Hip replacement surgery is one of the most effective means of restoring mobility and reducing the pain caused by osteoarthritis. According to the American College of Sports Medicine, about 500,000 hip replacement surgeries are performed every year in the Untied States. Following a joint replacement surgery, those who have been runners in the past usually can continue with their chosen sport after a period of rehabilitation to build up to the high-impact activity. The American College of Sports Medicine reports that only experienced runners should undertake the sport following a hip replacement; it is not a post-surgical activity recommended for beginners.
Use a pair of trekking poles to start a walking regimen building up to when you can resume running. According to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, the poles increase the amount of energy you use when walking. Start a slow walking routine only after your surgeon releases you to begin putting weight on the hip.
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Build up your leg muscles by swimming when you're still in the recovery phase and not yet ready to start running. Donning a pair of fins adds intensity to your kicks in the water. Exercising in the water prior to running provides a means to rebuild your muscles while preventing additional injury to your new hip.
Pay attention to your stride when you resume running. One of the most important issues affecting hip replacement recovery is to avoid twisting the joint. According to the American Association of Hip and Knee Surgeons, the ball of the leg bone can become dislodged from the hip socket if it's twisted out of position. Run on even surfaces and avoid hills and trails with sharp turns.
Place ice on your hip after your run to reduce the risk of inflammation, one of the most common complaints following hip replacement surgery. Rest and elevate the side on which you had the procedure while you ice it down.
Ride a stationary bike to build leg and hip muscles and keep your hip flexible. The low-impact activity will not endanger the new hip, but will strengthen the supporting muscles and prevent stiffness, according to the American College of Sports Medicine.
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Once you start running, you will most likely experience pain and inflammation around the surgical site. The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons recommends applying a heating pad to your hip for about 15 minutes prior to exercising to reduce the pain.
Talk to your doctor prior to the surgery about your expectations. According to the American College of Sports Medicine, you may have to postpone running for an extended period of time. Immediately following the surgery, your doctor can recommend the best exercises after a hip replacement to prepare you for your chosen sport.
Is this an emergency? If you are experiencing serious medical symptoms, please see the National Library of Medicine’s list of signs you need emergency medical attention or call 911.