Physical Therapy after Hip Replacement Therapy
Proper physical therapy after your hip replacement surgery will ensure the best possible outcome for you.
Many surgeons, and/or their patients, do not pursue physical therapy after hip replacement surgeries, because a certain level of function is immediately possible given the amazing bonding techniques of the surgical implants, the thick ligaments surrounding the hip joint, and the general structure of the hip joint.
What many patients fail to perceive post-op, is that without the proper retraining of the massive musculature surrounding the hip joint, muscle firing patterns remain altered, and gait patterns continue unbalance into the future. These unbalanced gait patterns and muscle firing patterns, let alone the strength and flexibility imbalances that linger on into the future, lead to less than optimal function at the very least, and at worst can contribute to an earlier than expected revision of the hip implant.
Without the proper physical therapy intervention after hip replacement surgery, an individual may imperceptibly bear weight less firmly, or more quickly, through the leg that has the hip replacement. Another common issue is that the individual may not gain as much hip extension during the gait cycle as they should for optimal function. It’s all too easy to come out of hip replacement surgery walking with a slightly more stooped posture. The individual adapts to a new position, and doesn’t get training to move more fluidly, more confidently, and more powerfully through a more fully extended hip.
Quite likely, the pre-surgery “normal” for someone who has experienced an extended history of hip pain is a more flexed and adducted hip position because of hip joint degeneration, ligamentous stiffening, and muscle weakness. That person has been unable to enjoy, and benefit from, a more upright stance through the hip for years because that posture, and movement into that range of motion, used to cause them pain. Thanks to the excellent skill of the surgeon, now there is no pain to get into the upright position! From this point on, there is stretching and neuro-motor retraining that needs to take place. Physical therapy allows the individual to begin to use the available hip extension that is now possible because of the surgery.
Bottom line- you may be like many who can get by without physical therapy after hip replacement surgery. I always wonder why someone would settle for just getting by? I especially wonder why someone who goes through the extensive surgery and expense of a hip replacement would not want to have the functional expert, the neuromuscular training expert, the corrective exercise, flexibility, and strength training expert (meaning the physical therapist) to give them an objective view of what’s going right, and what should be improved upon? Your physical therapist can design a plan for you to achieve a proper muscular firing pattern around your hip, and a more optimum stride that will take you into a whole new phase of your future.
Find out more information on hip replacement on drugwatch.