Rehabilitation and recovery
Before having surgery, you should consider assisted rehabilitation to help you return to life back at home. It’s important to note that payments for assisted rehabilitation services are your own financial responsibility. Rehabilitation hospital stay involves a number of different fees and charges. You need to check the fees and charges in advance and find out which ones are covered by your private health insurance policy.
In considering assisted rehabilitation, the following choices are available:
clinic located in the hospital (in- and out-patient)
rehabilitation hospital (in- and out-patient)
services in your home
services elsewhere (e.g. private physiotherapy practice).
Boyle Orthopaedics refers patients to a number of rehabilitation hospitals in Sydney including:
The Sydney Private Hospital (Ashfield)
Alwyn Rehabilitation Hospital (Strathfield)
Holroyd Private Hospital (Guildford)
Westmead Rehabilitation Hospital (Westmead)
St Luke's Care (Potts Point)
Wolper Jewish Hospital (Woollahra)
Hunters Hill Private Hospital (Hunters Hill)
Hirondelle Private Hospital (Chatswood)
Lady Davidson Private Hospital (Turramurra)
Mt Wilga Private Rehabilitation Hospital (Hornsby).
Feel free to discuss rehabilitation options with Dr Boyle. If you plan to use a rehabilitation hospital, you should visit the facility, if possible, and book your admission or out-patient service before your hip surgery.
Exercise and physiotherapy
Physiotherapy and strengthening exercises after joint surgery are important for recovery and regaining mobility. At the hospital, a physiotherapist will help you with exercises and give you a program to continue at home. Check with your physiotherapist whether it’s advisable to attend further rehabilitation sessions.
Minimising complications from surgery
Wound care and avoiding infection
Dr Boyle uses absorbable stitches which dissolve and do not need removal.
Your hip joint could become infected at any time after surgery. To avoid infection:
keep the wound as dry as possible until it has healed
watch for signs of infection, including increased pain, redness, swelling or warmth around the hip, and seek medical help immediately if you’re concerned
see your GP for any suspected urinary tract infection
take antibiotics before dental work or any medical procedure
you can apply Vitamin E or other moisturising cream once the wound has healed.
Avoiding hip dislocation
At home, you should continue your rehabilitation program and gradually return to normal activities. In the months following surgery, take special care to avoid hip dislocation.
Avoid falls by careful arrangement and navigation of your home environment, using aids as required.
Avoid certain body positions and movements including:
crossing your legs
bringing your knee up higher than your hip
bending at the waist more than a right angle (90˚)
twisting your body and turning your feet inward or outward
bending, squatting, reaching or stretching too far.
Resuming your normal activities
There are no precise times for resuming normal activities. The most important thing is to avoid placing stress on your new joint(s). Here are some general guidelines:
Self care Follow the occupational therapist’s advice on washing, bathing and dressing. Don’t attempt to get in and out of a bath for 6-12 weeks.
Sleeping positions Don't sleep on the side of your new hip or on your stomach. A pillow may be used to keep your hip in the proper alignment.
Sexual activity You can resume sexual activity as soon as you feel ready.
Driving In general, people are able to resume driving around 6 weeks after surgery. It's advisable to get the okay from your doctor before you resume driving.
Return to work You need to discuss your return to work with your employer. The timing is dependent on your work and working environment.
Air travel In general, you can travel by air:
after 2 weeks, if the flight is less than 4 hours
after 6 weeks, if the flight is more than 4 hours.
Check with Dr Boyle about any specific recommendations for your air travel.
Sport and exercise There are no precise times for resuming sport and exercise. Here are some general guidelines:
Hydrotherapy is an excellent activity after hip surgery. You can start hydrotherapy about 7 days after surgery, with a waterproof dressing.
Lower impact activities, such as walking, swimming, cycling, golf and bowling may be resumed once you feel ready, usually about 2-3 months after surgery.
Higher impact activities, such as running, basketball, football, squash risk early wear and tear on hip joints and also problems such as muscle tears and fractures. You should check with a specialist before resuming these activities.