The hip is a complex joint with remarkable versatility and function. Characterized as a ball and socket joint, the hip is stabilized principally by the bony structures supplemented by a series of ligaments and surrounded by strong muscular attachments. The hip joint provides significant structural stability both for not only upright weightbearing activities but also sitting and sedentary activities. Providing for balance to the body’s core, symmetry to the pelvis and associated with alignment of the lumbar spine, a healthy that joint has a much more extensive benefit then merely ambulating.
Although open incisions are required for total joint replacements and complex fracture surgery, arthroscopy has added another facet to our ability to return the hip to function. Repair of the labrum, removal of bone spurs and articular cartilage defects at times can be performed using small incisions, cameras and specialized equipment. Unlike the knee and shoulder, the bony support of the hip joint provides significant stability that makes the need for these arthroscopic surgeries less frequent. With time degenerative changes, and possibly fractures, however, may require more aggressive care including the possibility of a total hip joint replacement versus a partial hip replacement. Such surgeries have been performed for numerous decades with significant success returning people back to function!
HIP SURGERY RECOVERY
Given the complexity of the hip and surrounding musculature, recovery from surgery is dependent on the procedure performed. Local anesthetic blocks, pain medications, and ice are among the numerous tools used for post-operative pain control. Because of the structural stability of the hip joint itself, we frequently can mobilize and weight-bear rapidly. Although our goal is to regain mobility and strength in the long term, initial post-operative use of crutches or a walker is typical. Dr. Heinen will tell you when you can start walking. Sometimes hip dislocation precautions are required and appropriate instruction is given. Home exercises and formal physical therapy are utilized post operatively and will reinforce the rehabilitation process. Progressive strengthening and return to activities is the goal and expected outcome. Although hip fracture and arthroscopic surgery may require a period of nonweightbearing, joint replacement surgery frequently allows immediate weightbearing and a more rapid return to life activities.