Hip rehabilitation is an important part of recovery following any type of hip surgery or injury. Rehabilitation is usually necessary after a hip pinning or fixation, hip resurfacing, and total hip replacement procedures. Recommendations usually include heat and cold therapy, stretches, and muscle-building exercises. The type of injury or surgery will determine the best rehabilitation strategy. Consulting a physician for more information on the type of treatment is essential so that the hip rehabilitation does not cause further harm.
Heat and cold treatments are essential for those who experience pain or discomfort when completing hip exercises and stretches. Applying heat before beginning an exercise regime will help to loosen and relax the muscles around the hip joint so that the person can stretch deeper and begin to increase the hip's range of motion. Heat also helps to increase the flow of blood and oxygen to the area, which is beneficial for healing and pain management. If completing hip rehabilitation because of surgery, do not apply the heat directly against the incision mark. Once the person has completed the recommended exercises, he or she should apply cold packs to the joint and surrounding muscles to reduce the swelling or pain.
Hip rehabilitation will fail if the person does not perform stretches on a consistent, daily basis. Gaining back the range of motion the person may have loss due to an injury or surgical procedure, such as a hip replacement, is essential for being able to walk or perform daily activities with normalcy. Sometimes, rehabilitation exercises are begun on the day of surgery to prevent the joint from becoming stiff or frozen. Flexing the hip muscles, testing the range of motion of the hip joint, knee bends, and stretching the inner and outer thigh muscles are all common hip stretches. Standing exercises are also important to improve the person’s stability and ability to walk without the help of a crutch or walker.
Weight and muscle toning exercises are sometimes recommended to prevent muscle loss after surgery and to increase the stability of the muscles surrounding the injured hip joint. Leg raises and extensions will help to strengthen the quadriceps and buttocks. Resistance bands, ankle weights, and exercise balls can be used to increase the intensity of strength building exercises. Lunges and squats are sometimes incorporated into a person’s hip rehabilitation, but these should only be performed later in the healing process when the joint and surrounding muscles are stable and strong.