This loss can creep up on people (or happen suddenly), and the ability to perform daily activities can become a real difficulty. Even doing the simplest tasks can cause pain and discomfort, lowering the quality of life.
When offered surgery to fix this issue, there are three types you’ll be made aware of:
- Total hip replacement (THR) or arthroplasty - where all parts of the hip (the acetabulum/socket, femoral head/ball joint, and arthritic cartilage) are replaced with artificial implants, completely replacing the ball joint within.
- Partial hip replacement - where only one of the two hip joint parts are replaced.
- Hip resurfacing - where the surfaces of the femoral head and acetabulum are replaced, but the rest of the bone in the femur remains intact.
After the operation and a short stay in hospital, you’ll be set on a recovery plan and discharged to go home. But what happens after that? And for those keen to get on with daily life, what is the fastest way to recover from hip surgery?
To help you get back on your feet, we’ve outlined the impact of having hip surgery and how to manage pain post-operation so you can speed up the road to recovery.
The Impact of Hip Surgery
Hip replacement surgery is considered a major surgery, and both the process and its recovery should be taken seriously.
Not only does the process of getting a hip replacement take a significant toll on the body, but patients also undergo anesthesia to manage pain and movement and are often prescribed medication to take afterward. This can bring on side effects such as nausea, headaches and drowsiness.
Anyone who has undergone hip surgery must make ample time for rest in the days and weeks after. Of course, everybody is different, so all guidance should be considered with adjustments according to your lifestyle and health/activity levels before the operation.
How long is recovery from hip surgery?
This is one of those ‘how long is a piece of string’ questions. While there aren’t any definitive timelines that consider personal circumstances and situations, there are some general goalposts that doctors may suggest.
- It can take up to 18 weeks to wait for a hip replacement.
- The surgical procedure itself can last up to two hours.
- Medical professionals try to get you on your feet as soon as possible after the operation.
- Recovery time in hospital ranges from one to five days (depending on the body’s response).
- Most people can expect to return to “normal” life after roughly six weeks, at which point any pain should significantly reduce (though caution should still be taken).
Most people view the two-week mark as their final goal. Though this is the case for many people with a moderately active lifestyle, you should still take care with any movements involving heavy lifting or bending at the hip at extreme angles.
Professionals advise avoiding extreme sports and activities with an increased risk of falling beyond the first six weeks, usually lasting for 12 weeks.
What can you do before your surgery?
Before having hip surgery, it’s a good idea to research the procedure, ask questions, and be informed on what to expect. Like any other major surgery, being informed can help you mentally and physically.
Prepare your body
Any exercise you can do to build and strengthen muscle around the hip area will help support the area after surgery. This can range from gentle activity, like walking or swimming, to more enthusiastic activity, like running or cycling. However, this may not be possible, depending on your hip issue and severity.
Preparation in this way should start weeks (or even months) before your operation.
In the hours before the operation, the hospital will likely provide guidance on what you can and can’t eat and any hygiene steps you should take to help the operation go as safely and smoothly as possible. It’s important you read through and abide by this.
Prepare your hospital environment
Before heading to the hospital, you’ll want to pack a bag of items to provide added comfort during your stay.
As well as the obvious items (comfy clothes, toiletries, hot water bottle), you might also take a book or device for listening to music and buy a supply of your favorite snacks for when hospital food doesn’t quite cut it! These small creature comforts can make all the difference in moments of discomfort and fatigue.
Prepare your home environment
The first thing you’ll likely want to do after the operation is lie down. Make sure you have a mattress or sofa bed prepared ready for your return.
Food is another high-priority topic, so it’s a good idea to have some pre-prepared meals for easy heating and consumption.
It’s helpful to look ahead at any financial commitments too (at least for the first couple of weeks), as handling these in advance will reduce any added stress or anxiety while in recovery.
Prepare your support network
While in the hospital, you might have visitors to help support you in the immediate recovery days. This can bring a great source of comfort.
