Total Hip Replacement: Rehab Pilates

Surgery can be daunting. But there are two things that can help you get through it and come out stronger. And those are – a positive mindset and timely rehab with expert professionals. In this blog, we shall discuss how a 61-year-old woman got back on her feet and went for a hike 11 weeks post her total hip replacement surgery.

Total Hip Replacement

The hip is a ball-and-socket joint. The ball, at the top of your femur is called the femoral head. The socket, called the acetabulum, is a part of your pelvis. The ball moves in the socket, allowing your leg to rotate and move forward, backward, and sideways. In a healthy hip, soft tissue covers the ball and the socket to help them glide together smoothly. If this cartilage gets worn down or damaged, the bones scrape together and become rough. This condition, osteoarthritis causes pain and restricts motion. An arthritic hip can make it painful to walk or even to get in or out of a chair. It also makes your hip prone to fractures. Some people who are diabetic, might not feel the increasing pain in their hip and might suddenly be unable to walk. In these cases, often there is a hip fracture. If you have stiffness that restricts daily function, you might need to consult an orthopedic doctor to check if you need surgery.

There are three major types of hip replacement surgeries viz. total, partial, and hip resurfacing. The most common of these is the total hip replacement or total hip arthroplasty. In this surgery, worn-out or damaged sections of your hip are replaced with artificial implants. The socket is replaced with a durable plastic cup, which may or may not also include a titanium metal shell. The femoral head will be replaced with a ball made from ceramic or a metal alloy. The new ball is attached to a metal stem made of titanium or cobalt-chrome, that is inserted into the top of your femur.

hip replacement surgery rehab pilates


Rehab post hip replacement surgery

Full recovery takes between 4 to 10 weeks. However, rehabilitation begins within 24 hours after a hip surgery. Most patients progress to walking with a cane, walker, or crutches within a day or two after surgery. Physiotherapy is a must to regain daily functions.

There are multiple restrictions in movement post hip-replacement. And as rehab professionals, we avoid any movement that can cause further damage or pain. Rehab patients of hip surgery aren’t allowed to internally rotate their hip, to flex their legs at the hip more than 90 degrees or flex their knee to its maximum. Running, jumping and any high impact workout is strictly prohibited. Once your doctor gives a green signal, you should do rehab Pilates regain full mobility and strength.

Case Study

Camy Sanghvi, a choreographer, fell down while dancing. As a socially and physically active person, who also works out on daily basis, more than once sometimes, Camy wasn’t a stranger to injuries. However, this time she experienced excruciating pain. She was taken to the hospital immediately and diagnosed with a break in the head, neck, and shaft of the hip joint and advised surgery.

She underwent a 4-hour-long surgery, maintaining a positive mindset throughout. Five hours post her surgery, she could stand by her bedside using support. The next day she was able to climb a staircase and was sent home. She was advised to walk with an elbow crutch. The hospital physiotherapist made her do physiotherapy at home for 10 days, after which she came to Moushu’s Pilates studio @ Enliven in Mumbai and we told her to get rid of the crutch.

First, we taught her to walk correctly without a crutch and without going into any movement that causes pain. She was able to bear weight on both her legs within 2 weeks. As her muscles were already very conditioned and active due to her regular workouts pre-injury, her recovery was quick. However, there was certain sagging in the muscles, which gradually went away.

In 8 weeks, she was doing very well and wanted to push herself to heal completely as she had a trip planned with her best friends to Bali in 3 weeks. She was very brave and determined throughout her rehab journey, and that positive outlook made our work also much easier with Camy. Doing a group Pilates class, thrice a week, she accelerated her recovery and was able to make it for her trip. The greatest feat of it all was that she managed to complete a hike on her trip.


Check out the video below for the exercises that were done with Camy.

Written with Hemal Parikh

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