Anaheim Hills

120 S. Chaparral Ct., Suite 150

Anaheim, CA 92808

Phone: 714-998-9580

Fax: 714-998-9581

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Fullerton

1027 N. Harbor Blvd., Suite B

Fullerton, CA 92832

Phone: 714-870-U4PT (8478)

Fax: 714-870-8405

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Orange

1026 E. Chapman Avenue, Suite C

Orange, CA 92866

Phone: 714-538-1952

Fax: 714-538-1490

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Temecula

41278 Margarita Road, Suite 102

Temecula, CA 92591

Phone: 951-587-8105

Fax: 951-587-8405

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HOW PHYSICAL THERAPY CAN HELP WITH TOTAL HIP REPLACEMENT

Total hip replacement (arthroplasty) surgery, or THA, is a common operation in America. According to the CDC, an average of over 300,000 THA procedures are performed every year. Though THA surgery is common, post-rehabilitation is what’s most important to a patient’s lifelong recovery.

At CORE Physical Therapy, we see and help many THA patients get back on to their normal daily activities. If you’ve received total hip replacement surgery or know anyone who has, here’s how a physical therapy regimen can help with aiding back to a normal lifestyle.

Why Might I Need a Total Hip Replacement?

Total hip replacements are often performed on patients who have severe pain and immobility due to osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, or a fracture in the hip, according to Cibulka et. al 2009. Typically, patients will present with pain in the hip, groin, or thigh, and have difficulty with tasks including sit to stand transitions, stair climbing, walking, squatting, laying on the affected side, and even standing.

Surgery is usually only indicated when conservative treatment is failed. The goal of this procedure is to reduce pain, improve mobility of the hip joint, and facilitate a patient’s return to activities of daily living such as standing, walking, and stair climbing.

 

How Would Physical Therapy Help?

Prior to Surgery:

The earlier you start to prepare your body and mind for surgery, the better the outcomes, according to Yoon et. al. and Crowe et al. Here are a few ways that physical therapy can help you to prepare for a total hip replacement:

  • Improve flexibility and leg strength: Your physical therapist will help you to improve your leg flexibility and strength in order to set you up for a speedy recovery and facilitate optimal results with your surgery.

  • Improve daily activities immediately after surgery: You may need special equipment like grab bars, railings, elevated toilet seats, shower chairs, or a bed rail in order to help you safely recover at home.

  • Help you to learn your post-operative precautions: According to Burton, et. al, common precautions that a patient must follow after a total hip replacement include avoiding things like bending your hip greater than 90 degrees, bending your trunk forward greater than 90 degrees, and crossing your legs while seated.

Following Surgery:

After surgery, your physical therapist will work with you closely in order to help you facilitate optimal healing of your surgical joint, return to activities of daily living, and return to a healthy, active lifestyle. There are three phases of rehab that your physical therapist will help you through in order to achieve those goals:

  • Early Rehab (0-2 months)

    • Reduce pain, inflammation, and swelling

    • Improve hip joint mobility

    • Improve independence with activities of daily living

    • Teach proper use of assistive devices, such as walkers, crutches, or canes

  • Intermediate Rehab (2-3 months)

    • Return to functional and recreational activities such as walking, swimming, and stationary bike

  • Late Rehab (3+ Months)

    • Return to a high-level activity like outdoor bike riding and golfing, and continue progressing recreational activities like walking and swimming

    • Once cleared by your surgeon, you can even work with your physical therapist to return to higher impact sports like jogging, hiking, or tennis

    • At least 80% recovery should be anticipated 8 months after surgery according to Vissers, et. al. (2011).

 

The bottom line is, proper physical therapy care throughout the pre-operative and post-operative stages in a total hip replacement will help you achieve optimal outcomes from your surgery, and help you to reach your goals of returning to a healthy, active lifestyle. Contact CORE Physical Therapy today to schedule an appointment with one of our physical therapist.

 

References:

  • Burton, DS, Imrie SH. Total hip arthroplasty and postoperative rehabilitation. Phys Ther. 1973; 53:(2) 132-140.

  • Cibulka MT, White DM, Woehrle J, et al. Hip pain and mobility deficits—hip osteoarthritis: clinical practice guidelines linked to the international classification of functioning, disability, and health from the orthopedic section of the American Physical Therapy Association. J Orthop Sports Phys Ther. 2009;39(4):A1-A25.

  • Crowe J, Henderson J. Pre-arthroplasty rehabilitation is effective in reducing hospital stay. Canadian Journal of Occupational Therapy. 2003;70(2):88-96.

  • Vissers MM, Bussmann JB, Verhaar JA. Recovery of physical functioning after total hip arthroplasty: systematic review and meta-analysis of the literature. Phys Ther. 2011;91:615-629.

  • Yoon RS, Nellans KW, Geller JA, Kim AD, Jacobs MR, Macaulay W. Patient Education Before Hip or Knee Arthroplasty Lowers Length of Stay. The Journal of Arthroplasty. 2010;25:547-551. doi:10.1016/j.arth.2009.03.012.