Next Steps After Recovery

Following a successful total joint replacement (TJR) surgery, patients can enjoy a new lease on life. However, maintaining joint health is crucial in getting the most out of the prosthetic. An important step patients can take after surgery is to avoid being sedentary. Mobility exercises are essential for reducing pain, preventing further bone loss, and protecting the hip joint from additional wear and tear. Hip replacement patients should incorporate 3 hip mobility exercises into the daily routine to stay active after recovery.

1. Let’s squat

A well-known exercise with numerous benefits is the squat. The movement improves hip mobility and reduces the risk of arthritis by engaging the legs, hips, and back. Squats also build additional strength and muscle to support the prosthesis. To perform this exercise, stand with feet shoulder-width apart and place hands on the waist for support. Then, bend the knees until the thighs are 90 degrees or parallel to the floor. Once comfortable, lift the hips until the body forms a straight line from shoulders to knees. Repeat the movement as directed by a physical therapist or doctor. Over time, strength should improve, and people can add weights or resistance bands for a further challenge.

2. Try straight leg raises

Start by lying on the back and placing the feet flat on the floor. Place a pad under the heels for additional support if needed. Raise 1 leg at a time until a 90-degree angle is formed with the thigh. Hold the position for several seconds, then lower the leg back to the starting position. Repeat for the recommended number of repetitions, and then move the other leg. This exercise improves hip mobility and reduces pain by targeting the hips and lower legs.

3. Standing hip extensions

Begin by standing with the back straight and the arms hanging loosely at the sides. Tighten the glutes and flex the hips forward to stretch the back. Hold the position for a few seconds, then return to the start position and repeat for the recommended number of repetitions. This exercise stretches and tones the gluteal muscles in the thighs and legs, which helps strengthen muscles around the hip and improves hip mobility. Hip extensions can also be done on the floor or sitting with the back against an exercise bench. Hold a weight, like a kettlebell, in the pelvic area for more resistance.

Other tips to improve hip mobility

In addition to performing the 3 exercises discussed above, practice proper posture and maintain a healthy body weight to reduce the risk of developing back pain or other injuries. For added support during recovery, wear a compression garment around the knee to promote circulation and prevent blood clots. A physical therapist may also recommend exercises like swimming, water aerobics, or using a stationary bike. Maintaining an active lifestyle promotes long-term wellness and allows the patient to remain independent after recovery.

Get active, stay active

Hip replacements reduce chronic pain and have a high success and satisfaction rate. However, surgery is not a magic pill where nothing else is required to be effective. Staying active, no matter how minimal the activity, is key to retaining hip mobility. Spending a few minutes daily exercising can motivate hip replacement patients to try other movements. A new hip opens possibilities for a better quality of life, and patients must capitalize on the opportunity as much as possible.