Getting Back to Normal After Hip Replacement Surgery

Recovery in the First Week

Rehabilitation usually begins very quickly after your operation. It is up to you to work with your therapist as you begin rehabilitation. The initial recovery period is six weeks, but you can expect to continue recovery for at least the first year after your surgery.

In the beginning, you will be asked to make small movements, including bending and straightening your arm as well as making circular motions. Most of the time, you will be able to bear full weight on your hip. Approximately five to seven days after surgery, you will start a regular program of motion exercises.

You most likely will need to continue using your pain medication at some level throughout the initial six-week recovery period. You may want to take your pain medication 30 minutes prior to beginning physical therapy, if it doesn’t make you drowsy.

Recovery in the First Six Weeks

For the first six weeks following surgery, your strength and endurance will improve gradually as swelling and scarring from the surgery begins to heal.

A physical therapist will instruct you on your personal limitations as relates to the activities you are used to enjoying. Your motion exercises should progress as the healing process continues. When your body is ready, you will begin motion exercises and progress from there.

After the first six weeks, you may be able to resume some activities if Dr. Cuellar tells you you are ready.

Your ability to return to work will vary depending on how you progress and how much hip activity your job requires.

See also
“Rehabilitation after Hip Replacement Surgery.” DePuy Orthopaedics, Inc. 2 April, 2003.

Artificial Hip Dislocation Precautions

Don’t raise thighs more than 90 degrees following total hip replacement surgery

Don’t bend too far when standing while recovering from total hip replacement surgery

Don’t allow the knee of your operated leg to cross the midline of your body following total hip replacement surgery

Don’t turn the foot of your operated leg inward following total hip replacement surgery

Your new artificial hip has a limited range of safe motion while it is healing. For about three months, you will need to follow special safety rules called “hip precautions” to protect your new hip as it heals.

Your hip will have a limited range of safe motion during the healing process. For about three months, follow these special safety rules to protect your hip:

  • Don’t bend hip past 90 degrees
  • Don’t raise your leg in bed
  • Don’t raise thigh past 90 degrees, even when sitting or laying down

See also
Following Artificial Hip Dislocation Precautions.” DePuy Orthopaedics, Inc. 2 April, 2003.

Don’t allow the knee of your operated leg to cross the midline of your body meaning don’t let your knee move across your body past your navel (belly button). This precaution is especially important when lying on your side or trying to turn in bed. When lying on the unaffected side, place pillows between your legs to keep your hip in the correct position. When sitting, do not cross your affected leg.

Don’t roll leg inward or outward. This is especially important when laying on your side or turning in bed.

Don’t turn the foot of your operated leg inward, meaning when lying on your back, don’t roll your affected leg toward the other leg as you might do when rolling over. Also, don’t stand pigeon-toed or with your toes pointed out. Try not to pivot on the affected leg in the first six weeks after surgery. Keep the toes of your affected leg pointed forward when you stand, sit or walk.

See also:
“Following Artificial Hip Dislocation Precautions.” DePuy Orthopaedics, Inc. 2 April, 2003.