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Dear doctor, is there anything I can do to prepare for a hip replacement?

21 November 2017

Q: I am due to have a hip replacement in two months, is there anything I can do to prepare for this?

A: Yes, there are several things you can do to get set for your surgery!

Exercise: try to keep as active as possible in the weeks leading up to your surgery as this will help your post-surgery recovery.

Use walking aids (a crutch or a walking stick) if they help you get more active. They can also help manage pain and improve your walking technique. Pain medication should be discussed with your GP or pharmacist so that you feel comfortable enough to move. You could also ask your doctor or a physiotherapist for some exercises to do pre-operatively, so that you are familiar with them before you come into hospital. It is best to do these as pain allows - be careful searching the internet, use only reputable sources.

Education: don’t be afraid to ask healthcare professionals any questions you may have, no matter how ‘small’ they seem! Some hospitals run education sessions prior to surgery so it might be worth checking with your hospital for any useful resources they offer.

Planning: following your hip replacement, you will be advised to avoid some movements for a period of time to allow the area to heal; this is determined by your consultant. These movements include bending forward, twisting on your operated leg, and bringing your operated leg over your midline. Because of this, it would be ideal to get some small pieces of equipment before you come into hospital:

  • Raised toilet seat
  • Helping hand grabber
  • Long handled shoe horn

You will usually be issued with two elbow crutches to go home with. Do not rush off these as they help manage pain, but also help you achieve a normal walking pattern.

You will need support once you get home from hospital for at least six weeks. Someone will need to help you get your compression stockings on and off, as well as help with general household tasks. You could also try prepping some meals beforehand or utilise online grocery shopping if possible!

Sarah Waters is a Senior Physiotherapist at Spire Portsmouth Hospital.

 

The content of this article is provided for general information only, and should not be treated as a substitute for the professional medical advice of your doctor or other health care professional.

 

 

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