For those living alone and/or the elderly, it’s wise to have a network around you afterward, if possible, to help with both taking medication and completing basic day-to-day tasks during recovery.
Managing Your Pain
As we’ve already discussed, everybody is different, and so the path to recovery and pain-free movement will vary from person to person.
Since hip surgery falls are considered a major surgery, some pain is to be expected. Regular pain medication may be provided by your healthcare provider for the first few days and will be prescribed upon discharge from the hospital too.
As with any other surgery, the ultimate goal after hip replacement is to get patients back to their daily lives as soon as possible. The level of activity associated with each daily activity will impact how soon someone can return to it fully (for example, extreme sports require a longer recovery time), but small daily tasks should be achievable from as early as a few days post-surgery.
How to speed up recovery?
Recovery is a crucial part of any medical procedure, and recovery advice from medical professionals should be taken very seriously. But there are some small things that you can do to support and even increase your body’s rate of recovery. These will also help to manage your pain in the long run.
Physical therapy is the most obvious method of rehabilitating your hip area after surgery.
When being discharged from the hospital, you should be given some physiotherapy exercises to get your hip moving and ensure mobility isn’t lost or hindered while you recover from surgery.
These will be light exercises aimed at engaging muscles in the target area to help restore and improve hip mobility. When completed regularly and correctly, these exercises help stimulate oxygen and blood flow to the area, promoting healing.
Pay attention to your diet
As much as we all love a bar of chocolate when we feel poorly, eating a balanced diet post-operation can have a big impact on recovery.
In particular, antioxidants reduce inflammation and can be found in spinach and almost all berries. These are great to eat while still in hospital when the wound is still fresh.
Not just that, protein and iron are great for repairing muscle damage. Foods rich in iron and protein include poultry, seafood, beans, and eggs. You should target these, especially after being discharged from the hospital.
In this modern world, there are constantly evolving technologies to provide insights into and help with at-home recovery.
There are apps available that gather data from your everyday life to assess stress and recovery levels.
There are handheld devices that deliver specialist light technology to stimulate cell regeneration and healing.
Red light therapy for hip pain
We at Kineon are particularly passionate about harnessing the power of infrared light technology to help body rehabilitation.
With our MOVE+ Pro LED & Laser, self-treatment for pain (both chronic and temporary) doesn’t get any easier…
Its small but agile form allows users to tailor the light treatment to best target the pain source.
You’ll immediately feel soothed by a light emitted from the device during treatment sessions.
But, better than that, infrared light technology has been proven to reduce both pain and swelling in patients post-surgery.
Benefits of red light therapy for hip pain
Light therapy has been shown in clinical trials to provide a significant reduction in pain and a faster recovery time post-surgery. It does this by reducing inflammation and triggering tissue healing and regrowth in the area.
In fact, light therapy is particularly beneficial for:
- Reducing inflammation and joint pain by increasing blood flow, promoting cellular repair, and reducing oxidative stress in the affected tissues
- Supporting the recovery of damaged blood vessels and cartilage by increasing cellular energy production and promoting collagen synthesis
- Speeding up recovery as it triggers energy production, leading to improved cellular metabolism
And unlike other ways to recover from surgery, red light therapy is non-invasive and gentle.
If you’re using an at-home device (like Kineon’s MOVE+ Pro), you can take charge of your own pain management and feel empowered at every step.
How to make red light therapy part of your recovery plan?
With our lightweight devices, red light therapy can easily be incorporated into your routine at any stage of recovery.
Unlike other providers with static light sources or those who provide in-clinic treatment, we created the MOVE+ to work around you.
Then, as soon as you’re moving, the device’s adjustable straps mean it can be worn and moved around with you for optimum treatment time. This means you can crack on with your to-do list whilst the therapy is working its magic.
Our work might be a small part of your path to recovery, but we pride ourselves on having a mighty impact while getting you back on your feet.
Use our 30 day risk free at-home trial to feel the benefits of targeted relief to your hip.
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