significant, positive impact on your quality of life.
It is entirely normal to need some reassurance from time to time during the rehab process. A good physio should have the skills and motivation to help with these emotional aspects of recovery, because these can affect your physical recovery. Often, it is simply a matter of talking through any concerns and queries you have, and adjusting the treatment if a specific exercise is causing you undue discomfort. Sometimes it is a case of providing friendly support and encouragement. Always, it is important that the physio listens to you, and responds positively to any issues you raise.
If you choose Full Motion Physio
I have trained at centres that are forefront of joint replacement surgeries, working with surgeons at Wrightington hospital. So I have the expertise and know how to get you back to optimal levels of mobility.
I will ensure that I am there for you every step of the way. Not only will I tailor a program to best suit you after surgery, for In Clinic patients I will provide hands-on treatment to relieve restrictions in the lower back, hamstrings and any other affected muscles.
I will closely monitor your recovery, making sure your levels of strength and range of motion are all on track and in line with expected recovery times. I will also advise on scar healing, advising if you need to make any changes to your recovery program. I will be on hand to answer any questions within my remit, giving you the reassurance and confidence to take each step in your recovery.
My approach is described in the Full Motion Method page. Extensive research has identified four essential elements for the best physiotherapy. The Full Motion Method covers each of these elements.
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