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Hip Joint Replacement


Physical Therapy

Your hip rehabilitation program begins right after surgery and is ordered by your surgeon. Isometric exercises (tightening muscles without moving the joint) will begin while you are still in bed. You will be instructed to do these exercises a number of times per day while awake. You will be encouraged by the physical therapist to move your ankle and other joints so that you will remain strong.

These exercises will help you regain strength and mobility. The physical therapist will teach you the safest methods for getting in and out of bed or a chair, and on and off the toilet. You will be taught the do’s and don’ts of joint replacement recovery.

The day after surgery, you will probably begin walking and performing exercises that move your hip joint. Initially, the physical therapist will assist you in getting out of bed and standing at the bedside with a walker. For your entire hospital stay, you will probably walk, with a walker or crutches, two times per day under the supervision of the therapist. Your walking distance will gradually increase.

The physical therapist will check your progress daily and will keep your surgeon informed. Pain medication may be taken prior to your physical therapy if you request it.



The usual hospital stay for hip joint replacement is three to five days. You will quickly gain independence after your surgery. To protect your hip, you will not be permitted to sit past a 90- degree angle. To accommodate sitting, there will be an elevated chair and an elevated toilet available for your use. This will allow your hip to be higher than or equal to your knee while sitting. An elevated toilet seat will be ordered for you to take home.

At home, you will need a firm chair with arms.

The therapist will teach you how to dress, get out of bed without help and use a walker or crutches. You will continue to work to strengthen yourself in preparation for your return home.

It is important for you to adhere to your doctor’s directions and follow proper positioning techniques throughout your rehabilitation. By the time you leave the hospital, you will normally be progressing well in regaining mobility and stability. If sutures or clips are not ready to be removed before discharge, you will be advised about who will remove them and where this will be done. It is not uncommon to still experience some pain. The full recovery period typically lasts three to six months.



Just prior to your discharge, you will receive instructions for your at-home recovery. Until you see the surgeon for your follow-up visit, you must take certain activity precautions.

As soon as you are home from the hospital, make an appointment to see the doctor.

Look for any changes around your incision. Contact your surgeon if you develop any of the following:


Drainage and/or foul odor coming from the incision.


Fever (temperature about 101 degrees F or 38 degrees C) for two days.


Increased swelling, tenderness, redness and/or pain.

Take time to adjust to your home environment. It is normal to feel frustrated, but these frustrations will soon pass. It is okay to take it easy.

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