Continuing an active life after hip replacement surgery
Having fear or being uncertain about what sports and activities you will be able to take part in after hip replacement surgery is a common concern. It may even delay your decision to get surgery. Orthopaedic Surgeon Dr Rabi Solaiman explains that surgery usually improves your ability to take part in sports and activities you love.
The reason most people have hip replacement surgery is to alleviate the pain and discomfort which is stopping them from taking part in activities they love such as tennis, golf, swimming or even playing with children and grandchildren.
Your movements may be restricted straight after surgery but you should soon find that, with ongoing rehabilitation including physiotherapy and occupational therapy, you can get back to doing what you love.
In general, most patients are able to return to sporting activities two to three months after surgery. You may be able to return to sporting activities earlier if you are fit prior to surgery.
The following is a general guide but your surgeon will give you specific advice.
It is safe to swim early in your rehabilitation phase as soon as your wound is healed, which is usually about two weeks after surgery. Your physiotherapist may recommend water-based activities, such as walking or swimming.
Make sure you don’t do breaststroke during your rehabilitation as that movement can make your hip move out of place.
I also recommend avoiding rough ocean waters as your leg strength will need to build up over time.
Most people can start playing bowls about two to three months after your surgery. Some may be fit enough to commence earlier and some may need to wait until three months. Your surgeon will give you specific advice during your post surgery consultation.
You may need to adjust your technique slightly to ensure you deliver the ball on the same side as your operated leg, with your operated leg extended behind.
Golf can usually be played about two to three months after surgery.
In general, there will be minimal to no limitation after three months, but it is generally better to avoid extremes of movement.
If you are a keen tennis player, speak to you surgeon about what you are likely to be able to do after surgery.
Tennis puts a lot of impact on your hips and in some cases, it may be recommended that you stop playing.
In general, lawn surfaces are more suitable than hard courts (so your Wimbledon dream can stay alive).
Social tennis, and doubles are usually better than hard competitive matches.
For keen cyclists, the good news is that after roughly three months most people can get back in the saddle.
You should get professionally fitted for your bike and ensure your seat is raised to avoid excessive hip bending.
Cycling on an exercise bike may be recommended to help with your rehabilitation about three to four weeks after surgery.
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