Recovering from surgery or an injury requires a lot more than just “resting up.” We have to change the way we move and live to take the pressure off of our recovering joint. That takes practice. To help get you started, we wrote a list of tips to help you lessen your pain and maximize your comfort.
Read to the bottom to make sure you know everything you need!
#1: When Using Crutches, Put the Pressure On Your Hands
If you’re using only one crutch, the correct side for it to be on is your operated hip’s side. Push down with your hands to take the crutch’s pressure off your armpit. If you’re doing it correctly, you should only be lightly pressing the cushion with your armpit.
When going upstairs, lift your body with your working hip while using your crutch for balance and support on the other side of your body. Place your working leg on the upper step, then lift the rest of your body up slowly.
When going downstairs, place your crutch and recovering leg on the lower step first. Then, leaning on your crutch, slowly place your working leg onto the lower stair. Repeat until you’re downstairs.
#2: Sit at a Wide Angle to Lessen Pain
When sitting at a table or on a stool, sit forward so that your knees are below your hips. If you want to sit on a cushioned surface, make sure it’s a recliner—and make sure the recliner goes forward enough so you don’t need to move your hips to stand up.
#3: Don’t Sit On Low, Cushioned Surfaces
This is the inverted advice to tip #2. As much as you love your big, cushy couch, you’ll want to keep your knees as far from your chest as humanly possible. Sitting on a low and cushioned surface all but guarantees you’ll need to do a deep squat to get up again.
Aside from being painful, getting up from a low seat will stress muscles that need to rest.
#4: Avoid Exercises That Push Your Knee or Leg Toward Your Chest
Any exercises that require leg lifts, knee bends, lunges, or squats need to be avoided. There is a way to safely exercise while recovering from hip exercises—but in this case, skip the leg exercise for a few weeks. This tip also includes any abdominal exercise that requires leg lifts as well.
#5: If It Hurts, Stop Doing It (Listen to Your Body)
This is general advice, since all of our bodies are different—listen to what your body is saying. Pain is not “weakness leaving the body,” it’s your body warning you of your limits. A lot of patients (namely men) think that pushing through the pain will help them recover faster.
If your professionally-trained physical therapist is asking you to push through the pain, go for it.
If you’re pushing through the pain because you think it makes you tougher, please go back to bed.
#6: When Getting Out of Bed, Put the Recovering Hip On Top
If you don’t want to jolt yourself awake with pain first thing in the morning, make sure you get up slowly while resting your recovering leg on top of your working leg. That way, as you get up your hip muscles won’t engage until the very last moment (when you feet are already on the ground).
Throughout your entire recovery, it’s important to remember: healing is a process. You’ll need to take it slow and gradually work your way back to full mobility. As long as you remember that it’s a process, you’ll reach full mobility sooner than if you try to rush it.
Schedule a visit with Orthopaedic Specialty Group today! Our orthopaedic specialists in Fairfield County take appointments in seven locations throughout the region—find the nearest one here!