Losing Your Limp Post Hip Replacement

By Tasha R Page

One the pain begins to go away post hip replacement and the cane or crutches are discarded one of the last visible clues of the surgery is the limp. Losing the limp can be a difficult process for a few reasons; typically an individual has spent years living in pain and favouring their bad hip, this means limping has become a habit that is hard to break. This is partly because the muscles have been trained to move in an unusual way and muscle memory makes it a hard habit to break. Habit aside, another reason it is difficult to lose the limp is that it takes time to build strength back in the operative side. Regaining strength is vital to the success of a hip replacement and to losing the limp for once and for all.

There are a few things that can be done post hip replacement to ensure success in regaining a balanced gait.

  1. Don’t be in a hurry to lose the crutches or cane. Crutches or a cane are tools that are used to train your gait, support your operative leg and rebuild your strength. By letting go of these tools too early you can be assured that you will be limping for longer, making it a hard habit to break.
  2. Start Slow when you are ready to ditch the crutches. Practice walking without them for short distances and have a family member or friend watch your gait. As soon as you get tired or start limping again it’s time to pick up the crutches. Doing a little more everyday will slowly break you in to walking without a limp.
  3. Do your exercises, every day, from the get go. Your physio won’t be giving you gait training exercises right away but they will give you some gentle strengthening exercises. These are essential to the success of your hip replacement and to ridding yourself of your limp.
  4. Once you are able, don’t avoid the stairs. Stairs are a great way to build strength and help you practice putting one foot in front of the other in a regulated way. Once you are able practicing on a step can build strength and confidence
  5. Get comfortable standing on one leg. Simple balancing exercises go a long way in eliminating your limp.
  6. Strength train (once you are ready). There are so many activities that are safe to do on your hip that will help rebuild muscle, strengthen your core, and assist you in becoming more comfortable and confident on your feet. Give cycling, kettle bell, or a low impact aerobics class a try.
  7. Concentrate. Once you are completely off the crutches it is important to remind yourself to keep your hips level and focus on not limping. This goes for any activity from walking to kettle bell class. It is really important to stay mindful.

And of course,

  • Listen to your body and rest when you are tired.

Tasha page is the owner and author of http://www.limitlesslemon.com – a blog that provides information and insight on living with osteoarthritis and total hip replacement while trying to stay fit and active.

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