Every year, hundreds of thousands of people have their hips replaced. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 310,800 of these surgeries were performed on people who were ages 45 and above in 2010. As much as people know this surgery can greatly improve their quality of life, many worry about what the recovery will be like. The good news is that there are some real steps people can take to make that process go better. These steps can help gain back hip strength after surgery.
- Donate your own blood. A lot of people have taken to donating their own blood before they have their surgery. This can be used in the event that the doctors have to give you a transfusion. If you need to be given blood products, you can have a better experience with that if you have donated your own blood to be used. There is research that shows better outcomes when people are given their own blood during surgery.
- Never stop moving. It is normal to not want to move at all after any kind of major surgery but that is one of the worst things you can do for yourself. Whether you have had your gall bladder removed or your hip replaced, getting up and moving around will help you recover faster from the operation. It is a good idea to get up and walk around between two and three times a day, more if you can tolerate it. In the beginning before you have started to gain back hip strength, you may need help getting up and staying vertical. This is what the medical professionals at the hospital are there. Let them help you. When you get then, you should be religious about doing your physical therapy exercises.
- Watch your incision site. There are a few things you should do to make sure your incision site does not become infected. Wounds can heal up to 50% faster if they can get some exposure to the air. Talk to your doctor about ways to dress the area that give it more exposure to the air. People often think they need to apply special products to keep the area hydrated but that is not necessary. Talk to your doctor about what you can do to minimize scarring.
- Make sure your diet is healthy. This is a good thing to do all of the time but is even more important when you body is healing from a big trauma such as an operation. The best way to get your vitamins is from your diet and not from a bottle. There are some foods that can help with the symptoms you may have to deal with such as lack of energy. Foods you should try to eat include lean protein (chicken, eggs, tofu, fish), fruit and granola. You should limit your intake of sugary items.
- Talk to your friends and family. Getting over a major operation like a hip replacement can be trying on your spirit as well as your body. As you work to gain back hip strength, you may feel depressed. Some people also have a hard time needing help from the people around them. The reality is that as you recover from your surgery, you will do better if you have help both around the house and to keep your spirits lifted.
- Protect your skin from the sun. Everyone should already be in the habit of using sunscreen and wearing protective clothing to get protection from the sun. This is even more important after a surgery as too much sun exposure can put a damper on the immune system. Also, incision sites are more sensitive to teh effects of the sun.
- Do not drink booze. There has been a lot of research showing the detrimental impact alcohol can have on the body. People who drink in the days after their surgery can have more problems with their recovery than those who abstain. You also do not want to mix your pain medication with alcohol.
It takes time for people to gain back hip strength after surgery but you can have a better recovery experience if you work at it.