Can Pilates Help Before and After Surgery?
A hip replacement is a surgical procedure where the damaged parts of a hip joint are removed and replaced with specialized man-made parts. Many people who receive hip replacement surgery have experienced trauma to the hip or a form of arthritis that causes pain and stiffness, interfering with their ability to perform activities of daily life. The objective of a hip replacement is to relieve pain, improve mobility, and restore function, so walking and other activities feel easier.
If you are experiencing chronic hip pain and think you might be eligible for a hip replacement, you should see your doctor for a diagnosis and treatment options. Your doctor will be able to refer you to the appropriate specialist, who can help you determine what type of hip replacement is best for you. Currently, there are several hip replacement devices and surgical options to choose from. Your age, lifestyle, and diagnosis will influence what type of hip replacement you receive.
Preparing for a hip replacement
If you are planning to have a hip replacement, it is beneficial to be informed about what to expect before and after surgery. This will assist you in preparing for your surgery and can contribute to a positive surgical outcome. This can also help other members of your health team, including your Pilates instructor, better serve you.
What to expect after hip replacement surgery
According to the National Institutes of Health (2016), most people leave the hospital one to four days after surgery and are able to sit, stand or walk with assistance one to two days after their procedure.
The incision site of a hip replacement is closed with staples. According to the University of California Medical Center, the staples will be removed approximately 14 days after the surgery. It is recommended that you avoid showering until 48 hours after your staples are removed.
You can expect to start physical therapy within the first 24 hours after surgery. While you should consult your doctor, most people are able to resume exercise six weeks after surgery.
Some questions to ask your doctor, include:
What type of hip replacement would you recommend to best fit my lifestyle?
Are there any activities or movements that I should avoid after my surgery and how long should I avoid them for?
Will I have any physical limitations after my surgery that I should expect and plan for?
After my surgery, how long do I need to wait before starting or resuming an exercise program?
What can I expect the recovery process to look like and how long will it take?
If I have questions before or after surgery, who is the best person to direct them towards?
Would you be open to communicating with other members of my health team about the best ways for me to prepare for and recover from my surgery?
How can Pilates help beyond Physical Therapy?
Physical therapy is an important part of the rehabilitation process. It ensures that your hip is functioning well and has full range of motion. However, it’s not uncommon to feel like you’re not completely recovered even after finishing physical therapy. A therapeutic Pilates program can help bridge the gap between physical therapy and the activities that you aspire to do.
It is important to seek out an instructor who has therapeutic Pilates experience. Pilates was designed for recovery, however it is important that the instructor has worked with clients that have joint replacements. There are contradictions and safe exercises that will need to be considered to create a program that is designed specifically for you.
“When I first work with clients,” adds Trent McEntire with more than 20 years of Therapeutic Pilates experience, “I want to learn pertinent information that will help assess and build the right program. What type of hip replacement? What caused the hip replacement? Was it wear and tear of the joint caused by arthritis, repetitive work, or possibly an accident? Are the joints above and below the hip aligned or experiencing any stress? Assessing a client’s situation through a Pilates lens allows for viewing the body as a connected chain. If an area or areas of the body have been injured, it is common to see that the body is experiencing additional alignment issues along the chain.”
Director, McEntire Pilates BFA, PMA-CP
What benefits will I experience from Pilates?
The right therapeutic Pilates program offers several health benefits including:
Correcting alignment of the joints to help the body recover.
Newfound body awareness and education to avoid further injury.
Increasing muscle strength and flexibility around the joints to support proper movement.
Building healthy movement patterns that will help the body move more efficiently.
The long-term health benefits of practicing Pilates are life altering. Many of our clients find practicing Pilates allows them to get beyond recovery and back to doing the activities they enjoy in their life.
Hip Replacement Surgery. The National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases. https://www.niams.nih.gov/health-topics/hip-replacement-surgery/advanced#tab-risk-factors
Recovering from Hip Replacement Surgery. University of California San Francisco. https://www.ucsfhealth.org/education/recovering_from_hip_replacement_surgery/