Total Hip Replacement

Blogs, Hip, Blog, / By Winsen Citra

Recently, my mother went through total hip replacement because she suffers from osteoarthritis of the hip joint. She was resistant to do the procedure because of fear. After months of agonising with her pain, she finally agreed to the procedure. I recognised that the fear was caused by not knowing what the surgery is like and what the rehab process is. So, today I will share with you what total hip replacement is and what to expect after.

What is total hip replacement?

Like total knee replacement, total hip replacement is a procedure that switches out your worn out joint with a new prosthetic one. This is usually because there is some damage to the joint surfaces. Most commonly, osteoarthritis, a condition manifesting from wearing out of your joint cartilage, is the main reason why you would need a total hip replacement. Other times, it could be conditions such as avascular necrosis or damage relating to trauma may be the reason why you need one.

Types of total hip replacement

There are 2 main approaches to a hip replacement. It is all the same procedure, the difference is where your surgeon will make a cut to access the hip joint. This makes a difference in the type of movement restrictions you may have after the surgery.

  • The posterior approach – the surgeon will make a cut at your buttock muscle
  • The anterior approach – the surgeon will make a cut around the side near the front of your hip

Movement Precautions

There are movement precautions that you have to observe after the operation.

For posterior approach, these movements are contraindicated (do not do these):

  • Bending more than 90 degrees
  • Crossing your leg past your body’s midline
  • Rotating your leg in past midline

For anterior approach, these movements are contraindicated (do not do these):

  • Extending your leg excessively (no more than you need for walking normally)
  • Crossing your leg past your body’s midline
  • Rotating your leg out (sitting with your leg crossed)

We have put a short video for this, to make these precautions easier for you to understand. Please watch it.

The Rehab Process

Week 1 – 3

  • Weight bearing as tolerated
  • Walking with assistive device as needed
  • Muscle reactivation
  • Mobilising exercises

Week 4 – 6

  • Progressive strengthening exercises with resistance
  • Walking with no aids
  • resumption of routine activities

Week 7 – 12

  • You should be functioning fairly normally
  • Progression of strengthening exercises
  • low impact exercises / sports

So there you have it. Total hip replacement is a fairly safe procedure with very good outcomes. The rehabilitation will still take about 3 months to complete, but you should be painfree once the pain from the wound subsides. Hopefully, this has given you some insight as to what a total hip replacement is all about and help you make a decision!

Winsen Citra
Principal Physiotherapist

Winsen graduated from University of Melbourne in 2012. He worked in organisations of various sizes such as Singapore General Hospital, Pain Relief Practice, and Physioclinic before working at Elevate Physiotherapy. He specialises in sports and musculoskeletal injuries and has worked with athletes of various sports such as fencing, dancing, dragon boating, and cycling.

In his spare time he enjoys singing and playing chess.