How to Increase the Life Expectancy of an Artificial Hip Replacement

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Exercise – but with Caution!

An artificial hip can allow a person to resume an active lifestyle. The pain and limitation of a damaged, arthritic hip joint can make physical activity and exercise painful and almost impossible. Artificial hip replacements have restored the quality of life, including the ability to resume an active lifestyle, to countless sufferers. However, to ensure a long lifespan of an artificial hip joint, high-impact activities should be avoided. Running, jogging, jumping, and all other forms of high-impact exercise should be avoided. These types of activities place a tremendous strain on an artificial hip joint and can lead to implant loosening, implant wear, and implant failure. Low-impact exercises such as walking, swimming, cycling, weight-lifting, and doubles tennis are great forms of exercise that are well-tolerated by artificial hip replacement recipients.

Keep Weight Normal

Excess bodyweight places an increased burden on an artificial hip joint and can lead to early implant wear and failure. Every step an overweight person takes dramatically increases the load placed on an artificial hip. For every 1 pound of extra body weight a person carries, the load across an artificial hip implant is increased 3 pounds on average. Carrying around a significant amount of extra body weight is hard enough on a normal set of hips but is greatly magnified when one or both hips are artificial. To ensure the longevity of an artificial hip implant, maintenance of a normal bodyweight is recommended. Proper diet, plenty of exercise, and a healthy overall lifestyle will benefit overall health as well as the life and functioning of an artificial hip replacement.

Keep Leg Muscles Strong

The muscles of the legs and to a lesser extent the buttocks act as shock absorbers for the knees and hips when a person walks. Every time a person’s foot hits the ground, the hips and knees are subject to tremendous bodyweight force. Strong leg muscles, both the rear leg muscles(hamstrings) and the front leg muscles(quadriceps) absorb a great deal of this bodyweight force and lessen the impact on the knees and hips. The stronger and more conditioned the leg muscles are, the greater their shock absorbing capacity. Leg lifts, machine leg curls and extensions, partial squats, and various Yoga poses are great ways to keep the leg muscles strong. Walking, cycling, and swimming are other great exercises that can contribute greatly to increased leg strength. The stronger and more conditioned a person’s leg muscles are, the less work an artificial hip replacement has to do!

Avoid Repetitive Squatting/Kneeling

Engaging in frequent squatting/kneeling positions place a tremendous load on an artificial hip and should be avoided. The range of motion involved in these positons coupled with a person’s bodyweight places tremendous strain throughout an artificial hip implant and can also cause an artificial hip to dislocate; a painful situation that necessitates a trip to the emergency room and the services of an orthopedic surgeon to manipulate the hip back into the socket. Occasionally squatting or kneeling should not pose much of a problem; performing these movements on a daily or frequent basis is not recommended and should be avoided. Again, any type of exercise, movement, or position that is extreme should be avoided to ensure the long-term health and functioning of an artificial hip implant.

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