It isn’t easy deciding to have a joint replaced, but doing so can offer life-changing results. Yet that doesn’t mean you see results immediately. Instead, the surgery itself is the first step in a lengthy process that requires commitment, patience, and dedication to achieve optimal outcomes.
Dr. Tadje has been treating arthritis and sports medicine injuries in the Treasure Valley for 15 years. He uses conservative treatments as a first line approach at Tadje Orthopaedics. However, if conservative treatments don’t work, surgery could be considered in many cases. This could include joint replacement or arthroscopic treatments.
If you need a hip replacement, here’s what you need to know about the recovery process.
Healing from a hip replacement
Surgeons perform more than 450,000 total hip replacements each year, and the recovery time can vary significantly from person to person. That’s because several factors play a role in healing from this procedure, such as:
- The skills of your surgeon
- The surgical method
- Your age, diet, and overall health
- Other health or lifestyle factors, like smoking
Your hip replacement recovery will include several milestones. It may take a year or more to fully recover from surgery, but you should be able to perform most daily activities within six weeks.
What to expect immediately after hip replacement surgery
The good news when having hip replacement surgery is that you’re usually on your feet and walking shortly after your procedure. In fact, you’ll likely start physical therapy almost immediately to support the recovery process and improve your outcome.
In most cases, you can usually leave the hospital within a few days and sometimes the day of the procedure itself. But before heading home to heal, you have to learn a few important skills, including:
- Getting in and out of bed and your car safely
- Walking with supportive devices like crutches or a walker
- Doing strengthening and range-of-motion exercises
- Learning ways of doing daily hygiene tasks like bathing and using the toilet
We also provide guidance on daily exercises to perform at home, how much weight you can put on your leg, and any precautions you should take while bending, sitting, or sleeping.
What to expect in the first three months
First, rest easy. The goal of joint replacement surgery is to get you back to living a normal life and doing the things you love most, but it can take time to perform those tasks safely.
You definitely have to take a break from driving after hip replacement surgery. If you had your left hip done, you could be driving again within a week or two. If it was your right hip, you may need up to a month to get back behind the wheel.
Regardless of which hip you replace, taking medications like opioids can affect how quickly you can resume driving.
Just like driving, your return to work can also vary. For example, if you have a desk job requiring minimal activity, you can likely get back to work within roughly two weeks. If you have a physical job that’s hard on the hips or requires heavy lifting, your return could take closer to six weeks.
A new hip can give you a new lease on life, especially if you love physical activity. Fortunately, you can get your body moving as soon as you feel comfortable, as long as it involves minimal activity or low-impact activities, like walking or golf.
For high-impact sports or those involving water, Dr. Tadje often recommends waiting about six months.
What to expect after three months
As you can see, you can usually resume most daily activities within three months. But your healing continues for a year or more — which means you must remain committed to your physical rehabilitation program.
To ensure the best outcomes, Dr. Tadje suggests:
- Walking often
- Following your physical therapy program
- Eating a healthy diet
- Quitting smoking
And, most importantly, follow Dr. Tadje’s postoperative instructions to the letter.
Do you need a joint replaced? Schedule an appointment at Tadje Orthopaedics to learn more about your treatment options by calling 208-0515-2654 today.