hip joint replacement

Hip Joint Replacement F.A.Q.

In News by Royce Bowman, PT, Director

What should you expect after a hip joint replacement? We compiled a list of questions and answers to guide you through the recovery process.

How long should you do physical therapy after hip joint replacement?

In our experience, we have seen patients benefit from skilled physical therapy for about 4-6 weeks after a hip replacement surgery in order to regain normal strength and range of motion for gait mechanics and ADLs.

What exercises should you NOT do after a hip replacement?

Any exercises that require you to cross your legs, rotate your hip inward, or bend forward more than 90 degrees are to be avoided if you have a hip replacement with a posterolateral approach (the scar will be more to the outside and back of your hip). If you have an incision on the front of your hip (anterior approach), you must avoid exercises that require you to rotate your leg outward, cross your legs, or move your leg backwards (hip extension).

Can I squat after hip replacement?

Yes you can squat after a hip replacement, as long as you maintain hip precautions. Your doctor may place lifting restrictions until your hip heals.

Can you sit on the floor after hip replacement surgery?

After some time, your physician might lift the hip precautions once the joint and surgical site heal. If this occurs, with proper hip range of motion and strength, you would then be able to sit on the floor safely. This might require monitoring and/or teaching by a Physical Therapist.

What happens if you don’t do physical therapy after hip surgery?

Physical therapy is very important to regain normal mobility and strength in order to improve your quality of life after hip surgery. It is likely that you will not regain the appropriate amount of range of motion in the hip or you will lack sufficient strength to be functional. You could also develop gait abnormalities that go unnoticed because a therapist is not present to identify and make appropriate changes.

Are there permanent restrictions after hip replacement?

Doctors have their own protocols when it comes to hip replacement restrictions. Talk to your physician about what their expectations are for you and how long you must follow the hip precautions.

How long does it take to walk normally after hip surgery?

It is very difficult to put a time frame on how quickly someone will recover or walk normally. Many patients have developed gait abnormalities over years of walking with hip pain. The hip replacement fixes the joint problem, but other issues that have developed because of the hip pain (i.e. muscle imbalance, decreased balance, decreased range of motion) take time to improve or correct. Your chances of walking normally improve when you commit to a PT or strict home exercise program.

Is walking the best exercise after hip replacement?

Walking is recommended as an exercise at home, but not necessarily considered the best. It will be important to use proper gait mechanics so you don’t develop low back pain or pain in the opposite leg. Being compliant with the home exercise program improves your chances of walking normally.

How do you use the toilet after hip surgery?

Sitting on the toilet seat might be uncomfortable due to the incision site, but is safe to do. Using an elevated toilet seat will also make it easier for you to stand up. If you experience constipation from taking pain medication, drink lots of water and possibly a fiber supplement/stool softener.

hip joint replacement

About the Author

Royce Bowman, PT, Director