Results after THR

Return to activities – routine, hobbies and sport

The hip function after replacement continues to improve for an average of six months. Ability to do fitness exercises and play sports activities gradually return during this period. It is good to listen to the body and hip and increase the physical activity accordingly. One should discuss with their surgeon and physiotherapists with regards to the activities they would like to return to and the timing to start those activities.

Gentle household work might be possible after 2 weeks. It could take good six weeks to return to routine all day to day work at home.

Following left hip replacement patients will be able start driving automatic cars in 2-4 weeks. If it is manual car or after right total hip replacement it could take between 4-6 weeks to drive. Public transport is better avoided for six weeks to avoid the risk of fall.

Patients can start desk job anytime once they feel able to if they are allowed to work from home. Light manual work will be possible after 6 weeks. Heavy manual work should be avoided for three months.

Walking distance will gradually improve. Better to do few short distance walks in a day rather than one long walk. After 6 weeks patients can increase their walking distance gradually.

Water based exercises can be started around three to four weeks after the hip replacement. In about 6 weeks patients can start gentle swimming. Breaststroke is safe to do.

Routine low impact fitness exercises like static bike exercises can be started around 4-6 weeks. Other low impact exercises like Yoga and Pilates can be started around 6 weeks post-surgery. Weight training should be gentle to start with. The intensity should be gradually increased after 12 weeks.

In about 3 months patients can think of playing golf. Sports activities like tennis, badminton and horse riding can start around this time.

Skiing is better delayed for six months.

There is no definite contraindication to running but is better avoided for six months at least.

Theoretically high impact exercises can wear out the joints earlier. If fractures happen around the hip replacement, then revision surgery might be needed which sometimes could be complicated. So, one must be careful if they are keen to participate in Sports activities that have high risk of fall.

Long term results

The long-term results depend on

  1. How well the surgery has been performed preserving muscle and ligament function.
  2. How well the patients hip anatomy such as soft tissue tension, leg length and orientation of prostheses in all three planes have been recreated.
  3. How well the prostheses have been secured to the bone.
  4. Long term results of prostheses that have been used.
  5. Patients’ commitment to rehabilitation and maintaining regular exercises.
  6. Prevention of complications such as fractures and infection. Patients should be careful while participating in activities that have high risk of fall. Any infection in any part of the body should be promptly and adequately treated to prevent infection spreading to the artificial joint.

Experimental studies have shown the modern hip prostheses can last very long time, but we have clinical data for 20 years on an average. National Joint Registry in the United Kingdom shows the hip prostheses continuing to function in more than 90 % of patients at 20 years. Case series studies have shown similar or slightly better results.