Maria is one of the elderly clients we’ve been able to meet and work with at The Physio Co (TPC).
Maria needed a total hip replacement to help improve the pain she’d been having for years in her hip, leg and knee – all on the left side.
She had been preparing for her operation by working with her TPC Physio, Sandy, while she was on a long surgery waiting list. One day, just two weeks before the operation would happen, she heard from her surgeon that she was on – the operation was happening soon!
While Maria was naturally a bit apprehensive, as is the case with any operation, she was confident it would help her to walk with less pain and without a limp.
Despite the hip and leg pain, Maria had worked hard with Sandy over the past six months to keep her balance, coordination and muscle tone strong. The time had come for the op, and she was ready!
Preparing through group exercise
In the six months leading up to the operation, Maria saw Sandy three times a week and thoroughly looked forward to each session.
They walked together and Sandy treated her with therapeutic massage to encourage muscular relaxation so that Maria could manage the pain and continue to participate in physiotherapy (and life) prior to the operation.
Sandy encouraged Maria to continue the active and social lifestyle that kept her mobile, despite the pain.
Maria particularly looked forward to group exercise class once a week, where she and some of Sandy’s other clients sat together in chairs and went through a range of exercises to warm up before working on some upper and lower limb exercises for balance and strength.
Then they played a game with a ball or bean bags, throwing and catching to music to practise balance and core strength.
The exercises may have all been sitting down, but it took a lot of strength to lift and hold a leg up in the air when it’s already stiff and sore!
They’d finish every exercise class with some deep breathing exercises to cool down before stretching their arms and legs.
Then came the operation. It was a success, and Maria’s new hip was in!
The surgeon was happy with the operation, and Sandy started the rehab program on the surgeon’s recommendations.
Two days after the operation, Maria went to an in-patient rehabilitation ward for 10 days of recovery and rehab before returning home.
Once home, she started to see Sandy again. She was already walking by this stage with the help of a walking frame, thanks to the physios and occupational therapists at the rehab ward.
Back with Sandy, Maria was stiff and hesitant to move far for a start.
Sandy gently massaged the pain points to help the muscles relax around the new joint. This pain was very natural: the muscles often tense up to try and protect the new joint.
Strong medication helped Maria to manage the pain and work on those imperative exercises on muscles around the operation site.
The sessions with Sandy were a bit tricky and painful to start with, and Maria struggled to execute some of the harder strengthening exercises because her leg felt quite different.
The ‘pre-hab’ program she had worked so hard on prior to the operation stood her in good stead, and bit-by-bit with practise and encouragement from Sandy, Maria started to regain her strength and confidence.
Within three sessions together, Maria had re-learned the program and was able to manage an increase in repetitions on each exercise.
After four weeks, Maria was back walking 300-metre laps. The combination of physiotherapy, walking, group exercises and massage before the operation meant that Maria’s muscles were well prepared for what was ahead.
The preparation program also kept Maria’s body weight in a healthy range, reducing the load on her new joint.
After the operation, Maria was able to get the swelling down quickly and return to full strength in no time! The new hip and the work that Maria did with Sandy means that post-operation, she can stay mobile, safe and happy – and social!
- How can physio help with hip replacement recovery?
- 5 tips for successful total hip replacement recovery
- Life after total hip replacement surgery
To learn more about you, or your elderly Mum or Dad, can prepare for a forthcoming hip replacement operation, please feel free to contact one of our friendly physios here at The Physio Co.