PT eDigest

HipIs Anterior Superior? Hip Replacement Options

Patients may find recovery from a total hip replacement (THR) performed with the newer anterior (front) approach easier than that performed with the traditional posterior (back) approach. To reach your hip joint, the surgeon makes an incision in the front of your leg and separates muscles, rather than cutting and reattaching them, as would happen when the incision is made through the back of your hip, near the buttock.

The benefits of not cutting muscles during anterior THR include a shorter hospital stayless time using a cane or walker; and an easier, faster recovery. However, anterior surgery may not be appropriate in patients undergoing a second or third total hip replacement, are obese or are extremely muscular.

THR surgery requires rehabilitation. We can design a plan customized for your particular needs, including some of the following strengthening and range-of-motion (ROM) exercises:

  • Begin walking and engage in light activity the day of or the day after your surgery.
  • Exercise for 20 to 30 minutes several times a day to increase circulation to your legs and feet to prevent blood clots.
  • Hip extension gluteal set exercises, where you squeeze your buttocks together for five to 10 seconds without holding your breath, will strengthen muscles and improve hip movement.
  • Knee and hip flexion involves sliding your heel toward your body while lying down and holding it for 10 to 15 seconds; repeat 10 to 20 times.
  • Exercise your ankle by pointing your foot toward your nose and down again, holding each position for five to 10 seconds; repeat 15 to 20 times.
  • Use ice to reduce swelling and pain, and heat to loosen up the muscles and increase the hip’s ROM.

Anterior hip replacement therapy is a successful and safe operation. Long-term results, however, depend on your efforts to increase and maintain strength and flexibility. We can design an exercise program that can help you resume most of your activities and live an active and painless life.

Download the PTedigest for May 2014