Our daughter is having an arthroscopic procedure on her hip to find out what's causing her hip to hurt and lock up on her. We've been told she'll need crutches but we're not sure if this is a short-term thing or something she's going to need for a long time. In other words, should we purchase new crutches or borrow her cousin's old pair?
In the first few days to weeks after hip arthroscopic surgery, there is a need to protect the healing tissue while still maintaining hip motion. Patients are usually encouraged to get rid of the crutches within the first week, put as much weight on the foot as possible, and walk with a normal gait pattern (without limping). During the early postoperative days, the therapist will assess the muscles and look for reflex muscle inhibition. There is a well-known pattern of decreased muscle contraction of the gluteus medius (buttock) muscle in response to the surgery (and pain). The body's intent is to protect the leg but this phenomenon must be stopped before it interferes with movement. Using crutches to off-load the joint can help reduce reflex muscle inhibition. The length of time crutches are needed varies with the type of surgery that is done. Some procedures are more extensive and require a longer period of protective ambulation. Most of the time, borrowing crutches is a good idea because they won't be used for long. But check with your surgeon and find out what he or she can tell you about the post-operative protocol and expected length of time on crutches. That information will be helpful in making the decision to purchase or borrow.