If you’re set to undergo a joint replacement procedure, you can expect that there will be at least some pain and discomfort in the immediate aftermath of the procedure as your body adjusts to the trauma of surgery. Newer techniques and advances in anesthesia and medication have made it much easier for patients and providers to manage pain following a joint replacement procedure, but know that not all discomfort will be eliminated.
With that in mind, we wanted to use today’s blog to talk a little bit more about your pain expectations and how you can successfully manage pain and discomfort after your hip replacement procedure.
What Pain Can I Expect After Hip Replacement Surgery?
Knowing what type of discomfort to expect can help you mentally and physically prepare for this discomfort, which actually serves to make this pain more manageable. So what type of pain can you expect following a hip replacement procedure?
For starters, you can expect to have some localized discomfort in the hip region. This is where the bulk of the operation is focused, and this will likely be where you’re the most sore in the immediate aftermath of surgery. Many patients also note some mild discomfort in their groin and upper thigh areas, which are also adjusting to the changes made during the hip replacement procedure. You can take solace in knowing that minor or mild discomfort in these areas is completely normal.
Some patients also report discomfort in their mid and lower thigh area, as well as in the knee following hip replacement surgery. This can occur if very subtle changes in leg length develop as a result of surgery. These can usually be controlled and alleviated with the help of physical therapy, which speaks to the importance of PT following a hip replacement procedure. Physical therapy is very important for improving function and helping to decrease pain as you work to recover after a hip replacement procedure. Your PT team can also help teach you how to sit, stand, get out of bed and more, improving your mobility and ensuring that movements aren’t painful or jeopardizing the integrity of your hip replacement procedure.
Pain and discomfort from the trauma of the surgery itself can vary from patient to patient, but most people say that discomfort alleviates within 2-4 weeks post-op. You’ll still have some discomfort as your body works to adjust to the new hip, but surgery pain should fade within 2-4 weeks.
Decreasing Pain After Hip Surgery
Aside from physical therapy, which as we mentioned above is one of the best ways to improve function and decrease pain as you recover from hip replacement, here’s a look at some other ways you can help to mitigate discomfort after a hip replacement procedure:
- OTC Medications – Some people have a high enough pain tolerance that they only require over-the-counter pain medications to offset discomfort while their body heals.
- Prescription Medications – Many people start with prescription strength medication and then work to quickly transition to OTC medications as pain levels taper off.
- Surgeon Choice – If you trust your operation to a skilled surgeon or one that specializes in minimally invasive techniques, you can limit the amount of trauma on soft tissues in the hip area, which helps to reduce pain and decrease recovery time.
Pain and discomfort are to be expected, but a top notch surgical team and a concentrated plan for managing it can make discomfort much more bearable. To learn how we’ll help mitigate discomfort after your hip replacement procedure, reach out to Dr. Botero and his team today.