What you should know about hip replacement surgery
What wears down the hip joint?
Professor Paul Lee says, “Osteoarthritis is the most common cause of hip pain – it’s characterised by the breakdown of cartilage in the joint, leading to friction, inflammation and discomfort. Rheumatoid arthritis can also wear down the hip joint through inflammation, pain and stiffness. Meanwhile, a fall or injury can result in a hip fracture and may require a hip replacement to restore function and relieve pain. At the same time, other hip joint conditions – such as hip dysplasia and avascular necrosis – can also cause pain and require surgical intervention.”
"Hip replacement is one of the most LIFE CHANGING and SUCCESSFUL surgeries in modern medicine."
How to know what treatment is right for you?
It’s essential to have an open and honest discussion with your surgeon to determine the best course of treatment. First, the condition of your bones is an important consideration. A cement prosthesis may be preferred if your bone quality is compromised. At the same time, prostheses that offer durability and longevity may be more suitable for those who remain active. By understanding the benefits and potential risks associated with the different options, you can make an informed decision that aligns with your needs and maximise the potential for a successful outcome.
Are there any potential risks?
Like any surgery, hip replacement surgery comes with potential complications. While most people recover well after surgery, there are some risks you should be aware of. These include infection – which can occur in the wound or in the deeper tissues around the hip joint – and blood clots, which can form in the legs after surgery and travel to the lungs and cause serious problems. To prevent this, patients are often given blood thinning medications and encouraged to move around as soon as possible after surgery. There is also a risk of the hip joint dislocating after surgery, especially in the first few weeks. To minimise this risk, patients may be advised to follow certain precautions and movement restrictions during the early stages of recovery.
"Physiotherapy is a cornerstone of rehabilitation. Exercises will focus on IMPROVING STRENGTH AND BALANCE."
What role does rehabilitation play in the recovery process?
Rehabilitation plays a vital role in the recovery process following hip replacement surgery for women. It is essential for regaining strength, mobility and functionality of the hip joint, enabling a return to everyday activities. The goal of rehabilitation is to facilitate healing, prevent complications, enhance range of motion and improve overall function. Physiotherapy is a cornerstone of hip replacement rehabilitation. A physiotherapist will create an individualised programme tailored to your needs and stage of recovery. Exercises tend to focus on improving flexibility, strength and balance. Gait training can also help women regain proper walking patterns and restore normal gait mechanics. This involves practising correct posture, weight-bearing and coordinated movements to improve balance and walking ability. Hydrotherapy can also be effective – also known as aquatic therapy, it involves performing exercises and movements in a pool under the supervision of a physiotherapist. The buoyancy of water reduces stress on the joints, making it an ideal environment for early rehabilitation and gentle strengthening exercises.
How long does it take to recover fully?
The typical timeline for full recovery and return to normal activities for women over 50 is around three to six months. However, this can vary significantly depending on your health, age and fitness level. Pre-existing conditions such as obesity, diabetes or cardiovascular issues may prolong recovery. Your level of pre-surgery fitness also factors into the equation. Generally, individuals who were physically active and in good shape prior to surgery may have an advantage in terms of muscle strength and overall fitness, potentially leading to a faster recovery.
Are there any lifestyle modifications to be aware of to ensure the longevity of a hip replacement?
Engaging in regular physical activity and maintaining a healthy weight is crucial for the long-term success of a hip replacement. However, the type, make and quality of hip replacement will make a big difference here. Low-impact exercises such as walking, swimming and cycling can help improve strength, flexibility and overall joint health without putting excessive stress on the hip. Maintaining a healthy and balanced diet can support overall joint health and promote healing. A diet rich in fruits, vegetables, lean proteins and whole grains provides essential nutrients for tissue repair and bone health. Adequate intake of calcium and vitamin D is particularly important for bone strength and can help prevent osteoporosis, while collagen supplementation can support healing and recovery.
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