Have you recently gone through a hip replacement and found yourself in the recovery stage? Or, maybe you’re scheduled for hip surgery and are worried about how long it will take to get back to normal. A hip replacement is considered major surgery. It can involve severe joint pain, besides leg stiffness and swelling.
If you’re in the middle of hip replacement recovery (or planning on how to best recover quickly) consider aquatic exercises as part of in your rehab program. Here are some of the benefits of water therapy for hip replacement recovery, along with some basic pool exercises.
Recovering from hip surgery: benefits of aquatic exercise
One of the main perks of aquatic exercises is that you don’t have to worry about falling. This is especially important for people who needed a hip replacement because of a fall. If this is the case, physical therapy can be more intimidating as you overcome your fear of falling. Working out in water gives you more confidence, so you can push yourself to do the movements and stretches that help your muscles to heal.
As a result, your recovery from hip surgery can be sooner rather than later.
Another benefit to a water-based recovery is a reduction in joint stress. Water offers more buoyancy than exercising on land, so there’s not as much stress on the healing joints. Plus, your body is more mobile.
Decreased swelling is a major benefit of aquatic therapy. The low resistance of water not only reduces the amount of pressure on joints, but it also promotes better circulation. This results in less inflammation and increased joint mobility. What’s more, as blood flow improves, scar tissue is reduced.
Aquatic exercises for hip replacement recovery
Swimming is one the best aquatic exercises for people who are recovering from a hip replacement. If you’re a good swimmer, try swimming a couple of laps. After feeling comfortable doing this, gradually increase your laps. If your swimming skills aren’t that strong, use a kick board that floats to do freestyle kicks.
Curls and stretches are also excellent aquatic exercises for hip flexibility. Stay in water above your head and grab onto an edge of the swimming pool, using both hands. Then, after curling up your knees toward your chest, keep them held there for five seconds. Next, straighten your knees and legs, while pointing your toes. Repeat this exercise at least ten times.
Flutter kicks also help in hip strengthening. Use your hands to hold on to an edge of the pool and extend your feet toward the middle of the pool. Just as if you were swimming, do flutter kicks, using your legs. Raising your feet about 18 inches to 2 feet high, continue kicking for a little over a minute. If you feel tired, take short breaks. You could also flip over on your back and do flutter kicks, which is like doing the backstroke.
Walking and jogging in water is exceptionally beneficial. You won’t be able to run on land after hip surgery, but you can easily walk or even gently jog in a pool. In fact, walking and jogging in water is extremely helpful in giving you the resistance you need to properly exercise your new hip. Begin by walking forward and then backward in pool water that’s chest or waist-high. As you feel more confident, increase your speed.
Considerations and warnings
- Consider the type of hip surgery you’ve had. For example, an anterior hip replacement is different from a posterior hip procedure. An anterior hip replacement doesn’t have as many restrictions and recovery time is shorter.
- To warm up in the water, walk in waist-deep water. This can help you move without having to place full weight on the hip joints.
- Always check with your surgeon and/or physical therapist before starting any type of exercise program.
- Flotation aids are ideal for increasing mobility, making the surface of water more buoyant. But for resistance work, use them under the surface.
- Begin cautiously, doing only 10 to 20-minute sessions, noting any after-effects.
When you have your own pool, you can exercise more frequently and recover even quicker from surgery. Why not join the increasing number of homeowners who are benefiting from a Renaissance pool. Swimming pool prices aren’t as high as you’d expect. Come by our showroom to see our wide selection of fiberglass pools and Bullfrog hot tubs.