When Can I Return To Yoga Practice After A Hip Replacement?


June 14, 2022     hip | injury | pain | Yoga Research

Yoga practice after a hip replacement is possible

Research Study At A Glance

The Research Question Asked

When can experienced practitioners safely return to yoga practice after a hip replacement?

Type of Study

Observational study; also called a proof-of-concept study

Study Participants (Sample)

Sample size: 14 total participants

  • 79% female
  • Mean age was 54 years old
  • All participants were yoga practitioners and instructors
  • All participants received a total hip replacement

Methods

Researchers asked experienced yoga practitioners to report on their experience resuming 14 common yoga postures as part of their yoga practice, one year after a hip replacement.

Results

All of the patients resumed a yoga practice, including the 14 specific postures being evaluated, after their hip replacement. The average time that participants took to return to a yoga practice was two months.

Conclusion

It is possible for experienced yoga practitioners to safely resume yoga practice after a total hip replacement. However, there may be some specific things to be cautious with which vary with each patient’s individual situation.

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Background

A total hip replacement, technically called a total hip arthroplasty, is a common medical procedure. Older folks often elect to have this procedure when wear and tear on a hip joint have resulted in various conditions which cause considerable pain. Both older and younger people may need a hip replacement after an acute injury to the hip. That could happen from events such as a car accident or a fall during sports that causes a fracture or other trauma to the hip joint.

After undergoing a hip replacement, a common question for people to ask is: which activities can I resume doing with my new hip? People also want to know how soon they can resume those activities. One common activity that people ask about is how soon they can resume a yoga practice after a hip replacement. Yoga can involve extreme ranges of motion, although it certainly doesn’t have to. So, people are understandably concerned about if, when, and how they can resume a yoga practice after a hip replacement. This study explored that question.

Research question

When can experienced practitioners safely return to yoga practice after a hip replacement?

Research methods

Researchers in this study asked 14 experienced yoga practitioners to report on their experience with resuming their yoga practice after a hip replacement. All participants were yoga instructors as well as practitioners and had a total hip replacement. Participants included 11 women and three men, with a mean age of 54 years old. Five people had left side hip replacements, while four others had right hip replacements. And five people in the study had both hips replaced. The reason given for the hip replacements was osteoarthritis for 17 out of the total 19 hips replaced. The reason for the remaining two hip replacements was avascular necrosis.

All participants had their hip replacement surgery done by the same surgeon. Everyone also had the same type of hip replacement surgery, the direct anterior approach. The surgical team instructed all of the patients to wait at least 12 weeks after their surgery before resuming any yoga practice. The follow-up evaluation was done at least one-year post-surgery. Researchers then interviewed the yoga teachers at least one year after their hip replacement. They asked them if, and how soon, they were able to do 14 common yoga postures after recovering from their hip surgery.

The specific yoga postures that they evaluated included:

Results

All of the patients resumed a yoga practice at some point after their hip replacement. The average time that participants took to return to a yoga practice was two months. This was despite the doctor’s instructions to wait at least 12 weeks (about three months) before resuming yoga practice. All of the participants resumed practice of the 14 common poses evaluated to at least some degree. There was some variability in the ease and access in some of the poses after surgery, depending on the person.

Why is this relevant to yoga practitioners?

As more and more people take up a yoga practice, there will continue to be more people who need a hip replacement and then find they would like to resume their yoga practice. The yoga practitioners interviewed in this study were all also yoga instructors. As part of this study, they provided great advice based on their first-hand experience, for yoga practitioners who would like to resume yoga after a hip replacement. The study participants recommended things like beginning with more neutral yoga positions, rather than deeper ranges of motion. They also suggested going slowly, focusing more on stability than depth, and using props to support postures as needed. Much of their advice might be considered common sense, but it’s still good advice.

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Conclusion

A hip replacement doesn’t have to eliminate your yoga practice. Experienced practitioners found they could safely resume yoga practice after a hip replacement after a couple of months. Study participants stressed that it was important to go slowly and mindfully as they integrated yoga back into their bodies after surgery to avoid dislocation or injury.

Reference citation

Yun, A.G., M. Qutami, and E. Carles. 2021. Returning to yoga practice and teaching after total hip arthroplasty. Cureus. 13(9): e17669. DOI 10.7759/cureus.17669.

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