After Hip Surgery


Rehabilitation and exercises after Hip surgery

The goal of these exercises is to strength and improve range of motion of the thigh muscles. This range allows performing routine operations such as walking, going up and down stairs.

Each exercise should be repeated several times until you feel some tiredness in your muscle. As you get stronger, you can add more repetitions or sets, continuing to use muscle tiredness as your guideline

Days 1-3: Exercises performed at least twice per day for about 15 minutes

1. Ankle Pumping

  • Lying on your back or sitting up in bed, move your ankles up and down as far as possible while keeping your legs straight.
  • You may also move your ankles in circles.
  • This should be performed every hour that you are awake, pumping each ankle 20 times.
  • *If you keep your knee straight during this exercise you will feel a stretch in your calf muscles.

2. Passive Quad Muscle Setting

  • Lie on your back with your leg straight and toes pointed up to the ceiling.
  • Tighten your thigh muscles by pushing the back of your knee down into the bed.
  • Hold desired position for 5 seconds before releasing
  • Repeat 10 times

3. Buttock Muscle Setting

  • Lie on your back or sit in a reclined position in bed
  • Squeeze your buttocks together.
  • Hold desired position for 5 seconds before releasing
  • Repeat 10 times

4. Isometric Hip Abduction (Beginner exercise)

  • Sheet around thigh (just above knee)
  • Push legs apart against resistance of sheet
  • Just tighten muscles, do not move legs

Exercises from Day 3 onwards

  • Continue exercise 1-4, add in following exercises:

5. Standing Hip Abduction

  • Hold on to a chair or bathroom counter. It helps to be in front of a mirror to make sure you don’t lean to one side.
  • Keep knee straight and toe pointing forward
  • Move involved leg out to the side without leaning over

6. Chair Push-Ups

  • Sit with hands on arms of chair
  • Push down on hands to lift buttocks off chair
  • Full standing up
  • Repeat 10 times

7. Going Up and Down Stairs

  • If available, always use a hand railing and a crutch or cane
  • Going up the stairs: Step up with your unoperated leg first,
  • followed by your operated leg and crutch/cane.
  • Going down the stairs: Put your crutch/cane down first,
  • then step down with your operated leg,
    followed by your unoperated leg last.

9. Single Leg Stance

  • Stand on involved leg
  • Hands on table or back of chair for support
    (if needed)

Pain and swelling control

Having some pain and swelling is normal. Pain can be relieved by:

  1. Balancing rest and activity
  2. Using ice to help reduce pain and swelling, 10 minutes at a time every 2 hours during the day
  3. Elevating your leg above your heart level to help reduce swelling, pressure and pain

Illustrations by Limor Shaked
Sunnybrook's Holland Orthopaedic & Arthritic Centre and Mount Sinai Hospital has developed part of this material and this has been edited by Dr. Michael Drexler. Permission to add this link to my website has been granted by Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre’s and Mount Sinai Hospital Guides for Patients Having Hip or Knee Replacement.

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