Is it normal for my leg to swell?

Ankle and leg swelling is very common after a hip operation because the normal muscle pump in your leg is temporarily disturbed. The swelling tends to increase through the day and go down overnight because your leg is elevated.

Maintaining your ankle exercises, walking regularly and avoiding standing or sitting for long periods will help prevent or reduce the swelling. In addition, lie flat on your bed for an hour during the day with pillows supporting your thigh and lower leg. Having your foot slightly higher than your hip and heart helps the fluid drain from your foot.

Why is my scar still tender?

Small nerves in the skin and deeper tissues are affected by the surgery and cause the tenderness around your scar. As these tissues heal, the tenderness will improve with time. Gentle massage of the area can help, once the incision is healed. You may also notice a small area of numbness which diminishes with time but may always be present to a small degree.

Why do I stiffen up?

The muscles and other deeper tissues affected by the hip replacement take several months to heal and so can feel stiff, this is most noticeable when you take the first few steps after sitting for a while. Over time you will notice this less and less.

When should I stop using a stick?

This varies with each person. Some people feel able to stop using their crutches or stick within a few weeks of the operation (unless advised otherwise by their surgeon), others may need to use a walking aid permanently if they have other joint problems.

As a general rule you can stop using a walking aid once you can walk comfortably without it and do not limp. If you do limp, keep using a walking aid as you will walk better and without stressing your hip and other joints. A folding stick or walking pole can be helpful to use at the end of a long walk or hike when your muscles feel tired.

When can I put my sock on?

Unless you are told otherwise by your surgeon, you will need to use a helping hand or sock aid to put on your lower garments for the first 6 weeks following surgery. You may reach down to your feet after this time provided you do it safely (see section on avoiding dislocation)

Where can I return my walking aids?

Please hand back crutches, walking frames and sticks to the Hospital

Will I set off the security scanner alarm at the airport?

The metal in your hip replacement can set off the security scanner at the airport. Although you will have to comply with all security procedures, we can provide you with a business card to help verify that you have had surgery. Contact the Aftercare department to request a card (01392 403509).

Will I need a review appointment?

We will arrange to see you six to eight weeks after your operation to check your progress and answer any questions you may have. This outpatient appointment is usually with the senior physiotherapists who work with the hip surgeons.

After this we may contact you periodically for a routine check up and X-ray, however you are welcome to contact us at anytime if you have any concerns or questions.

Facts

Fact file

  • Hip joint replacement, or arthroplasty, is one of the most successful surgical procedures ever, characterised by a high success rate and long-term benefits
  • Hip arthroplasty is most often used when conditions like arthritis have damaged the joint between the femur (thigh bone) and pelvis
  • Arthritis wears away cartilage protecting the ends of the bone, causing severe pain and loss of function. Arthroplasty (joint replacement) is a technique to replace the damaged joint by using artificial materials such as plastics, metals or ceramic
  • There are approximately 160,000 primary hip replacements performed in the UK per year
  • Some patients have both hips replaced
  • Arthroplasty is most commonly used in the elderly, although many younger patients are also benefiting from various procedures today
  • Artificial hips can have a life of over 20 years and often last for the remainder of the lives of their elderly recipients
  • A simple primary operation to replace a hip usually takes between one and one-and-a-half hours
  • Improved mobility is noticeable within a few days of the operation
  • Use of crutches may be required for up to six weeks after the ¬†Operation

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