If your doctor has suggested a hip replacement, you may be worried about the recovery time and how quickly you can get back to your original routines. If so, the good news is that the recovery time now is much quicker than it was even several years ago.
If you’re a senior having a hip replacement, you should be walking short distances and getting out of bed on your own within 4 to 6 weeks. Full recovery from a hip replacement will take you anywhere from 3 to 6 months, depending on a variety of factors.
Hip replacement recovery times are very dependent on the patient’s health and other mitigating factors. Keep reading to see those factors and how to minimize your recovery time.
Recovering After A Hip Replacement
Everyone who has a hip replacement will be different and likely have different recovery times. However, there are some basic timelines for recovery that most people follow. They include:
1 – 2 Days
- Get out of bed with assistance
- Begin eating a normal diet
- Shift from IV to oral pain medications
3 – 4 Days
- Walk with help from a walker or crutches
- Discharge from hospital
- Physical Therapist will come to your home
- Move as much as possible
10 – 14 Days
- Stitches from the incision will be taken out
4 – 6 Weeks
- Get out of bed on your own
- Walk short distances on your own without a walker or other assistance
- Able to do most light activities
3 – 6 Months
- Able to return to all normal activities
Remember, these are only guidelines, and your experience could differ. To speed up your recovery, it is very important that you get up and walking as soon as possible. Walking will play an important part in your overall recovery strategy. Your physical therapist will give you exercises to do but walking will be the best exercise you can give your hip.
Walking also means less chance of a blood clot, since it will increase your circulation to your legs and feet. It can increase your muscle strength and keep your hip from getting stiff. You should also breathe deeply after your surgery to avoid fluid collecting in your lungs after your surgery.
Factors Affecting Hip Replacement Recovery
The main factor affecting your hip replacement recovery will be how active you were before the surgery. Your overall health pre-surgery will determine how quickly you will recover post-surgery. Someone who exercises regularly and is in good shape will recover faster than someone who rarely exercised.
Before surgery, follow the below recommendations for a better recovery period.
Develop a Healthy Exercise Routine
Exercising before and after a hip replacement surgery is very important to the success of the surgery. Before surgery, become as active as you can be. Here are some tips for beginning your exercise regime:
Walk as much as you can. Walking will increase circulation in your legs and hips, improving the chances of shorter recovery time.
Pull your feet towards you and then push them away.
Sit on a chair and straighten your leg, holding for 5 seconds.
Lie flat on a bed. Push the back of your knee down onto the bed and hold for 5 seconds.
Find a chair with arms. Push down on the arms, holding your buttocks in the air as long as you can, and then slowly release.
Squeeze your butt muscles together for 5 seconds and release.
Straight Leg Exercises
Put one foot flat on the bed and raise the other leg (the one on which you will have surgery) a few inches off the bed. Hold for 5 seconds.
Lie on a bed and slide your heel up to your buttocks, keeping the heel flat on the bed.
Lie on the bed and put a towel under your knee. Straighten your leg and hold for 5 seconds. Lower slowly. This should be the leg on which you will have surgery.
Slide your leg out to the side while lying on a bed. Bring back in slowly and repeat.
Health Goals Before and After Hip Replacement Surgery
Your goal is to get as healthy as you can before the surgery. You want to pay special attention to the leg and hip scheduled for surgery.
Strengthen those muscles as much as you can so you can retain some of that mobility after the hip replacement.
After a hip replacement, exercise is just as important, although you may not be able to go back to the same exercises quickly after the replacement.
However, it is vitally important you exercise after surgery so you can rehabilitate successfully. Use the same exercises above to strengthen your muscles and, above all, walk as much as you can.
Control your Weight with a Healthy Diet
Extra weight will only put added stress on your joints and muscles and will add to complications with the hip hardware after your hip replacement. It’s important to listen to your doctor and begin a healthy diet.
Eating healthy is something you should do before and after a hip replacement. Here are some foods you should eat to maintain a balanced diet:
- Omega-3s – These include salmon and walnuts
- Ginger – Ginger is good for musculoskeletal issues. It also has anti-inflammation and anti-cancer properties
- Magnesium – Leafy green vegetables are high in magnesium, which is a pain reliever and muscle relaxer
- Glucosamine and Chondroitin – These help in building and maintaining cartilage, important for your hip replacement. Get these from vitamin supplements
- Heart-Healthy Foods – Eating smart means also taking care of your heart. Limit your fat and eat more of the following:
- Skinless poultry
- Whole grains
- Egg whites
- Lean meats
Your doctor may recommend a specific diet for you. Follow all doctor recommendations. You want to maximize your chances for a quick recovery after hip replacement, and diet is one of the most important pieces of this puzzle.
