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Using a SwimEx Pool to Recover from Hip Replacement

April 24th, 2014
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Using Aqua Therapy for Hip Replacement Therapy

I recently had a patient that had multiple left hip surgeries due to a bone tumor and a total hip replacement.  Through rehab we were able to get her back to most functional tasks, but she was still having trouble getting in and out of the car due to weak hip flexion.  After numerous attempts at land therapy exercises, I finally convinced her to give our SwimEx a try.

We placed her in the pool and found that she was able to go through the entire range of hip flexion without any assistance, which she was unable to perform outside the pool.  We progressed the hip strengthening to include ankle weights to ensure that she was getting muscle fatigue by the end of each session.

After 3 appointments in the pool, we included a simulated transition of getting in and out of the car with the Swimex.  The patient was asked to sit on the bench and left her legs up and over to the other side.  This exercise was progressed with ankle weights and an increase in reps.  (figure 1)  In this case, the patient eventually was able to perform the movement on her own on a daily basis.  This exercise can be performed on the bench or on the stairs, if they are exposed.  (figure 2)

Without the use of the Swimex, I am not sure this would have been possible in the time period it was accomplished or at all.

This is a prime example of using the Swimex  to benefit our patients that have found the land exercises too difficult.  The Swimex is a great tool for the creative mind.  Break down the tasks that need to be accomplished and try it out in the pool! - Jaeson Kawadler DPT, CSCS

Fig. 1

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fig. 2

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