recovery after hip surgery
Health

The best exercises after hip replacement: Your complete guide

4 min read |

Are you wondering what exercises after hip replacement surgery will get you back on your feet? Our list of the best is here to help.

Although it may be uncomfortable at first, exercising after your operation will prevent blood clots and improve blood flow.

Looking after yourself before and after hip replacement surgery will allow your body to heal and get adjusted to your new joint.

This article will cover the best exercises after hip replacement to beat post-operative pain, and why they are beneficial for your health.

Here’s a summary of what we’ll cover:

  • It can be challenging to get moving after surgery, so that’s why it is important to build up your strength with exercise. 
  • Having a hip replacement is nothing to fear, and you may find newfound freedom after having the op. 
  • Our best exercises after hip replacement will allow you to quicken your recovery and improve your well-being. 
  • Good aftercare is key for your health, so it’s important to help yourself when you can so that you can get back to enjoying life. 
showing hip replacement

What is a hip replacement?

As we age, our bones become prone to fracturing as they become brittle, this is when people may need a hip replacement. 

A hip replacement is a common surgery where a damaged hip joint is replaced with an artificial one.

To prevent further hip problems, artificial joints can be made from materials such as metal, depending on what is needed. 

Faulty or fractured hips can cause mobility issues and chronic pain, so undergoing a hip replacement can be life-changing.

Early signs of hip replacement

If you are experiencing stiffness or joint pain, these could be early signs that you may need a hip replacement.

Other symptoms could include feeling discomfort in the body when exercising or sleeping, and persistent pain in one or both legs.  

Other areas of the leg may also be affected by problems with your hips, such as your kneecap or thigh.

Make an appointment with your GP so they can ascertain if a hip replacement is the right course of treatment. 

Worried about your loved one having a fall?

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senior swimming

Should I be exercising before hip replacement surgery?

If you are due to have hip replacement surgery, it’s wise to exercise as regularly as you can beforehand.

Swimming and running will help with your overall physical health so you can recover quicker afterwards. 

You’ll feel more calm and it can help you overcome any stress or anxieties if you are due for a hip replacement.

Ensuring that you follow professional post-op advice from your recommended physio is a must. 

Why should I exercise?

As we age, our joints may weather over time causing swelling and bruising, which could lead to having hip replacement surgery.

Exercising will get your energy and stability back, and allow you to be more resilient against infection. 

It can improve your well-being, helping you feel relaxed and tension free before surgery. 

If you’ve had a total hip replacement, don’t push yourself too hard, it takes time for your body to heal. 

Best exercises after hip replacement

Ankle pumps

This is a starting exercise you can do straight after surgery, but it’s important to be gentle with yourself. 

By slowly lifting your foot up and down, it will help maintain blood flow without you having to stand. 

Do this for 5 to 10 minutes every day for your feet, and continue this throughout your recovery. 

It is best to avoid moving your hip before your recommended post-operative period to avoid developing any complications.

knee bends

Knee bends

As you become more confident in moving your foot, the next gradual step is to move your knees.

For this exercise, you will need to slide your foot upwards, make sure that your foot is flat, and bend your knee.

Laying down is a helpful way to position yourself when doing this exercise, and it’s best to not move your knee sideways. 

Do this exercise at least 10 times a day, and hold in that position for 3 minutes.

Straight leg raises

Moving this on a little further, you will now be ready to raise your legs. 

This exercise will help you prepare to stand and allow you to feel motion before you put pressure on your hip. 

To do this exercise, lift your leg several inches and hold it for 5 to 10 seconds, then slowly lower it. 

Repeat this until your thighs feel a little fatigued so that your muscles can strengthen.

working back to health

Standing hip abduction

With this exercise, you will be able to move your hips more freely and get fit for walking. 

For this, you will need to stand straight and upright, slowly lift your leg to the side, and then back again. 

This should take around 2 minutes and be repeated 10 times each day, this will help your hip adjust. 

After this, you may feel like you can start walking again, so it’s a good introductory exercise to walking. 

Walking

Once you feel able to walk, using crutches or a Zimmer frame will give you the additional support you need to keep steady. 

Walking on straight and even ground is the best way to keep your balance, and to be in a familiar environment. 

Try moving a few steps first, and then taking short two-minute walks at first until you become more confident. 

You may want to remove any physio tools once you are fully healed and have had all the necessary checkups.

Exercise to help you recover

Aftercare for any type of surgery is key, and exercise will speed up the recovery process, and relieve tension and pain. 

That’s why it’s important to get used to new replacements like hips or knees so that you give your body the chance to recover. 

Post-operative care is essential to help you build up your strength and get you feeling fit with your new hip. 

By doing daily light exercise, you’ll get the adjustment period you need for your hip and allow yourself to regain your mobility. 

hip replacement

Aftercare

During hip replacement recovery, there are some thoughts you should keep in mind if you are getting back to being physically active. 

It’s advised to follow any instructions given to you by a professional, such as your doctor or physiotherapist. 

However, it’s best to avoid bending your hip more than 90 degrees as this could cause your hip to dislocate. 

It’s also important to be transparent with your healthcare professionals about when you feel ready to be fully mobile.

Getting back to normal

You may be able to get back to walking in a few weeks, however, it can take up to a year for you to fully recover.

Healing can take time, so it’s good to be patient and persistent in taking steps towards recovery. 

Recovery periods can vary from person to person, and it’s vital not to rush the process, as this could hinder your progress. 

Stay occupied and maintain a healthy lifestyle to give yourself the best chance of getting back to normal. 

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