Houston Methodist. Leading Medicine



My father had a hip replacement six months ago. He's still not doing the things he likes to do. For example, he can't go downtown and have breakfast with his buddies because he doesn't think he can get across the street fast enough. What can we (the family) do to help him?


Sometimes family support can make all the difference in the world. Studies show that a walking speed of 72 meters per minute is needed to cross the street safely at a traffic light. That's about 90 yards or the length of a football field.

It might be helpful to see how far he can walk and how long it takes him to go 90 yards. If he can walk that distance within 60 seconds he shouldn't have any trouble crossing an intersection.

You may want to take him on a trial run. Having someone to walk with who can help navigate the intersection can be very helpful. Some people carry a cane with them when walking alone. Even if they don't need it, oncoming traffic will slow down when they see a person using a cane.

Ask him about his daily exercise program. Is he still doing the exercises he was given during rehab? Research is showing patients with hip replacements do better if they continue their exercises up to two years after the surgery.

Mei-Hwa Jan, MS, et al. Effects of a Home Program on Strength, Walking Speed, and Function After Total Hip Replacement. In Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation. December 2004. Vol. 85. No. 12. Pp. 1943-1951.

*Disclaimer:* The information contained herein is compiled from a variety of sources. It may not be complete or timely. It does not cover all diseases, physical conditions, ailments or treatments. The information should NOT be used in place of visit with your healthcare provider, nor should you disregard the advice of your health care provider because of any information you read in this topic.
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