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Post-op hip replacement exercises

It's really important to build strength and mobility following joint replacement surgery. Our team of physiotherapists at Schoen Clinic London have put together a simple guide to help you get the most out of your recovery and the best possible outcome from your surgery.

A guide for patients

Total hip replacement exercises

After your Total Hip Replacement you'll will be seen by a member of the inpatient Physiotherapy team. They'll show you how to mobilise safely and encourage you to do so frequently.

Early mobilisation helps you get the best outcome from surgery, and our Rapid Recovery programme is designed to support this by getting you active and mobile in as little as 4 hours post-op. To assist in regaining your hip strength and mobility your orthopaedic surgeon and physiotherapist will advise you to complete post-operative exercises 4 times a day. Our aim is to help you return to daily activities as quickly and safely as possible, so you can get back to enjoying life. 

Each consultant has their own individual preferences for which activities to carry out post-operatively, so please consult with your physio or surgeon prior to carrying out the exercises below. These are intended as a guide only and are the standard exercises to complete after undergoing a hip replacement surgery.

Early post-operative exercises

The risk of blood clots forming is increased after any surgery. The exercises below can help you improve the circulation in your legs, which is crucial for minimising the risk of blood clots. These post-op total hip replacement exercises will also help to strengthen the muscles around your new hip joint and assist in the improvement of hip mobility.

Early recovery exercises are designed to help you heal faster and reduce your post-operative discomfort. You can start these exercises very soon after the surgery, once you're back in your own room on the ward. They might make you feel uneasy at first, but understand that we have your best interest in mind and you may be surprised at how mobile you can be after surgery. These exercises can also be continued once you return home to continue building your strength and mobility after total hip replacement surgery.

Ankle pumps

  • Lay on a bed with your legs out in front of you.
  • Move your feet up and down by point your toes away from you, then towards you.
  • Repeating this movement helps to increase circulation, which in turn minimises the risk of blood clots forming.
  • Perform this exercise four times a day, with 10 repetitions each time.

Static quads & static glutes

  • Activate the quad muscles by pulling your toes towards you and push your knees down into the bed.
  • Activate your glutes by squeezing your buttocks together and pushing your knees down into the bed.
  • This helps to build muscle strength around your newly replaced hip joint.
  • Perform these exercises four times a day, with 10 repetitions each time.

Inner range quads

  • Place a rolled up towel or equivalent under your the knee on your operated leg.
  • Keeping your knee in contact with the towel, pull your toes towards you and push your knee down into the towel.
  • Perform this exercise four times a day, with 10 repetitions each time.

Hip abduction

  • Lay down on a bed with your legs out in front of you.
  • Keeping your heel in contact with the bed, slide your operated leg out away from your other leg.
  • Don't force your leg to go further than comfortable,
  • Perform this exercise four times a day, with 10 repetitions each time.

Hip flexion

  • Lay down on a bed or soft mat with your legs out in front of you.
  • Keeping your heel in contact with the bed, slowly bring your foot on your operated leg towards you.
  • You'll feel some resistance in your hip as your knee bends. Pause and then return your leg to a straight position.
  • Complete 10 repetitions per set, 4 times a day.

Standing hip extension

  • Stand upright facing the back of a chair or a handrail, and hold it for support.
  • Keeping your hips facing the chair slowly lift your operated leg out behind you.
  • You'll feel this in your glutes and also at the front of your new hip joint.
  • Complete 10 repetitions per set, 4 times a day.

Standing hip flexion

  • You'll need to use a hand rail or the back of a chair for support for this exercise.
  • Stand with your non-operated leg by the rail and slowly lift your operated leg out in front of you in a 'marching' position.
  • Control the leg as you slowly return it to the starting position.
  • We recommend doing this four times a day, with 10 repetitions each time.

Standing hip abduction

  • Stand with your non operated leg close to a rail, or use the back of a chair for support.
  • Gently move your operated leg back a couple of inches, then outwards away from you.
  • Slowly return the leg back to the original position.
  • Complete 10 repetitions of this in a set and carry out four sets of this exercise per day.