How Long After Hip Replacement Before Skiing? Skiing after a THR
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How Long After Hip Replacement Before Skiing?

Returning to skiing following Total Hip Replacement

Skiing is a popular winter sport with millions of enthusiasts around the world. If you have recently been treated with a hip replacement surgery or a total hip replacement (THR) ad you are soon going to have one, you might be pleased to hear that getting back to your favourite sport is possible. In fact, with the right precautions and a tailored rehabilitation program, you could hit the slopes again very soon.

What is a Total Hip Replacement surgery?

This is a surgical intervention that substitutes the two articular components of your hip joint, namely the acetabulum and the head of the femur. This procedure is normally proposed to patients with certain types of hip arthritis, certain types of joint inflammatory disorders, or for those who are suffering from long-standing hip pain that could not be resolved with physiotherapy. This surgery allows pain reduction, improved range of movement and increased quality of life.

Acute stage: 6 Weeks After Hip Replacement

The first weeks after surgery are dedicated to the reduction of pain and swelling and the general increase of a safe range of motion. At this stage, your safety will be paramount: hence, easy exercises in safe ranges of movement will be proposed. The goal is to stimulate muscle activation and prevent atrophy, whilst minimising the risks of dislocating the new implant. During this time, you will be progressed from walking with two crutches to one-crutch only and finally no crutches.

Sub-acute stage: 12 Weeks After Hip Replacement

At this stage, the focus will shift to increasing your muscle strength and endurance, whilst starting to keep an eye on those important muscles that guarantee stability during skiing: the quadriceps, the Gluteus Medius, the Gluteus Maximus, and the hamstrings. Your muscles will need to be strong to tolerate the loading imposed by skiing but also fatigue-resistant. A combination of balance exercises will also be implemented, with the idea of increasing movement complexity. You can normally cycle at this stage on a stationary bike to help build you leg strength.

Consolidation phase: 3 to 6 After Hip Replacement

At this stage, you will be able to walk pain-free with no compromises in your functional activities at home or outside. The focus of this phase will be to consolidate previous balance exercises, increase self-confidence and reduce fear about the exercises you will be challenged with. You should keep in mind that recovery from THR surgery is not only physical but also psychological! The ski-erg machine can be very helpful during this phase. 

Skiing After Hip Replacement: 6 Р9 months Hip Replacement 

Ideally, you should be able to get back to skiing after 9 months from your THR surgery. However, this is not an exact recipe as individuality will need to be taken into account, as well as your pre-operative level of fitness. The goal in this phase is to challenge your whole body with a wide range of exercises that will determine your readiness for enjoying the slopes safely. The major concern is of a signifcant fall cause damage to your total hip replacement as it can lead to complex revision surgery.

A general recommendation for when returning to skiing is to prefer long-range turns and possibly avoid steep slopes and moguls.

At Flawless Physio, we offer online consultations for as little as £40. These can be very helpful for reassurance and advice on returning to skiing.

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