Making Your Household Accessible
Before you go into your hip replacement surgery, make sure your house is prepared for your return. You will have limited mobility when you get home, so it’s vital that you are able to move around successfully and have help with housework and cooking.
Here are some tips to help prepare your home and yourself for after surgery:
- Have furniture moved, so you have plenty of room to walk with crutches or a walker
- Prepare a low bed so you can get in and out without much strain
- Have a comfortable sitting area picked out
- Move everything you will need to within a small radius around your sitting area
- Ensure you have caretakers to provide food for at least two weeks
- Put a chair in the bathtub for bathing
- Have someone available to run errands
- Have transportation available for future doctor visits
After your surgery, you will need help coming home from the hospital and helping with simple tasks. You will not be able to handle all the tasks on your own, so family or friends will be very important at this stage.
Is Gardening Possible After Hip Replacement Surgery?
Hip replacement surgery is something that begins to limit your daily activities, including gardening. It is a very impactful process that causes internal and external trauma to the body. This makes everyday life just a little bit more challenging.
It is possible to garden after hip replacement surgery. But an immediate return to growing your garden might be on hold until you are fully functional again. The complete recovery process takes a minimum of 6 months and can possibly take up to a year.
With today’s rehabilitation process, it is more practicable to get you and your garden back up and running in an efficient amount of time. Read on to learn why hip replacements are limiting and why gardening must be temporarily set aside, You’ll learn to know when you are ready to get back in the yard, and how gardening is actually a very beneficial hobby.
Why is a Hip Replacement Such a Big Deal?
Hip replacements are no joke, in fact, they are one of the most common surgeries in the geriatric community. However, it is not unheard of to have a hip replacement at a younger age. Some cases require you to stay in the hospital for a few days following, others allow you to be cleared for outpatient surgery. Regardless, the recovery process can be challenging for most due to all of the anatomical trauma that occurs during the operation.
There is a difference between immediate recovery and long-term, full recovery. Typically, the rehab process can take anywhere from four weeks to one year. This will depend on how quickly your body adapts and cooperates. The rehab process will most likely be enforced by your doctor for 4-6 weeks in order to establish a routine and guarantee a solid recovery back to normal.
Unfortunately, you will not be able to return to moderate or strenuous exercises or activities until as early as three months. In fact, it could be closer to six months for some patients. As gardening is considered a strenuous activity, your pots may not be filled until you are mobile again. To ensure you are on the right track to a full recovery, stay in frequent contact with your therapist. Have quarterly check-ups with your surgeon to monitor your progress appropriately.
Physical Activity is the Root of Gardening
As your ligaments and muscles are still proliferating and maturing, it will take some extra patience before feeling 100%. Once you have been cleared to return back to sports and exercise, you will begin growing and planting in no time. Unlike other traumatic procedures, this is a surgery that will allow you to return to physical activity.
People don’t tend to think of gardening as a strenuous activity. In fact, some people don’t even consider it to be exhausting at all. Don’t let gardening fool you, it is actually rated on the same charts as bicycling or walking.
Beginning a project to plant and grow your own beds requires high physical function for several reasons:
- It works for all major muscle groups. It is an activity that requires both the lower and upper body, nearly 600 muscles. Gardening will demand strength and flexibility, among other types of exercises. There are actions like lifting up heavy pots or bending over to pick up pounds of soil. These actions will require a majority of the muscles to be engaged and ready for action.
- It burns calories. Gardening is an exercise that requires a fair bit of movement, and any form of movement causes loss of calories. Consider all of the calories you will lose if it’s a hot summer day but remember to stay hydrated!
- It demands abnormal maneuvers and stretches. Digging holes, moving wheel barrels, pulling weeds, and kneeling on all fours will guarantee a fair bit of soreness for the next several days.
Gardening can seem like a light activity for the mind and body. However, it is a very strategic and time-consuming exercise that causes more physical movement than one might realize. It is an activity that needs to be placed on hold until the body is ready. You must be mentally and physically recovered from your hip replacement surgery.
