There are 120,000 hip replacement surgeries performed each year in the United States. And according to New Orleans orthopedic surgeon Dr. Richard Meyer, the quickest way to recover from this surgery is to begin the rehabilitation process as soon as possible.
Often, the level of pain and the time it takes to heal has an impact on the ability to begin physical therapy. However, aquatic therapy might just be the first important step to recovery.
Your New Orleans orthopedic surgeon reports that aquatic therapy utilizes the physical properties of water to assist the hip replacement patient with healing and exercise. Fortunately, the pain associated with this type of surgery can be decreased or eliminated in water due to diminished weight bearing on the recovering hip and the soothing qualities of the warm water.
Another benefit of aquatic therapy is the flexibility provided by the water. While submerged in water, this assists in supporting the weight of the patient while decreasing the amount of weight on the recovering hip. By decreasing the amount of joint stress, it’s easier and typically less painful to perform basic beginning exercises.
The thickness of water also provides an excellent form of resistance that can be easily incorporated into this type of therapy exercise program. According to your New Orleans orthopedic surgeon, this resistance allows for muscle strengthening without the use of or need for weights.
This kind of strengthening also reduces stress on the muscles that protect the healing hip. Using resistance together with the water’s buoyancy allows a person to strengthen their various muscle groups with decreased joint stress that cannot be experienced while doing floor exercises alone.
Lastly, the warmth of the water used during aquatic therapy helps to relax muscles and open blood vessels, which increases blood flow to the healing hip and brings in new oxygen and nutrients, which helps expedite the healing time.
If you have had – or are considering – a hip replacement, consult with your New Orleans orthopedic surgeon Dr. Richard Meyer to see if aquatic therapy would be appropriate for you.