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Ester Marsh column: Are you dealing with hip issues?

Are you dealing with hip issues? Maybe even need a hip replacement?

My mom has had both of her hips done and loves her new hips! She is the fitness queen — at 81, she still goes to her health club and does cardio, works out with weights, and finishes each workout with swimming laps. She would tell you if she doesn’t move, everything will get tighter and the range of motion will diminish quickly and she just doesn’t feel good not exercising. I agree! So if you have been diagnosed with hip problems, exercise can really help you prepare, prolong or even prevent surgery. My daughter Frankie has been challenged with hip issues since she has been in the army and was diagnosed with a bad tear in her hip labrum. After lots of physical therapy, shots and pain meds, they have decided to do the surgery in a couple of weeks. I am OK with that. She has exercised and done therapy, but she has been dealing with this over six months. Sometimes surgery is the only way to recover from an injury, overuse or degeneration. Communicate with your doctor. They can tell you what you can and what you can’t do. Once again, I never heard a doctor say “don’t exercise.”

If you have surgery, whether it’s a labrum repair or hip replacement, understand that physical therapy is a very important part of your recovery. Strength and flexibility exercises will be taught, and many of them need to be done at home on a daily basis.

If you don’t do the exercises every day, the surgery will not be as successful. Not doing your exercises can have impact on the scar tissue which will limit your movements if not properly exercised.

Early postoperative exercises after hip surgery/replacement:

• Ankle pumps: Slowly push foot up and down. Do this as often as every 5 or 10 minutes.

• Ankle rotations:  Move your ankle inward toward your other foot and then outward away from your other foot. Do this 5 times in each direction 3-4 times a day.

• Bed-supported knee bends: Slide your heel to your buttocks, bending your knee and keeping your heel on the bed. Do not let your knee roll inward. Ten times 3-4 times a day.

• Buttocks contractions: Tighten the butt muscles and hold for a count of 5 seconds.

• Abduction exercise: Slide your leg out to the side as far as you can and slide it back.

• Quadriceps: Tighten your thigh muscle. Try to straighten your knee. Hold 5-10 seconds.

• Straight leg raises: Tighten your thigh muscle with your knee fully straightened on the bed. As your thigh muscle tightens, lift your leg several inches of the bed. Hold 5-10 seconds. Slowly lower.

Exercises such a bicycle riding, climbing stairs, dancing, golf, hiking, swimming and walking are also very beneficial for a healthy hip (and body). High impact sports, such as running and heavy lifting, would not be recommended with hip issues or after hip surgery, at least not for a while. Make sure to check with your doctor and physical therapist if you are ready for those kind of exercises/sports.

So listen to your doctor, physical therapist and nurses. They really do know what is best for you.

Ester H Marsh, Associate executive Director JF Hurley YMCA

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