What you need to know about total hip replacements

Krista Behling, PT, DPT, Agnesian HealthCare Sports & Spine Center
Hip Replacement

Total hip replacement is a common surgery in which the thigh and pelvis bones that make up the hip joint are replaced with metal and plastic components to create a new ball-and-socket joint.

There are two main types of total hip replacements that are performed. The first is a replacement in which the surgeon makes an incision along the front of the upper thigh. In the second, the incision is made along the back of the upper thigh. There are no long-term differences in function, including the ability to walk or climb stairs, when comparing the two approaches.

After surgery, certain movements need to be avoided to protect the new hip. For an incision on the front of the hip, kicking backwards and out to the side at the hip should be avoided. For an incision on the back of the hip, marching the knee up towards the chest more than 90 degrees, turning the leg inward at the hip, and crossing the legs need to be avoided.

Before you leave the hospital after hip replacement, physical and occupational therapists will review what you should avoid based on the type of surgery performed. You will learn how to dress, shower and do your daily tasks safely to prevent these movements from occurring. If the surgery is performed at an Agnesian HealthCare facility, you will also receive a hip replacement binder that has information on which movements to avoid.

By learning about the different types of hip replacement, you and your healthcare team can make the best decisions for you as they help you in regaining your independence and quality of life during and after a hip replacement.

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