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Recovering From Hip Replacement Surgery? 7 Simple Exercises That Can Help

By Dr. Arpit C Dave +2 more

Hip replacement surgery is an effective procedure that can benefit people with severe arthritis, pain and loss of function in their hip joints. Osteoarthritis is one of the most common causes of requiring hip replacement surgery. This condition causes inflammation and breakdown of cartilage in the joint, which causes pain and stiffness in movement. Problems related to the hip joint can adversely affect a person’s quality of life due to limitations in movement. Hip replacement surgery aims to restore the happiness and quality of life of the patients.

Common symptoms of osteoarthritis are:

  • Pain, especially in the joints and surrounding muscles
  • Reduced range of motion
  • Pain when moving the joint
  • Tightness, stiffness and swelling in the joints
  • Loss of function
  • Crepitus (when you move your affected joint, you feel crunching noises under the skin)
  • Difficulty in sitting, walking and climbing stairs

Is exercising good after hip replacement surgery

Once you have surgery, you will need physical therapy to help with your recovery. Your doctor will prescribe exercises that will help strengthen your leg muscles and improve balance and coordination.

The aim is for you to be able to walk normally again. The sooner you start these exercises after surgery, the better off you will be in the long run. In addition to being important for your health post-surgery, exercising is also a crucial step in maintaining the new joint that has been placed inside your body. This is because exercise helps prevent stiffness and muscle atrophy after this type of surgery.

While excercises are encouraged there are some some lifelong restrictions in movement like Seniors should avoid hip flexion past 90 degrees — bending your hip too far or lifting your knee too high. This movement occurs when you lift your leg or your knee up towards your body. For example, when you put on socks or shoes. Generally, keep the knee below hip level.

Dr. M.G. Kartheeka, MBBS, MD

7 Exercises for post-hip replacement surgery

1. Ankle pumps

Ankle pumps are a great exercise for people recovering from hip replacement surgery. They help strengthen your hips and legs, which will help you regain mobility.

To do ankle pumps, raise your legs to a comfortable height by placing them on the sofa’s armrests. In a prolonged sitting position, stretch one leg out in front of you and pull your toes up towards the knee of that leg. Relax that foot, then repeat the exercise 10 times with the other.

2. Quadriceps sets

The Quadriceps Sets exercise is a great way to strengthen the quadriceps muscles in front of your upper leg. These muscles help to move your knee and straighten your leg. Lie on your back with your legs stretched. Push one knee into the bed, tightening the thigh muscles without holding your breath. Repeat 10 times with the other leg.

3. Gluteal sets

The gluteal set is a straightforward exercise that can be done to help strengthen the muscles in your buttocks, as well as help you regain range of motion after hip replacement surgery.

To start with this exercise, lie on your back with your legs and feet flat on the bed. Contract your buttocks and hold the contraction for a couple of seconds before relaxing. Holding your breath is not required while performing this exercise. Repeat with another leg until you have done 10 repetitions per leg.

On average recovery from hip replacement may take around 6 to 8 weeks, it varies between individuals and full recovery may take around 6-12 months in elderly patients.

Dr. Ashish Bajaj – M.B.B.S, M.D.

4. Heel slides

Heel slides are an exercise that helps build strength and motion range in your hips. They also help with balance and stability as you move around after surgery.

To perform heel slides, lie on your back with your legs stretched and feet slightly apart. Bring your affected leg up to rest by the back of your thigh. Keep this position for 5 seconds. Return to the starting position by sliding your heel forward. Repeat 10 times for each leg.

5. Short arc quads

The short arc quadriceps exercises are the first step to rebuilding your strength and range of motion after a total hip replacement. This exercise will help you regain control over your leg muscles and increase your range of motion by allowing you to flex and extend your knee.

Rest on your back with one knee inclined and a towel rolled under the other. As you lift your foot, keep your thigh on the roll to maintain a slow and steady straightening of your surgical knee. Repeat the exercise 10 times.

It is not uncommon for some people to feel pain beyond the first year of the surgery, some implants may fail earlier but usually they last for 20 years after a replacement.

Dr. Ashish Bajaj – M.B.B.S, M.D.

6. Sitting knee flexion

This exercise is done while sitting in a chair and helps increase the hip’s mobility. Place a towel under your surgical legs before performing the exercise.

To do this exercise, take a wide stance with your feet flat on the floor and place one foot back. Bend your surgical leg’s knee until it is nearly in line with that hip. Hold for 5 seconds before releasing and returning to an upright position. Repeat this exercise 10 times a day.

7. Seated knee extension

After hip replacement surgery, the seated knee extension exercise is a great way to work your hip muscles. The first step is to sit on the edge of a bench or chair with both legs straight out in front of you.

Keeping your back straight, slowly raise one leg straight until it is parallel with the floor (or as high as it will go without causing pain or discomfort). Stay at this position for about 5 seconds before lowering it down again slowly until it touches the floor.

Repeat with each leg 10 times daily until you can do 20 repetitions with each leg comfortably at least twice per day without causing any pain or discomfort.

Dealing with joint pain? Try these supplements

Exercise to avoid after hip replacement surgery

Exercise is an integral part of your recovery from hip replacement surgery. It helps your body heal and reduces the risk of complications. But there are some exercises you should avoid for a few weeks after surgery. Do not lift heavy weights or do exercises that require twisting at the hip until your doctor clears you. This includes:

  • Deep squats
  • Lunges
  • Knee-to-chest stretch
  • Ankle rotations
  • Side leg raises
  • Standing calf raises
  • Running
  • Jogging


Hip replacement surgery is a popular procedure that aims to relieve your pain and improve your quality of life. Following your doctor’s recovery plan is important, including avoiding certain exercises during the first few weeks after surgery. Do not overdo any exercise and follow the advised restrictions sincerely for a smooth recovery.

 If you have questions about how to stay safe during this time, talk with your doctor or physiotherapist. 

Also Read: Exercises for Hip Pain: A Research-Based Guide to Relief


Q1. What is the best exercise to do after hip replacement surgery?

The best exercise after hip replacement surgery is pain-free, safe, and doesn’t stress your new joint. Your doctor might recommend starting off with gentle stretches and range-of-motion exercises. If you’re feeling up to it, try walking in a pool or using an elliptical machine at the gym.

Q2. Is walking the best exercise after hip surgery?

Walking is usually the first exercise your doctor will recommend after hip replacement surgery. It’s a safe, low-impact exercise that can help you recover faster. Walking is usually recommended with a walker and later by crutches to reduce weight bearing on the joints. However, if you have a lot of pain or discomfort while walking, talk with your doctor about other exercises to try instead.

Q3. How long does it take for the muscles to heal after a hip replacement?

The muscles around the hip take about four weeks to heal fully after surgery. It’s important to stay active during this time, so your muscles can recover properly. 

Disclaimer: The information included on this site is for educational purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for medical treatment by a healthcare professional. Because of unique individual needs, the reader should consult their physician to determine the appropriateness of the information for the reader’s situation.


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