February 5, 2024
A total hip replacement (THR) is a surgery which is usually performed either after trauma (eg a fall resulting in a fracture of the hip) or electively as a treatment for hip pain usually from arthritis. The hip is a ball and socket joint with the head of the thigh bone (femur) fitting into the socket of the pelvis (acetabulum). In a THR, the head of the femur is replaced with a metal ball mounted on a stem that fits into the thigh bone. The socket is replaced with a cup, and the two components fit together.
There is a lot of evidence now to support early mobilisation (movement, walking etc.) after THR. It is shown to reduce hospital length of stay and complications and improve physical outcomes. That is why on day 1 after your surgery your physiotherapist will likely come to assist you in moving, and will also provide you with a home exercise program. After discharge, this program should be continued until you see a physiotherapist again. We can then change or progress you exercises, and continue to help you with your functional goals.
An important aspect of care after THR surgery is something called ‘hip precautions’. These are to be followed usually for 12 weeks after surgery to prevent dislocation of the prosthesis:
1. Do not cross your legs or allow the affected leg to cross the midline
-eg sitting, lying on your side (use a pillow to ensure hip does not cross midline)
2. Do not bend the operated hip more than 90 degrees
-eg lifting the knee towards the chest, bending the body forward when sitting
3. Do not twist or rotate the operated leg in and out
-eg when walking ensure toes are pointing relatively forward and not to the side
If you have any questions about the hip precautions, or what exercises you should be doing, get in touch at 01 441 0100.