There was a time when hip surgery meant a long, protracted recovery, followed by pretty significant changes in your activity level. But today, advances in surgical technology enable patients to recover faster and get back to many of the activities they love.
As a leading orthopedic surgeon in Houston, Texas, Joshua D. Harris, MD, is skilled in state-of-the-art hip surgery techniques, including arthroscopic and open hip preservation surgeries. If hip surgery is in your future, here’s what you can expect during your recovery and beyond.
Hip preservation surgery
The last couple of decades have brought about some significant changes for patients with chronic hip pain. While persistent symptoms used to mean total joint replacement with large incisions, today many patients benefit from minimally-invasive arthroscopic surgery to restore or preserve their natural hip joint.
The number of people undergoing minimally invasive hip arthroscopy surgeries to preserve hip health has grown dramatically in recent years. Dr. Harris offers several options to preserve hip health and restore joint function, including treatments to:
- Repair labral tears
- Correct hip impingement (cam, pincer, subspine)
- Correct ischiofemoral impingement
- Remove bone spurs and loose bodies
- Restore joint surfaces
- Repair and restore damaged cartilage
- Repair torn tendons around the hip - hamstring, gluteal tendons
- Perform corrective osteotomies to normalize femur (thigh bone) alignment and rotation
Preservation procedures use tiny incisions and special instruments to reduce tissue damage and postoperative swelling.
While preservation surgery can be an excellent choice for many people with mild to moderate joint issues, hip replacement surgery is still recommended for most patients with severe hip damage, including people with advanced arthritis.
Life after hip surgery
For a few weeks after surgery, your activity will be somewhat limited to allow your joint to heal and recover. You’ll need to use crutches initially to provide your hip with extra support for a couple of weeks. A moderate amount of walking is usually encouraged to support healing and prevent joint stiffness and circulation issues.
No matter what type of hip surgery you have, physical therapy will play a critical role in your recovery. Regular therapy sessions work in multiple ways to speed healing, strengthen the muscles that surround the joint, and restore joint movement and function.
Exercises, stretches, and strength-building activities will focus on your end goals, as well as your body’s healing responses. One of the biggest benefits of post-surgery therapy is the ability to customize each patient’s activities to suit their needs and goals.
After therapy, many patients resume most of their normal activities. Depending on what caused your hip problem, Dr. Harris may recommend focusing on activities like walking, biking, and swimming, while avoiding high-impact activities like running and tennis, for instance.
Preventing future hip problems
Many joint-related problems are progressive, which means if you delay treatment, the underlying issue can worsen — sometimes a lot worse. The key to preventing future joint damage is to see Dr. Harris when you first notice symptoms like pain or stiffness. Early intervention can focus on preserving your hip joint and, ideally, avoiding or delaying total joint replacement surgery.
If you’re having hip pain, stiffness, or “sticking” or clicking sensations in your hips, take the next step toward better hip health. Call the office or book an appointment online to learn how Dr. Harris can help you.