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Exercising After A Hip Replacement

Last updated: May 25, 2022

After a successful hip replacement surgery, regardless of the severity of the operation, it is extremely important to start stretching and exercising as soon as you can strengthen your muscles, ligaments, and joints. It is generally recommended to exercise for 20-30 minutes a day, and up to 3 times daily during the early recovery period post-clearance. However, it is best to check both with your surgeon and physical therapist about the proper timeline to not further injure yourself and slow down your recuperation period.

This article will focus on different rehabilitation exercises for your hip, with a focus on targeting the different areas of this extremely important joint.

The hip flexor, as can be easily ascertained, is primarily concerned with flexing your hip during sprinting, changing directions, kicking, or sitting cross-legged. While other parts of your hips also contribute to motion, flexing, and performing these exercises, your hip flexor is of paramount importance to this range.

Hip Flexor Rehabilitation Exercises

The hip flexor, as can be easily ascertained, is primarily concerned with flexing your hip during sprinting, changing directions, kicking, or sitting cross-legged. While other parts of your hips also contribute to motion, flexing, and performing these exercises, your hip flexor is of paramount importance to this range. If your hip replacement surgery included a total hip replacement, or in any way strained and repaired the hip flexor, here are some exercises you can do to strengthen, alleviate and manage the strain:

Strengthen Bridge Hold - The bridge is one of the most popular exercises that strengthen and engages your core, hip, and hamstring muscles. It is great for rebuilding the function of your hip flexor and can be done anywhere with a comfortable floor or mat. Start by lying down with your back flat against the ground. Place your hands against your hips or abdomen to make sure it is engaged properly during the exercise. Lift your legs so that your knees are bent, with your heels flat on the ground shoulder-width apart. Push your pelvis and abdomen up, making your torso, head, and feet still on the floor. Lower your pelvis and repeat. 3 sets 15 reps.

Stretch: Dynamic Hip (standing) - For this, you will need a box or elevated surface at knee height. Stand in front of the surface with your legs together and your body standing straight. Step up on the platform with one foot and press against it, similar to a lunge position. Make sure your knees don't go too far past the toes, as we are looking to stretch the hip and not build the target leg muscles like a normal lunge. Bring your foot back on the floor and repeat on the other side to complete 1 rep. 3 Sets 10 reps.

Hip Hinge Exercises

Hip "hinging" is an important movement when carrying loads off the floor. This is especially important for those that carry heavy loads daily due to their job or have weak hips. The hinge motion can be characterized as using your hips to bend rather than your spine and is similar to a squat motion. A proper hip hinge position will alleviate pressure from your spinal muscles and disperse the force to your core, hips, upper body, and arms. 

Squat: Because the hip hinge movement is fundamentally a squat, the most important, and arguably only, exercise you will need is a squat. After surgery, it is important that you first stretch the muscles, and start doing the squats without any extra weight. To perform a proper squat, first, start by standing up straight. When initiating the squatting movement, brace your core, move forward slightly, and drop down to a squat with your hips, ideally at a 90-degree angle or wherever possible. Hold this position for 3 seconds and return to the standing position, remembering to keep your knees shoulder-width apart. 3 sets, 10 reps.

Hip Impingement Exercises

The hip, as a whole, is a ball-and-socket joint, as the hip fits into your thigh bone similar to how a ball fits into a cup-like area. Hip impingement is the result of anything that interferes with the smooth motion of the "ball" gliding around the socket. This can happen from trauma or repetitive motions that were done without proper form, and old age. After surgery related to fixing hip impingement, it is necessary to follow the appropriate physiotherapy plan to recover and rehabilitate your hip. Certain stretches, such as the dynamic hip stretch mentioned previously in this article, help with alleviating pain. Here is an alternative: 

Hip abduction (resistance band) - Stand straight and tie a resistance band across your shins, with your feet together. Remember to keep your hips as level as possible, and lift one leg to the side of your body and slightly back while in the air. Once you've reached the end of your motion, return slowly to a standing position and repeat the other side. Stop when you feel a slight sore or burning sensation in your hips and buttocks. 3 sets until failure.

Hip Labral Tear Exercises

This hip labrum is a cartilage that encircles the hip socket, responsible for keeping your thighbone in place. After your hip labrum restoration surgery, it is recommended that you first conduct stretches to return the range of motion to the joint slightly before moving on to more strenuous strength exercises. Standing hip abduction and the dynamic hip stretch mentioned earlier in this guide will also help in targeting the hip labrum. If you find these exercises cause pain after your surgery, you can perform extremely low impact stretches, such as balancing on one foot with a stability ball. Stop the exercise and consult your rehab professional if conditions worsen.


Are spasms normal after hip surgery?

It is extremely common for the leg muscles to spasm and shake after surgery, especially during the healing period. Taking your prescribed muscle relaxants and restorative vitamins should help with this.

Can I run after hip replacement surgery?

It is not recommended to run right after hip replacement surgery as it will increase the likelihood of fracturing your implants. Depending on the severity, refrain from running for 3-6 months.

Can't sleep after hip surgery?

The most common complaint after hip surgery is difficulty sleeping, due to the pain of lying on either side. Your health care professional should prescribe pain medication to help alleviate this. If you still have difficulty sleeping, natural dormitory supplements may prove to be helpful.


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