Recovery Exercises after Hip Surgery

Hip replacement is a serious procedure designed to reduce pain in the joints and increase mobility. Patients who have hip osteoarthritis or other conditions necessitating a replacement are often in serious amounts of pain that reduces their mobility. After the operation to replace the joint, your doctor will prescribe certain exercises to improve your mobility and increase your strength.

Muscle strength to prevent the bone from twisting out of the socket is very important for a healthy recovery and maintaining your health.

First Exercises

Oftentimes, the first exercises after hip surgery begin the day after the replacement. They often take place while you are still in the hospital bed. Blood clots are a serious concern after the operation, so ankle exercises are usually prescribed to increase blood flow and prevent clotting. Knee movement exercises are prescribed for the same reason.

Next Steps

Once the doctor clears you for weight bearing, some standing movements will be prescribed. These exercises will focus on moving your legs sideways and backwards to strengthen the muscles that control how the bone tracks in the socket. This is often when cycling is introduced into the treatment. A stationary or recumbent bike is often used for this purpose as it is low impact and doesn’t load much weight onto the leg.

Also, patients often work on walking backwards or small squats during this time period.

Two to Three Months Later

Depending on the circumstances, swimming and treadmill exercise is introduced at this step. Swimming is ideal exercise as it allows for movement through the ankles, knees, and hips while taking most of the weight off the muscle. Swimming is also great cardiovascular exercise which increases blood flow, helping to prevent clots.

Final Rehabilitation

Returning to recreational activities is the final stage of the post-operation rehabilitation. These might include activities you were engaging in before osteoarthritis pain reduced mobility.

Some Popular Activities

  • Running is possible after the operation but not for everyone. Research indicates that running is easiest for those who were running before the operation. As running is considered a high impact activity, you should always consult your doctor before engaging in this exercise.
  • Cycling is also another popular option. Cycling provides many of the same cardiovascular benefits as running while being lower impact. Cycling also reduces possible lateral motion in the hip, making it less likely that you will dislocate your hip. Dislocating the hip is a constant concern. Vehicle traffic while cycling is another serious concern. For this reason, many choose a stationary bicycle for this activity.
  • Swimming provides many of the same benefits as running or cycling while also being a very low impact activity. Also, swimming engages the entire body in a way that running and cycling do not.
  • Walking is one of the most common recreational activities. You should be mindful of uneven surfaces as unsure steps, and side to side motion can dislocate the hip. However, if you are careful and consult your doctor, walking has the potential to speed your recovery and maintain a healthy hip.