Early Post Op Exercises
The exercises shown on this page are typical to what many
surgeons suggest after hip replacement surgery. Your surgeon may specify
different exercises and you should only do what your own surgeon suggests for
your particular case.
These exercises are important for increasing circulation to your
legs and feet to prevent blood clots. They also are important to strengthen
muscles and to improve your hip movement. You may begin these exercises in the
recovery room shortly after surgery. It may feel uncomfortable at first, but
these exercises will speed your recovery and reduce your postoperative pain.
These exercises should be done as you lie on your back with your legs spread
|Ankle Pumps –Slowly push your foot up and down. Do this
exercise several times as often as every 5 or 10 minutes. This
exercise can begin immediately after surgery and continue until you
are fully recovered.
|Ankle Rotations – Move your ankle inward toward your
other foot and then outward away from your other foot. Repeat 5
times in each direction 3 or 4 times a day.
|Bed-Supported Knee Bends – Slide your heel toward your
buttocks, bending your knee and keeping your heel on the bed. Do not
let your knee roll inward. Repeat 10 times 3 or 4 times a day.
|Buttock Contractions – Tighten buttock muscles and hold
to a count of 5. Repeat 10 times 3 or 4 times a day.
|Abduction Exercise – Slide your leg out to the side as
far as you can and then back. Repeat 10 times 3 or 4 times a day.
|Quadriceps Set – Tighten your thigh muscle. Try to
straighten your knee. Hold for 5 to 10 seconds.Repeat this exercise
10 times during a 10-minute period. Continue until your thigh feels
|Straight Leg Raises – Tighten your thigh muscle with your
knee fully straightened on the bed. As your thigh muscle tightens,
lift your leg several inches off the bed. Hold for 5 to 10 seconds.
Slowly lower. Repeat until your thigh feels fatigued.
Soon after your surgery, you will be out of bed and able to
stand. You will require help since you may become dizzy the first several times
you stand. As you regain your strength, you will be able to stand independently.
While doing these standing exercises, make sure you are holding on to a firm
surface such as a bar attached to your bed or a wall.
|Standing Knee Raises – Lift your operated leg toward your
chest. Do not lift your knee higher than your waist. Hold for 2 or 3
counts and put your leg down. Repeat 10 times 3 or 4 times a day.
|Standing Hip Abduction – Be sure your hip, knee and foot
are pointing straight forward. Keep your body straight. With your
knee straight, lift your leg out to the side. Slowly lower your leg
so your foot is back on the floor. Repeat 10 times 3 or 4 times a
|Standing Hip Extensions – Lift your operated leg backward
slowly. Try to keep your back straight. Hold for 2 or 3 counts.
Return your foot to the floor. Repeat 10 times 3 or 4 times a day
Walking and Early Activity
Soon after surgery, you will begin to walk short distances in
your hospital room and perform light everyday activities. This early activity
helps your recovery by helping your hip muscles regain strength and movement.
Walking with Walker, Full Weightbearing
Stand comfortably and erect with your weight evenly balanced on
your walker or crutches. Move your walker or crutches forward a short distance.
Then move forward, lifting your operated leg so that the heel of your foot will
touch the floor first. As you move, your knee and ankle will bend and your
entire foot will rest evenly on the floor. As you complete the step allow your
toe to lift off the floor. Move the walker again and your knee and hip will
again reach forward for your next step. Remember, touch your heel first, then
flatten your foot, then lift your toes off the floor. Try to walk as smoothly as
you can. Don’t hurry. As your muscle strength and endurance improve, you may
spend more time walking. Gradually, you will put more and more weight on your
Walking with Cane or Crutch
A walker is often used for the first several weeks to help your
balance and to avoid falls. A cane or a crutch is then used for several more
weeks until your full strength and balance skills have returned. Use the cane or
crutch in the hand opposite the operated hip. You are ready to use a cane or
single crutch when you can stand and balance without your walker, when your
weight is placed fully on both feet, and when you are no longer leaning on your
hands while using your walker.
Stair Climbing and Descending
The ability to go up and down stairs requires both flexibility and strength. At
first, you will need a handrail for support and you will only be able to go one
step at a time. Always lead up the stairs with your good leg and down the stairs
with your operated leg. Remember “up with the good” and “down with the
bad.” You may want to have someone help you until you have regained most of
your strength and mobility. Stair climbing is an excellent strengthening and
endurance activity. Do not try to climb steps higher than those of the standard
height of seven inches and always use the handrail for balance.
Up with the good
Down with the bad
Advanced Exercises and Activities
A full recovery will take many months. The pain from your
problem hip before your surgery and the pain and swelling after surgery have
weakened your hip muscles. The following exercises and activities will help your
hip muscles recover fully.
Exercycling is an excellent activity to help you regain muscle
strength and hip mobility. Adjust the seat height so that the bottom of your
foot just touches the pedal with your knee almost straight. Pedal backwards at
first. Pedal forward only after comfortable cycling motion is possible
backwards. As you become stronger (at about 4 to 6 weeks) slowly increase the
tension on the exercycle. Exercycle forward 10 to 15 minutes twice a day,
gradually building up to 20 to 30 minutes 3 to 4 times a week.
Take a cane with you until you have regained your balance
skills. In the beginning, walk 5 or 10 minutes 3 or 4 times a day. As your
strength and endurance improves, you can walk for 20 or 30 minutes 2 or 3 times
a day. Once you have fully recovered, regular walks, 20 or 30 minutes 3 or 4
times a week, will help maintain your strength.