All about disability – and the aids that can help.

Post Hip Surgery is Not a Time to be Taken Lying Down!

By Denise Watson

It’s hard to imagine, isn’t it? Your whole bone structure comes together to allow you to do what you do – sit, stretch, walk, run, work, play – and someone comes along and removes one of your hip bones.  We all the know the song ‘your hip bone’s connected to your thigh bone, your thigh bone’s connected to your knee bone, now hear the word of the Lord!’, so the thought of removing a link could lead to total collapse.

Okay, it had to be done and now you’re flat on your back – but not for long!  Post operative exercises are so important and start only days after surgery.  In the first two weeks, you’ll be looking at walking up to four hundred feet, with crutches or with human support.  You’ll be negotiating small kerbs and ramps and you’ll be resuming light duties (think laterally, those pans for cooking can be quite heavy so better to be waited on, rather than overdo it…) and carrying out post-operative exercises twice a day.

Keeping a steady routine will help you increase your strength and within four weeks you should be walking up to a quarter of mile.  Your doctor might say that you can now drive (that is, if you could before!) and being waited on should now be off the menu, since you will be able to carry out all household tasks. Weeks four to six will allow you to climb a few steps and, between weeks six and twelve, you should be able to walk up to one mile and, towards the twelfth week, resume gentle activities like bowling and dancing.

The Reality of Post-Hip Surgery Recovery.

It sounds easy on paper, doesn’t it?  But everyone’s circumstances are different so, as an example, what if you live alone?  While you’re travelling through the three months of building your strength and getting used to your new being, there will be things you can’t do.  We’re looking at simple everyday things like carrying a cup of tea, cleaning up or picking something off the floor and even putting on your shoes – need I go on?  Post operative, you have to abide by your medical professional’s guidelines of what you can and can’t do, as stepping out of line could cause your hip to dislocate and you could find yourself quickly back to square one. How far you bend is one of those movements that will come back in controlled degrees and you have to make sure you don’t overdo it too soon.

The Right Tools for the Job

This is where special aids come in: tools that will help you do what you can’t do momentarily, due to your weakened mobility.  These tools are invaluable and, after you’re fully recovered, they can still be of use in different ways.

As you potter around your own home, you might need to carry something in your hands, which isn’t going to be easy if you’re still trying to get used to walking. (home-helper trolley ) will not only allow you to carry things safely on its shelves but will also act as a walking frame at the same time.  When you don’t need its support any more, it could always act as a tea trolley or a plant stand.

As bending is something that will need to be practised carefully, a long-handled dustpan and brush will be musts, if you’re going to be as fully-independent as possible during your recuperation.  And aren’t these handy to us all, anyway?

And what about when you drop something and you want to pick it up?  Well, you could probably use the long-handled dustpan and brush to pick up some things but wouldn’t we all like a magnetic-tipped reacher, especially when something falls behind the fridge and the only option seems to be to pull the fridge out of its housing, so you can get behind?

Bending down to ease your shoes on could be a ‘no no’ during recovery, so a shoehorn comes in nicely, when you mustn’t do that movement and it teams up as a backscratcher (oh, the sheer bliss of it) as well.

Aids that are Special to Us All.

We all use special aids in some form or another to make tasks easier, so getting what’s right for you during hip surgery recovery makes sense.  Bearing in mind that ‘ball and socket’ hip joint that has been replaced, recuperation is a time when you definitely don’t want to get the ball rolling!

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