How to Know When it’s Time for You to Return to Your Garden
As anxious as you will be to get back out in the soil, it is always good to make sure you are physically and mentally ready for activity. If you have been continuing with your hip rehab then you should be able to:
- Get on and off the toilet
- Dress yourself
If you are capable of performing these tasks, then you will feel as if you are ready to begin gardening again. If you are not able to manage these actions on your own, you might want to wait another week or two before getting back out there.
Traumatic surgeries impact each person differently. This is mostly based on the level of health or strength prior to surgery, and the length of healing time since the surgery was performed.
Take this into consideration when you feel you still have some minor limitations. Performing certain movements vary from each individual and each hip.
Along with limitations with certain movements, there are some exercises that should be limited regardless of the success in the rehab process. Typically between three and six months is when post-op patients will begin to attempt gardening tasks.
However, this can still come with restrictions on certain actions including:
- Bending over
- Lifting heavy objects
Because people underestimate this fatiguing activity, they are sometimes not prepared. Think about the risk factors of not being prepared for a basketball game or a round of golf? If you are not warmed up or have little insight on what you are getting into, you might not have the best luck in succeeding.
Getting Prepared to Return to Your Garden After Hip Replacement Surgery
It has been a long time coming since you’ve been able to spend a day in the dirt. We recommend making sure your body is prepared properly beforehand.
Some ways you can get ready for your day in the garden include:
Double Check with your Surgeon:
- We recommend you always ask your surgeon and therapist their thoughts on your progress levels prior to jumping back into a former hobby or sport.
Maximize your Mobility:
- Mobility is an indication of how well you move. Therefore, maximizing your mobility through strength, coordination, and body awareness will increase more than one aspect of your physical abilities.
Strengthen your Muscles:
- Ideally, this is already incorporated in your rehab program. Strengthening your surrounding muscles will aid in reducing the load of the joint.
Increase your Flexibility:
- Proper flexibility will ultimately lower your chances of injuring yourself. It will also improve your posture and your overall balance.
Improve your Balance:
- Walking on an unsteady landscape can be tricky for the newly healed hip. Be sure your balance is top-notch before getting back on the farm.
Protect your New Tissue:
- The tissue is one of the only things holding your new hip in place. Maintain a limited range of motion and increase as directed by your physical therapist.
Use Gardening Tools and Assisted Devices:
- Don’t be afraid to ask for a little help. Purchasing a planter’s stool, a foam knee pad, or raised flower beds will reduce the amount of pain and chances of reinjuring the hip or injuring another body part.
Be Aware of the Landscape:
- Keep an eye out for what type of land you will be walking on. Some gardens have sneaky holes or bumps that can put you at risk for a fall.
Visualize What you Wish to Accomplish:
- Think and plan out exactly what it is that you wish to achieve for the day. Determine how long it will take, and what actions will be required from you in order to complete the task. Allowing yourself to see and understand what needs to be done will let you tackle the job in the safest and efficient way.
Sometimes, once warmed up and feeling good, it is easy to get comfortable and try a few riskier things. Be sure to remember you just had hip surgery and try to avoid doing these things while out in the yard. Some activities you should avoid include::
- Not taking breaks
- Spending hours weeding
- Stooping over flower beds for long periods of time
- Being in one position continuously
- Using heavy tools or lifting heavy weight
Always listen to your body. If you are still recovering from hip replacement surgery then you will still be going through the healing process. Always carry a communication device with you such as a pendant alarm or a cell phone.
Ease Back Into It with New Gardening Options
We are guessing that you are itching to get back into this beloved activity, so let’s make sure it is done right. Whether you are planting in your kitchen, in your yard, or in your greenhouse, consider revamping your space for ultimate benefits.
To help you garden in a comfortable way, consider adjusting your habits by using new products. These include:
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A raised garden bed allows the body to experience minimal twists and contortions. This will allow both you and your flowers to remain healthy.
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Purchase a brand new hanging garden or simply refurbish a shoe organizer. This will guarantee comfort.
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Keeping all of your plants in one space makes it easier to minimize movement and energy. Tiered planting can be made simple for those softly returning to full-time gardening again.
Be Prepared Before You Start Planting Again
Now that you are ready and excited to return to your feel-good hobby, let’s make sure you are prepared properly. We have provided some assistive products to help make sure your time in the yard is nothing but comfortable.
