What seniors can expect after a full hip replacement

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Maria is one of the clients we’ve been able to meet and work with at The Physio Co (TPC). Maria needed a full hip replacement operation to help improve the pain she’d been having for years in her hip, leg and knee – all on the left side. 

Maria had been preparing for her operation by working with her TPC Physio, Sandy, while she was on a long surgery waiting list.   One day, just two weeks before the operation would happen, she heard from her surgeon that she was on – the operation was happening soon!

While Maria was naturally a bit apprehensive, as is the case with any operation, Maria was confident that it would help her to walk with less pain and without a limp. She had worked hard with Sandy over the past six months to keep her balance, coordination and muscle tone strong – even though she’d had lots of hip and leg pain.  The time had come for the op..

Group exercise sessions

In the six months leading up to the operation, Maria saw Sandy three times a week and thoroughly looked forward to each session.

They walked the corridors together around the aged care facility that was Maria’s home and Sandy treated with therapeutic massage to encourage muscular relaxation so that Maria could manage the pain and continue to participate in physiotherapy (and life) prior to the operation.

Sandy encouraged Maria to continue the active and social lifestyle that kept her mobile, despite the pain.

Maria particularly looked forward to group exercise class once a week, where her and some other of Sandy’s other clients sat together in chairs and went through a range of exercises to warm up before working on some upper and lower limb exercises for balance and strength.

Then they play a game with a ball or bean bags, throwing and catching to music to practise balance and core strength. The exercises may have all been sitting down, but it takes a lot of strength to lift and hold a leg up in the air when it’s already stiff and sore! They’d finish off every exercise class with some deep breathing exercises to cool down before stretching their arms and legs.

Then came the operation – which was a success, Maria’s new hip was in!

The surgeon was happy with the operation and Sandy started the rehab program on the surgeon’s recommendations.

Two days after the operation, Maria went to an in-patient rehabilitation ward for 10 days of recovery and rehab before returning to her aged care home.

When she arrived back at her aged care home, and to see Sandy, she was already walking with the help of a walking frame thanks to the help of the physios and OTs at the rehab ward.

Back with Sandy, Maria was stiff and hesitant to move far for a start. Sandy gently massaged the pain points to help the muscles relax around the new joint. This pain is very natural: the muscles will often tense up to try and protect from the damage caused by the operation.

Strong medication for a start helped enabled Maria to manage the pain and work on those imperative exercises on muscles around the operation site.

The sessions with Sandy were a bit tricky and painful to start with.  Maria struggled to execute some of the harder strengthening exercises because her leg felt quite different.  But, the program she had worked so hard on prior to the operation came back bit-by-bit with practise and encouragement from Sandy.

Within three sessions together, Maria had re-learned the program and was able to manage an increase in repetitions on each exercise. After four weeks, Maria was back to her 300-metre lap of the aged care home again!

The physiotherapy, walking, group exercises and massage before the operation meant that Maria’s muscles were well prepared for the operation.

The preparation program also kept Maria’s body weight in a healthy range, reducing the load on the new joint once it was put it.

After the operation, Maria was able to get the swelling down quickly and return to full strength within four weeks.

The new hip and the work that Maria did with Sandy helped her have the confidence and great outcome of staying mobile, safe and happy – and social!


Interested in knowing more?

Please call on 1300 797 793 or email hello@thephysioco.com.au 🙂

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