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Physiotherapy before and after hip replacements

07 January 2019

Orthopaedics Rehabilitation
Having physiotherapy after a hip replacement will help you recover more quickly and if possible, it’s a good idea to see a physiotherapist before your surgery as well. Physiotherapist Amber Whitehead explains.

Physiotherapists can play an important role in guiding you through your hip replacement rehabilitation.

Every person is different, therefore specific assessments and tailor made programs are constructed to suit your functional ability and to help achieve specific goals in a safe, efficient manner.

Physiotherapy before surgery

Starting exercises before surgery ensures you have muscle strength and range of movement in your joints.

You can start physiotherapy any time before your operation.

Physiotherapy before surgery is called 'pre-hab' and evidence shows it reduces complications and improves recovery.

During pre-hab you learn about movements and activities to avoid after surgery, and you are introduced to some strengthening exercises – targeting muscles around the hip joint.

Hydrotherapy may also be recommended as it is a great way to experience the benefits of movement, reduce pain and achieve weight loss if needed before surgery.

We will also give you tips for dressing, sleeping and negotiating stairs with crutches, as well as create a home exercise program for you to complete independently.

Physiotherapy in hospital starts the day of surgery

You can expect a visit from your physiotherapist quite soon after surgery.

Some of the activities you run through with your physiotherapist in hospital include:

  • deep breathing exercises
  • exercises in bed to reduce the risk of blood clots and to prevent respiratory complications
  • getting in and out of bed with and without help
  • sitting in standard chairs with a wedge cushion to prevent the hip bending more than 70 degrees
  • standing and walking with a frame and then crutches
  • practice negotiating stairs
  • standing exercises for strength and range of movement which are to be completed at home upon discharge.
Any surgical procedure carries risks. Make sure you discuss all possible risks with an appropriately qualified health practitioner.
St John of God Health Care
Amber Whitehead - Physiotherapist
Amber Whitehead is a physiotherapist who works at SouthCare Physiotherapy at St John of God Murdoch Hospital.