Everyone wants to come out of surgery being told that things went smoothly – but we’re not all so fortunate. After a routine hip replacement Elizabeth was left with nerve damage, causing her uncontrollable pain and a limp. Feeling worried, but not hopeless, she worked with her physician to get on the proper medication for her nerve related pain, but most of all she worked really hard throughout the rehabilitation process to learn how she could manage her pain and reach her goals.
As a young grandmother and retiree that enjoyed traveling, working out, and spending time with her husband, Elizabeth was determined to get back to feeling 100%. We’ve seen firsthand how determination can push a person farther than they’d ever dreamed possible – these make for some of the best PT cases.
The nerve damage that occurred in her surgical leg left her to walk with a limp as her hip was dropping when she put weight onto it. This is called a Trendelenburg gait abnormality. When we began treatment, Elizabeth was pleasantly surprised at how much control she actually had over her ability to walk more normal. She was very receptive when we took the time to really break down her walking pattern and educate her on the anatomy, the muscles and the ‘why’s’ of her abnormal patterns.
“Elizabeth’s main goal was to walk without a limp after hip replacement surgery, and I think she exceeded her expectations,” explained physical therapist, Terri Jeurink. “Elizabeth asked good questions so she could get a better understanding of what needed to be done. She was diligent with her exercises, and this made a huge difference.”
We’re happy to report that once her physical therapy treatment was complete, Elizabeth was able to successfully walk without a limp after hip replacement surgery! She is a great example of what hard work, the proper exercises, and physical therapy can do.
8 Exercises to Reduce A Limp After Hip Replacement Surgery
Sit in a chair with your hips and knees at 90°. Lift your left leg up, then lower back down. Repeat with right leg. Want a little more? After you lift your leg, straighten it out in front of you, then bend and lower back down.
Tighten your abs, maintaining a straight back step forward and press your hips forward. Keep your back leg straight and flex your front knee until you feel a stretch in the front side of your hip and thigh on your back leg. Hold for 30 seconds and repeat on the other side. Complete both sides 3 times.
Lean over a table or desk, bending at the hips. Bend your right knee slightly and lift your left leg off the floor as high as you comfortably can. Lower and repeat on the other side.
Stand with a straight posture, knees slightly bent. Move quickly to the left, then right with a quick push off. Bounce lightly from side to side. Keep toes pointing forward. To decrease intensity, walk from side to side without jumping.
Single Leg Stand
Stand on a firm surface with arms down at side. Lift one leg and balance on the other leg. Hold for 60 seconds, then switch sides and repeat.
Walk up then down a single step. To modify the intensity of this exercise try going slower or faster, or take an entire flight of stairs versus repeating a single step.
Complimentary Pre-Operative Assessments for Hip Surgery
If you have a hip replacement surgery in your future, consider a pre-operative assessment. There is no cost for the assessment, and statistics prove that recovery is faster and safer when you prepare in advance of your surgery. At the assessment you’ll be evaluated for muscle & joint strength, walking & balance abilities, and overall physical independence. Together, we’ll focus on creating a plan to shorten your healing time and get you back to normal activity safely after your operation. Request your complimentary pre-operative assessment here.
A limp after hip replacement surgery is not uncommon. If you have questions, or would like to set up a free consultation with a physical therapist, we’d be happy to help you!