Swelling is a natural response to trauma. When your body is injured, blood and fluids are brought to the area so that it swells up, which makes movement a little more difficult. That’s the idea, because if the body can help to restrict movement at the injury site, it can hopefully help to prevent additional trauma from more movement or stress.
So while swelling can be protective, all this static fluid in an area can actually slow the healing process. If you can work to limit swelling and protect the area from additional damage on your own, you can actually speed up your recovery. With that in mind, we want to share some tips for limiting swelling after hip replacement so that you can recover faster after the operation.
Reducing Swelling After Hip Replacement Surgery
Hip replacement is a major surgery, so no matter what you do, you’re not going to be able to prevent all swelling from occurring. In fact, even if you are proactive, odds are you’re going to have moderate to severe swelling in the hip region for the first few weeks after the operation. Mild to moderate swelling may persist for 3-6 months following the operation, but this is the time when swelling reduction techniques can be most effective. Here’s a look at some ways to control and reduce swelling after a hip replacement procedure, but always make sure you are staying in line with the recommendations provided by your treating physician.
- Elevate – Elevating your leg and hip within your movement restrictions can help use the power of gravity to bring fluid away from the hip area.
- Ice – Ice packs will come in very handy after your hip replacement operation. Cold packs help to constrict blood vessels so that fluid can’t as easily get to the injured site and contribute to excessive pooling in the area.
- Movement – Again, you want to be sure that you stick within your surgeon’s recommendations, but movement is great for helping to reduce swelling in the long term. Movement gets your heart pumping and improves circulation, which can help move fluids into and away from areas of your body. Even a simple movement like walking can really help prevent excessive fluid buildup in the hip area.
- Compression Socks – Compression stockings or compression socks can help open up blood vessels in the legs if your swelling is lower down in your body following hip replacement. Swelling can sometimes develop below the surgical site, so leg swelling is not uncommon following hip replacement.
- Anti-Inflammatory Medications – Anti-inflammatory medications are another helpful way to control swelling after hip replacement, but you don’t want medications to be your only form of swelling prevention. Anti-inflammatories work best when used in combination with other items on this list.
- Mind Your Diet – Finally, the food and liquids you put in your body after hip replacement surgery can contribute to swelling or help prevent and control it. Eating a healthy mix of foods can ensure your hip is getting the nutrients it needs to aid in healing, whereas foods high in fats or salt can lead to inflammation and fluid retention, making swelling more of a problem. Being mindful of your diet can also help you avoid gaining weight, which would put more stress on the recovering joint and may lead to additional swelling.
If you do all of these things, and you follow your surgeon’s care recommendations, we’re confident that you will be able to prevent excessive swelling and help speed up your recovery following hip replacement surgery. For more information, or for help with your hip or knee pain, reach out to Dr. Botero’s office today.