Many patients who have had a complete hip replacement have experienced a limp for some time leading up to surgery. Traumatic injury hip replacements are rare. Most hip replacements are performed on individuals who have developed hip problems with aging and normal wear & tear. These exercises will reduce pain, and potentially alleviate a pre-operative limp. It’s a common priority for many while recovering from a hip replacement.

Where to Start

These are some of the exercises you might receive that will help with regaining a full range of motion. It’s important to note that every case is unique, and following the guidelines provided by your surgeon and physical therapist are essential for a successful recovery. However, some of these exercises may not be appropriate for certain individuals, based on specific recommendations & surgical techniques on various patients.

How to Start

Improving your ability to walk upright, comfortably, and swiftly has many layers to it. Once the arthritic joint is restored, the tissues surrounding the joint and the related muscles must also respond & regain strength.

The hip joint is extremely complex. Because it moves in many directions and gets it’s strength from the muscles surrounding it – the hip contains a system of events working harmoniously. In order to propel us forward, move us upward, maintain balance, climb stairs, and run or walk forward and backward – the hip must be very strong.

Following a hip replacement, most people will lack the strength, flexibility, or range of motion around the hip joint to achieve optimal functionality. The hip joint requires a mixture of flexibility and strength to function properly which can be a challenge to regain after adolescence. Because of this, it is necessary to include both strengthening and flexibility exercises in your post-operative physical therapy. Your therapist should be in direct communication with your doctor in order to give you exercises to regain both motion and strength. Your recovery plan should be custom-tailored to your individual needs and guide you every step of the way.

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Stretch #1

While lying on your back, bend your knee on the leg that was operated on while keeping the other leg straight. Without letting your pelvis rotate, let your affected knee fall out to the side. YThis stretch is felt in the front, in the back, and on the side of your hip. Although it shouldn’t be painful, you will certainly feel pressure and weakness in the beginning. Hold this stretch for about 15 seconds, and start over. This should be repeated 5 times.

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Stretch #2

While lying on your “good” side with both knees bent, lift the top knee and keep your feet together. Your knees should be bent to about 90 degrees and your hips should be bent about 15 degrees. Do not allow your pelvis to rotate during this exercise. Lifting the knee as high as you can without rotating the pelvis, breathe for 1 long second at the top and bring your leg back down. Do this about 10 times. After 1 set, rest for 20 seconds and repeat this exercise for 2 more sets.

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Stretch #3

Scoot all the way to the edge of your exercise table. While lying on your back, pull your “good” towards your chest. Let your recovering leg dangle in a relaxed state while you do this. This stretch will create some tension in the front of your thigh and in your hip. Hold this position for 10-15 seconds, and return to a fully relaxed position. Start from the beginning again, repeating this exercise about 5 times.