Exercises after hip replacement surgery

It is difficult to underestimate the power of rehabilitation. In many cases it is as equally important as the surgery itself. Orthopaedic surgeries are not an exception and we will describe the main exercises, which are indicated for patients, who have had a hip replacement. 

Your orthopaedic surgeon will give you the full information on the intensity, duration and number of repetitions. He might add or remove some exercises and we strongly recommend you discuss all matters with him before starting. This article is of a fact-finding nature and the final decision should always be following consultation with your doctor.

Early postoperative exercises 

These types of exercises aim to strengthen your muscles and improve hip movement, as well as help blood circulation to prevent blood clots. You can undertake them whenever you feel ready. This might happen even when you are on the ward following surgery.

– Ankle pumps and rotations. Push your foot up and down, rotate it. Repeat it as often as you can till your full recovery. The perfect regime might be 3-4 sessions per day.

– Supported knee bends. Try to bend your foot, keeping the heel on the bed. Hold this position for a couple of seconds and then straighten your leg. Repeat this exercises 10 times.

– Straight leg raises. Lift the straight leg several inches and hold this position for 5-10 seconds. Then lower your leg. Standing exercises should only be undertaken once you are allowed out of bed and feel comfortable. At the beginning you might need someone’s help, but soon you will perform the exercises on your own. You should always be supported with a firm surface, whether it is a chair or a wall.

– Knee raises. Lift the leg towards the chest and hold the position for a few seconds. Don’t raise it too high. The tension should be slight and comfortable.

– Hip abduction. Keeping your body and knee straight, lift your leg to the side. Then bring it back to the floor.

– Hip extensions. Keeping your back straight, lift your leg backwards and hold it for a couple of seconds.

It is recommended to repeat these exercises 3-4 times per day for a good result.

Light activities 

When you are out of bed and ready to complete simple tasks, you can dilute the exercises with light activities. There is no better way than

walking and you should use crutches or a walker. Consult your doctor to make sure how long you should walk for and what weight you should put on the leg. When you are able to walk for more than 10-15 minutes without any discomfort, you can use a single crutch and increase the load.

While walking pay attention to technique and don’t be in a hurry. Concentrate on the weight you put on the leg and complete all the moves smoothly. Pay additional attention to the step: you should touch the heel first, then flatten the foot.

All these exercises will speed up the recovery process only if they are approved by your orthopaedic surgeon and you clearly know the technique of their execution. Remember, it is better to ask the doctor again rather than doing the exercise if you are unsure.