- 360-degree adjustable seat and handle: Our steerable garden cart handle is adjustable for convenient...
- Durable material: Heavy duty and high durability metal construction with up to 310-lb weight...
- Non-slip wheels: 4 rubber wheels for easy movement. Each wheel is 10 inches in diameter and the...
For a hobby that puts a lot of stress on the back and lower body, this stool releases some of that pressure! It is a 360-degree swivel chair and a basket. An easily moveable stool, it could be beneficial for those that are still recovering from or are preparing for an upcoming surgery.
Make sure you are not overexerting yourself by bending over every few minutes to snag new weeds. Instead, snag this new weed remover. It is long enough to let you stand up straight while making your garden look more appealing!
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An adjustable rake is an excellent tool to have in the garage. With the options of 30” – 50” you will be able to scoop up all of the autumn leaves in the morning and clear out small flower beds in the afternoon.
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Refrain from standing on your tiptoes with an extendable lopper. This five stars rated tool makes those distant branches reachable.
Gardening is a Very Beneficial Activity
Gardening has many benefits, the main one being able to witness all of your hard work blossoming and thriving. However, there are many valuable traits that help the body directly, physically, and mentally.
Physical Benefits of Gardening:
- Strengthens Muscles: Strengthening the muscles allows for more strenuous activities to become less challenging. Gardening assists in strengthening muscles with exercises; like pulling a wheel barrel or lifting up heavy pots.
- Increases Flexibility: Being flexible allows for less pain and lowers the chance of injury. Gardening increases your flexibility through minor exercises such as bending over to prune roses or reaching up to pull down apples from a tree.
- Decreases Blood Pressure and Cholesterol Levels: Having lower blood pressure (BP) and cholesterol levels ultimately assist in lowering the chances of having a stroke or heart attack. Engaging in lower impact aerobic exercises, like mowing the lawn or raking the yard, can lower BP and cholesterol.
- Decreases Risk of Dementia: Gardening assists in lowering the chance of dementia. However, it also helps those already diagnosed. Planting and growing allow improvements in sleep, agitation, and cognition in already confirmed dementia patients.
- Exposure to Vitamin D: Also known as the ‘Sunshine Vitamin,’ an increase in Vitamin D comes easily with gardening. Having strong vitamin D levels can help fight diseases like diabetes and osteoporosis.
- Weight Loss: Any sort of movement or exercise always aid in weight loss. Losing weight will improve and prevent numerous health problems.
Mental Benefits of Gardening:
- Reduces Stress and Anxiety: Gardening helps in decreasing stress and anxiety because it requires one task to be done at a time. This allows the mind to be focused on one thing and one thing only. It keeps the mind honed in on one goal and deters the mind from wandering.
- Boosts Self Esteem: Not everyone is born with a green thumb, that’s a given. However, it becomes a significant boost in self-esteem to see your first flower bloom or eat your first cucumber. After all, it is all your practice and hard work that has produced those fresh buds. It always feels good to accomplish new tasks and to continue to succeed.
- Improves Overall Mood: Everyone tends to feel better after a long walk through a park or an arboretum. That is because nature and greens release a significant amount of feel-good chemicals to the brain such as dopamine and serotonin. Creating and enjoying your own botanical garden sends subtle reminders to you and your family to feel relaxed and refreshed throughout your busy life.
Gardening is a hobby that influences your brain to think more in-depth in these specific categories:
One of the first things you have to design is the layout of your garden. You then will implement it. That requires a clear and healthy mind to be able to organize and execute properly. This pastime has the ability to benefit so many aspects of your health. It is an exercise that keeps you in tune with your every step.
Let Us Be Thankful for Putting Our Health First
Occasionally it can be hard to focus on the positive aspects of life. This can especially occur when there are so many things that are holding us back from what we want to achieve. As much as you will be itching to get back out in the flower patch, try to remember that your hip is your top priority.
Thankfully, even if you miss the beginning of the season for fresh vegetables, there is still time to produce an efficient garden. You will always have a chance to grow an indoor cactus for the same effects and benefits, it just might not taste as good. Keep in mind that in order for your garden to be healthy, you must be first.
The Final Word
Hip replacement surgery has come a long way in the past few years, and recovery time has gotten much better. Following your doctor’s orders and maintaining a good diet along with exercise will go a long way to speeding up your recovery time. You should be back on your feet and enjoying your normal routine, pain-free, within just a few months.
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