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Staying Healthy Post Hip Replacement (+How to Avoid Surgery)

Hip replacement surgeries can be a complex procedure with an extended period of recovery, so it’s important to understand the basics and have appropriate health insurance coverage.

Surgical procedures are just one of the many reasons why you need health insurance. The proper health insurance coverage ensures that you have optimal medical care and acts as a safety net in case of any medical emergencies. 

Health insurance coverage enables important preventive care that can help catch health issues earlier. Health insurance keeps your medical costs lower and helps protect you from financial catastrophe in case of an unexpected serious illness or emergency. It helps keep costs lower for all insured people.

This article will answer questions about hip replacement surgeries, the best insurance coverage for this kind of procedure, and positive lifestyle changes for a faster recovery.

The Basics of Hip Replacement Surgery

A hip replacement is necessary to repair damage to the hip joint, also known as the acetabulofemoral joint. The hip joint is formed by the meeting of the head of the femur (the large thigh bone) and the cavity in the pelvis known as the acetabulum. 

The hip is the second most mobile joint in the body and is a stable joint due to the large bones, large muscle groups, and the strong ligaments that surround the joint. The hip joint is important in standing, walking, running, climbing stairs, exercising the lower body, and many other daily activities. 

When sudden trauma or joint damage causes pain and interferes with mobility, it may be time to look into a hip replacement. A hip replacement procedure involves replacing the hip joint with a synthetic or artificial joint. This can be made from metal or plastic materials. 

Health Insurance Coverage for Hip Replacements

The best health insurance coverage for hip replacement surgeries should be a traditional insurance plan, which can either be offered as employer-sponsored or private coverage. A catastrophic or high-deductible plan may help cover some of the costs but could result in expensive medical bills. 

Employer-sponsored coverage means the employer pays part of the employee’s insurance premium costs and can include PPOs and HMOs. If you don’t have employer-sponsored coverage, you can purchase an individual or private insurance plan. 

If you do not have health insurance, any medical visits including surgery could result in large out-of-pocket medical bills. With all of the many options for health insurance coverage, there should be no reason you are without this important safety net. 

Causes of Hip Replacements

As we get older, we tend to lose bone mass and our joints become less resilient. Our bone mineral density decreases, we are more likely to experience osteoporosis (which can impact all aspects of life, including term life insurance rates), and some changes occur in the joint structure to make older adults more likely to need hip surgery. 

Cartilage is an important structural feature that helps protect the bones that meet at the hip joint. Cartilage can wear down as we get older and causes the bones in the joint to rub together, which can be painful. There is also less synovial fluid to lubricate joints as we age, which can create pain and inflammation. 

The hormone estrogen helps protect bones, but estrogen levels drop after women go through menopause, which can impact bone health. Women who have gone through menopause are more likely to develop osteoporosis (porous bones) and more likely to experience a fracture. 

A sudden fall can be traumatic and lead to a hip fracture. A hip replacement may be recommended to repair a hip fracture after an accident or fall.

When other treatments have not provided the necessary relief, it may be time to think about hip replacement surgery. When medication and therapy do not relieve pain and inflammation, a surgical procedure may be recommended. 

Preventing Hip Replacements

The best things to do to prevent hip replacement surgeries are to stay active and eat a healthy diet with plenty of protein, calcium, vitamin D, magnesium, and other nutrients. Avoid smoking and overconsumption of alcohol.

It’s important to participate in weight-bearing activities like walking and weight training. Add balance activities to your routine to improve your balance and stability. 

If you do not consume adequate amounts of calcium and vitamin D in your diet from dairy or other foods, you may be encouraged to take calcium and vitamin D supplements. Talk with your healthcare provider before starting a new supplement. 

Fall prevention strategies are also important. Use caution with certain environmental factors such as slippery surfaces, rugs, stairs, and objects on the floor. Clean up the clutter in your home to avoid tripping or slipping while walking through your home.

Hip Replacement Recovery

It can take anywhere from six weeks to six months to recover from hip replacement surgery. Many patients will see a great improvement in their daily activities within six weeks and most will be fully recovered by six months. 

Hospital stays depend on the severity of your hip replacement. Most patients can expect to stay just a few days. If your procedure was more complex or if there were any complications, this may prolong your hospital stay. You will likely work with a physical therapist or occupational therapist in the hospital, which will continue once you are home. 

Prepare your home before you leave for the hospital so it is ready for you to return post-surgery. Clear clutter, move throw rugs, install a shower chair, and place items you need most often (remote, books, keys, phone) by a comfortable chair. 

Use assistive devices like a walker, scooter, or cane when recommended. It’s also important to follow your healthcare provider’s advice and take all medications as prescribed. Manage swelling and inflammation according to your healthcare provider’s recommendations. 

Have a friend or family member available to come check on you. It can be helpful to have someone bring you groceries or help you with basic daily tasks while you are recovering. 

The Best Ways to Stay Healthy and Age Well

Staying active and participating in weight-bearing activities are two excellent ways to keep your bones strong. You should include walking, jogging, dancing, and weight training activities in your weekly exercise routine. Balance activities improve your stability and help prevent falls. 

Eat a healthy diet with a focus on fruits, vegetables, low-fat dairy, lean protein, whole grains, and plenty of nutrient-rich foods. Dairy products and many vegetables are a good source of calcium, which is important for strong bones. 

Socializing and managing stress are two other important ways to stay hip. Social connections and stress management strategies help improve your emotional and mental health, which can affect physical health. 

To keep bones strong, avoid tobacco and smoking. Those who use tobacco tend to have weaker bones. Limit alcohol consumption to moderate amounts because overconsumption of alcohol can have a negative effect on bone health. 

A hip replacement surgery doesn’t have to get you down for long. With some modifications to your environment and lifestyle, it can be easy to stay hip post hip replacement. 

 

About The Author : Melissa Morris writes and researches for the insurance comparison site, TheTruthAboutInsurance.com. She has a master of science degree in exercise science, is an ACSM