After a rather long and colder winter, we welcome the warmer weather with open arms and gardening tools. The arrival of spring and summer gives us the opportunity to get our hands dirty, our flowers planted and our crops in the ground. This is a labor of love for most of us, but according to New Orleans orthopedic surgeon Dr. Richard Meyer, it can provide some challenges following hip replacement surgery.
Total hip replacement surgery is often performed to treat osteoarthritis of the hip when the patient is experiencing pain and/or limited function. For gardeners, this reduces their ability to stand, shovel, squat, bend or kneel to work the soil and tend to their plants, sometimes to the point where they can no longer continue.
Fall and winter are often convenient times to schedule your hip replacement surgery. One of the questions your New Orleans orthopedic surgeon fields most among patients during rehabilitation is: How do I know that I’m ready to resume my normal activities (such as gardening)?
It typically takes about three months for the incision to heal; therefore physical activity during this time period is limited to range of motion, stretching and strengthening that will be performed during physical therapy.
Maximum recovery and healing following total hip replacement is typically reached between 1 to 2 years. Three months after surgery, strength and flexibility have normally improved with rehabilitation to a point where most patients are able to walk comfortably without assistance, get in and out of chairs easily, and drive and run errands.
Resuming gardening tasks such as shoveling, walking over uneven surfaces, and squatting/bending to the ground will vary depending upon level of strength prior to surgery, level of health, and length of healing time since surgery. Your New Orleans orthopedic surgeon finds that between three and six months post-surgery most individuals begin attempting gardening tasks.
Returning to your garden and flowerbeds can be assisted with equipment (such as a planter’s stool) designed to improve your ability to get closer to the ground when strength and range of motion are limited.
Reasonable health, motivation, paying attention to body signs and time will allow you to return to gardening in a relatively short period of time following total hip replacement surgery by your New Orleans orthopedic surgeon.