Every year in the United States, more than 300,000 people suffer from hip fractures, a serious type of fracture that usually requires surgery to repair. Hip joint surgery has advanced a lot in recent years, and today, patients enjoy a faster recovery period and a quicker return to normal activities.
At his Houston, Texas, practice, leading orthopedic surgeon Joshua D. Harris, MD, helps patients recover from hip fractures using state-of-the-art surgical techniques and innovative approaches to healing and rehabilitation. If hip surgery is in your future, here’s what you can expect afterward.
While some hip fractures can happen from sports injuries or car accidents, most occur as the result of a fall. Hip fractures are especially common among older people, and about three-quarters of hip fractures happen in women.
That’s primarily because older people — and women especially — tend to have less bone density, making bones weaker and more prone to fractures. As we age, balance problems become more common, and people taking multiple medications may also be more prone to falls and fractures.
Hip fractures can lead to complications, like additional loss of bone and muscle mass, bed sores, and even pneumonia. Treating your fracture promptly and adhering to your rehab plan are essential steps in avoiding these and other complications.
There are several techniques used to repair hip fractures, and the technique Dr. Harris recommends will depend on several factors, including:
Some fractures may be repaired using screws and other surgical hardware, while others require full or partial joint replacement.
Not surprisingly, the type of surgery you have will impact the recovery process. Generally, though, the steps toward healing are similar.
Physical therapy plays a vital role in recovery following hip fracture repair. Many people are surprised to learn that their therapy begins soon after their surgery — often the next day. During therapy, you’ll work closely with our therapist and Dr. Harris. They will work together to create a custom rehabilitation plan that’s designed specifically for your unique needs and healing responses.
Your therapist will also guide you on how to perform daily activities while protecting your hip during healing. That includes bathing, getting dressed, and using the toilet, as well as other activities.
It’s crucial to perform at-home exercises as prescribed and to contact our office or your therapist if you have any questions. Even minor delays in therapy can prolong your healing and recovery.
You’ll also be given medication to help with pain and antibiotics to prevent infections. Again, following Dr. Harris’ instructions is critical. If you find you have pain despite the medicines you’ve been prescribed, call the office — do not increase the dose on your own.
Initially, your activities will be curtailed, and you’ll need to have someone on hand to help with household chores, drive you to your doctor and therapy appointments, and run other errands. In some instances, you may be discharged to a rehab facility before heading home to receive more intensive, one-on-one therapy and care.
Healing from a hip fracture takes anywhere from six months to a year for most people. During that time, however, you’ll resume more and more activities as your hip joint recovers. Throughout the process, Dr. Harris and his team will be by your side, giving you the care, guidance, and support you need to make a full recovery.
Recovering from hip surgery takes time, but sticking to your rehabilitation plan can help you enjoy faster healing and restoration of joint function. To learn more about hip surgery and what you can expect during your recovery, call 713-441-8393 or book an appointment online with Dr. Joshua Harris today.