Having hip replacement surgery can be life-changing. It can reduce pain, increase mobility, and renew a sense of independence. However, hip replacement surgery is no small task. Post-surgery, time and care are required to head down the road to recovery.
Day One: Directly After Hip Surgery
The purpose of hip replacement surgery is to reduce pain. But directly after surgery, the pain will be heightened. During this time, mobility and independence will be difficult. Having help with daily life activities will be essential. On the first day after hip replacement surgery, patients experience discomfort mediated by pain medication. The experience varies by patient, and prescriptions for pain differ as well.
Day Two: Exercising After Hip Replacement
Two days after hip replacement surgery, patients can get out of bed and move around with assistance. The most important thing during this period of recovery is a combination of exercise and ease.
The Importance of Exercise
Moving around allows the blood to flow throughout the body. Circulation reduces the chance of a blood clot. Exercise also helps the body to regain strength following hip replacement surgery. Twenty- to thirty-minute sessions are recommended.
Ease and Gentle Movement
However, exercise must be light. Using a walker or cane makes exercise safer and more comfortable. Putting too much pressure on a new hip or moving too quickly could lengthen the healing process.
Day Three: Managing Pain after Hip Surgery
The third day after surgery will be the most difficult because this is when the swelling—and pain reach its peak.
After hip replacement surgery, the body is flooded with inflammatory cells to begin healing. While healing is necessary, this also means that patients will experience the pain associated with swelling.
How to Reduce Swelling
The best method to reduce pain during this time will be ice and anti-inflammatory medication if recommended by a physician.
Day Four: Going Home with a New Hip
Typically, patients with hip replacements are discharged within two to four days after surgery. Before going home, pain levels should be manageable, and patients should be able to maintain independence. The pain will still exist, but it should not prevent the patient from doing necessary activities. Following hip replacement, and before discharge, patients should be able to the following on their own.
- Get out of bed
- Eat and drink
- Go to the bathroom
- Walk (with a cane, walker, or crutches)
- Do light exercise
Continuing a Quick Recovery
The days immediately following hip replacement surgery are the most important, but after a patient goes home, the time and care that goes into recovery should not be neglected. Here is an overview of the best strategies for a quick recovery:
- Find assistance when pain levels are high, and mobility is slow
- Use ice, pain medication, and anti-inflammatory medication as needed
- Exercise for 20-30 minutes daily
- Move carefully and slowly
- Use a walker, cane, or crutches to reduce pressure
- Maintain independence when possible
Contact an Orthopedic Surgeon