What is hip physical therapy and rehabilitation?

If you're healing from hip surgery, you'll need physical therapy. If you have hip pain, physical therapy may help. A physical therapy program includes exercises that help you improve your hip function. The goal of physical therapy is to successfully move your hip joints so you can get back to daily life. 

If you've had hip surgery, physical therapy starts almost immediately after it. The exercise gets your joints moving. After you've been home from the hospital for a few days or weeks, you might go to a rehabilitation center for physical therapy. The exercises help you restore strength and range of motion in your hip. That way, you can move your body well again.

What to expect during hip physical therapy and rehabilitation

During the first session, your therapist will evaluate the following:

  • Strength
  • Functionality
  • Range of motion
  • Lower back movements
  • Gait (visual or video evaluation of your walking patterns)
  • Palpitation (feeling your body in different spots to find painful areas)

You may need physical therapy two to three times a week for a month or more. Your physical therapy program will focus on strengthening the tissues, bones and muscles around your hip joint. In addition to walking and other gentle weight-bearing exercises, you'll learn how to prevent blood clots. Other exercises and techniques you'll learn during physical therapy for hip conditions may include:

  • Arc quads
  • Heel slides
  • Hip flexion
  • Leg step-ups
  • Ball squeezes
  • Hip abduction and adduction 
You'll learn to safely get in and out of your car or a bathtub. You'll also learn how to tie your shoes comfortably so there's no stress on your hip. As pain and stiffness disappear, your therapist may give you permission to swim or ride a bike.

Common hip conditions that require physical therapy and rehabilitation

Hip replacement is one condition requiring physical therapy during rehabilitation. Other hip issues benefit from therapy, such as:
  • Bursitis
  • Hip fractures
  • Sports hernia
  • Snapping hip
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Dislocated hip
  • Vestibular disorders
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Osteitis pubis (inflammation)

Avoid carrying heavy objects. Limit your jumping and jogging when healing your hip. Any movement or activity that involves quick stops and starts can stress your hips.

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