Dr. NK Magu

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When Can I Start Exercising After a Hip Replacement?

Exercise after Total Hip Replacement Surgery

It is understandable that you are eager to return to your normal condition after suffering chronic hip pain that limits you in everything. People are often worried about how long it will require them to get back to the activities that enjoy. However, you may keep in mind that the recovery time from hip replacement is different for each individual and it is one of the most alarming parts of the surgery. 

Brief Anatomy of Hip Joint

The femur, or thigh bone, and the pelvis, or hip bone, make up the hip joint. It is the second largest joint in our body that connects the legs and the torso. The top of the femur is rounded in shape and it fits into the acetabulum, a socket-like structure of the pelvis. As a type of ball and socket joint, it provides a wide range of motion to our body and also gives support to the leg to bear the weight of the body. 

When Is It Okay to Resume Exercising Following Surgery?

Patients are always encouraged to start exercising as early as possible after hip replacement to improve the flexibility of the new joint and to get back the strength of the affected muscle. Exercise improved cardiovascular fitness, psychological satisfaction, muscle strength, flexibility, coordination, balance, and endurance following a hip replacement. Each individual has a separate unique recovery process and the type and intensity of exercise have to be tailored accordingly. 

Generally, the major objectives for the first six weeks following surgery are strengthening of the hip bone and muscles, practicing balance, and getting to the point where you can walk without the aid of a device. During the next six to twelve weeks, you would be advised to focus more on advanced and complex treatment objectives. These could include regaining all of your strength, enhancing your endurance, and being able to do tasks around the house on your own like getting dressed and safely climbing and descending stairs.

Keep in mind that it is safe to return to exercise only after you achieve your physical goals and do not experience any pain anymore. For most of the patients, it took three to six months to to perform normal exercise and activities. The frequency of the exercise has to be increased gradually as advised by the doctor based on your condition.

Early Post-Surgical Exercises

There are some easy, basic, yet helpful exercises you can do before you are ready to perform certain activities. They will help you improve your flexibility and recovery.

  • Ankle pumps – Push your foot up and down slowly and repeat several times as often as you can.
  • Ankle rotations – Turn your ankle inwards in the direction of your other foot and then outward. Repeat several times for a few minutes and perform multiple sessions each day
  • Bed-Supported Knee Bends – While keeping your heel on the bed, bend your knee and slide your foot toward your buttocks. Refrain from rolling your knee inward and maintain your position for five to ten seconds then raise your leg straight
  • Buttock contractions – Tighten the muscles of your buttock and hold for a few seconds. Repeat and perform several times
  • Abduction exercise – Slide your leg out as far as possible to the side as far as you can and then back. Repeat the movement
  • Quadriceps set – Try to straighten your knee while tightening the thigh muscle. Repeat the process until your thigh muscle is tired
  • Straight leg raises – Keep your knee fully straightened on the bed and tighten your thigh muscles. Lift your leg and hold for a few seconds. Repeat until your muscle is fatigued
  • Standing knee raises – Raise your operated leg towards your chest but below your waist. Hold for a few seconds, put your leg down and then repeat
  • Climbing and descending on stairs – It is an excellent activity foe strengthening and endurance, and requires flexibility. Always put your good leg while stepping up and your operated leg while going down. Support yourself with the railing.

Best Exercises After Hip Replacement

  • Walking is considered the best exercise following the surgery as it is a low-impact exercise but efficiently promotes hip movement. 
  • Other low-impact exercises such as swimming, tennis, golf, hiking, cycling, low-impact aerobics, and rowing are considered to be safe as there is low chances of fall which is very alarming after hip replacement. 
  • Try performing these exercises at least several times a week to improve your recovery. Also, maintain a healthy weight to reduce the stress on your new joint.

Exercises To Avoid After Hip Replacement

  • High-impact exercises and sports such as running, jumping, basketball, football, racquetball, squash, softball, soccer, and snowboarding must be avoided as they exert high pressure on the hip which can have an adverse impact on the bone, resulting in faster wear and tear of the new joint. 
  • Other sports such as ice skating, rollerblading, weightlifting and skiing are also associated with high chances of falling and is wise to avoid them. 
  • Do not attempt squat at least for a few months after the operation, you may consult your doctor to perform.

Helpful:- Sleeping Position Tips After Total Hip Replacement Surgery

Do’s And Don’ts After Hip Replacement

Extreme care after surgery is needed to avoid any complications. Even a slight wrong movement can have significant consequences, here is a list of certain guides that you may follow to improve your recovery:


  • Rub an ice pack on the surgical site to reduce pain and swelling
  • Keep your leg facing forward
  • Use a high stool while sitting
  • Kneel on the operated leg
  • Apply heat on the hip to help you with motion before you exercise
  • Reduce the exercise if it ache your muscle, but do not stop


  • Do not cross your leg while sitting
  • Do not bend your hip more than 90 degree
  • Avoid sitting in a low chair
  • Do not bend your knees past your hips
  • Do not lean forward before or during sitting
  • When lying in bed, avoid reaching down to pull up the blankets.

Best Orthopedic Surgeon in India

Hip replacement surgery is one of the most common joint replacement procedures and one of the safest major surgeries. The process is quite successful and not overly complicated. However, it is always advisable to carefully plan ahead in order to minimize the possibility of problems or unfavorable outcomes. The success of the procedure is significantly influenced by the surgeon’s abilities and the techniques used. You can locate the best orthopedic surgeon in India who can precisely identify the problems with your hips and customize a treatment plan for you. You will also have access to hospitals that feature the newest technology and top-notch facilities. You will be able to receive first-rate care at a cost that is more reasonable than in other nations.

Helpful:- FAQs Regarding Hip Preservation Surgery

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