Narrator: Physical therapy is an important part of the rehabilitation process after hip replacement. The therapy usually starts soon after the surgery and continues for several weeks. E. Anthony Rankin, M.D.: Well, in physical therapy, they first resume walking. We get the patients up and the first walk is done in what’s called parallel bars.
Jeff Wright, P.T., A.T.C., C.S.C.S: Parallel bars are probably what we use almost immediately as soon as the patient is able to stand up. We would have that person start walking here kind of mimicking the gait cycle. We are going to go right leg then left leg, right leg then left leg. The bars themselves are being used to help balance and give the patient support.
Narrator: Mrs. Wilhelmina Banks physical therapy followed soon after her hip replacement surgery.
Wilhemina Banks: Following the surgery, I was hospitalized for three days and then I had physical therapy on that third day. The therapist walked in and said why you are using a walker and she took the walker away and this was on the eighth day after the surgery, which pleased me very much. So she taught me how to go up and down the stairs and even had me doing incline up and down the alley.
E. Anthony Rankin, M.D: We also work on what’s called range of motion, getting the joints restored to their normal movement. We work on strengthening the muscles about the joint.
Narrator: Stairs are used to help improve range of motion. Think “Up with the good and down with the bad,” meaning you should start going up with your good leg and then bring your operated leg up to meet it. Reverse the process going down the stairs. The stationery bicycle may also be used to help with range of motion and to accustom the new joint to weight-bearing activity. A walker, cane, or crutches may be used as part of physical therapy as well until your balance and strength return.
Thomas Calhoun, M.D.: I needed the crutches at that time to walk with. The therapist helped me to move from the crutches to a cane that first week and he sort of gently recommended that let’s not rush back now. Let’s give us another week at home. So we did. We stayed at home and the same thing was repeated for three weeks and after the third week I was able to drive.
Narrator: The physical therapist will also show you exercises you can continue to do on your own. Thomas Calhoun, M.D.: Once the therapist came in we generally had about an hour and 15 minutes or so of pretty rigorous therapy at home. And one of the things that we were encouraged to do is to continue the exercises ourselves several times a day after the therapist left.
Narrator: Once you have successfully completed your recovery, you should be able to resume your normal activities, no matter what your age.
E. Anthony Rankin, M.D.: A person that has successful hips which are the vast majority of patients can resume walking for exercise, they can resume tennis if they play tennis, golf, certainly cycling, swimming. Persons can return to their active lives that they had before the hip went bad.
Thomas Calhoun, M.D.: I anticipated since the surgery and having a new hip being able to get back to doing those things that I had been doing beforehand on a physical basis, specifically playing tennis.
Wilhemina Banks: I can dance. I love ballroom dancing and I love walking and I love shopping in the malls, and so these I guess are my three favorite things. It’s been a great life, believe me without pain.