Health And Wellbeing For The Over 50s

Recovery From Hip Replacement Surgery: How to Speed It Up

recovery from hip replacement surgery

Recovery from hip replacement surgery can vary from person to person. A research study concluded that people who followed a progressively increasing level of exercise during the recovery phase, gained more positive outcomes compared to those who didn’t increase their exercise levels (1).

Hip Replacement Recovery Time: How long does it take?

Here is an example of a typical timeline for recovery from hip surgery:

Usually, a hip replacement patient can:

What are the Different Stages of The Recovery Timeline?

Day of Surgery – Post-Operative Day Zero – Recovery from Hip Replacement Surgery

Early mobility is important for improving blood circulation and avoiding blood clots formation; therefore you can expect this to begin the day of your surgery.


Bed Exercise

ExercisesHow To Perform?Repetition
  • Keep your hand on your upper abdomen.
  • Slowly breathe in through the nose, and feel your ribcage expand sideways
  • Feel your ribcage drop down by slowly breathing out.
6 times, every hour
Foot and ankle pump
  • Propel your foot up and down. This reduces the risk of blood clots.
10 times, every hour
Lower buttock squeeze
  • Keep your legs straight while lying.
  • Gently contract lower buttocks together.
  • Hold 6 seconds
6 – 8 times, 3 times a day
Hip Flexion
  • On a smooth surface (such as a plastic bag on top of your bed sheet), twist your operated leg towards you.
  • Bend your operated leg towards you.
10 times.
Knee Flexion (in a lying position)
  • Use a strap around your foot to carefully bring your operated knee into the bent position.
  • Hold for 5 seconds.
10 times per day
Leg slide out
  • Lie on your back with one leg bent.
  • Keep your back and pelvis still.
  • Leading with the heel, slide the straight-leg out to the side.
  • Slide leg back.
  • Repeat on the other side.
6 – 8 times, 3 times a day
Straight Leg Raise (in a lying position)
  • Lift your leg up off the bed as high as you can while keeping it straight.
  • Hold for 5 seconds and then relax.
5 times

You can start bed exercises immediately after surgery with the help of a physiotherapist.

Post-Operative Day One/Two

Most patients go home on postoperative day one or two.


Discharge Day

Occasionally discharge times can be delayed if a patient requires further medical intervention or an additional physiotherapy assessment.


You are likely to be discharged if you meet the following goals:

Therapy GoalsMedical Goals
To have a precise understanding of your recovery stages.Blood tests are stable.
Independently complete your exercises.Stitches are healing well.
Independently walk short distances (e.g. to the bathroom) with a walker.Pain is well managed.
Be able to climb stairs (with assistance) if you have them at home.Health status is at baseline (e.g. blood pressure, heart beat rate, temperature and oxygen levels)
Manage some personal care (e.g. getting dressed).-
Get in and out of bed by yourself.-

Activity Management At Home

Bed Transfers

Positioning in BedHow to Get In and Out of Bed
  • Place a large pillow between your legs while lying on your back.
  • Do not allow your leg to roll inward.
  • When you lie on your sides your surgical or operated leg mustn't roll inward or cross over the midline. Therefore, when lying on either side place a pillow between your legs.
  • Slide your legs to the edge of the bed and shift your buttocks across the bed, while remaining on your back.
  • When your lower legs are over the edge, push your upper body upright using your hands.
  • Try to move your body as a whole while moving. Do not cross your legs.
  • When getting into bed, reverse the process.

Sitting And Standing On Chair/Commode

To SitTo Stand Up
  • Change your position till the back of your legs feels the chair or commode.
  • If you are not comfortable, move your surgical leg outward.
  • Bend your knees while griping the armrest or handle tightly.
  • Now sit down slowly.
  • Without bending at the hip, move to the corner of the chair or commode then tilt your operated leg.
  • Try to stand by placing both hands on the chair/commode or one hand on the walker and the other hand on the chair/commode, and then push yourself up.
  • While standing, carry most of your weight on your strong leg and avoid pulling up on the walker to stand as it may tip.
  • Now, holding your walker with both hands, try to stand by straightening your back.

Stair Climbing

Step upStep Down
  • If there is a railing, use it; otherwise, use crutches or walkers.
  • Stepping up with your nonsurgical or non-operated leg while holding the rail with one hand and the crutch with the other hand.
  • Now continue the same with your operated leg and cane/crutch.
  • Use your cane/crutch with one hand and grip the railing with another.
  • Start moving downward with the help of the operated leg and crutches/sticks and place all your weight on the non-operated leg.
  • Bend your knee to stay stable, one step at a time.
  • Follow with your non-operated leg, one stair at a time.


Getting In/Out of A Car

Sleeping/Lying Down

Week 1-3 After Hip Surgery

Recovery from hip replacement surgery

Your goals for this time period are to:

Standing Exercises

ExercisesHow to Perform?Repetition Per Day
Hip Flexion (in a standing position)
  • Keeping your leg straight, move your leg out to the side as far as you can.
  • Keep your body upright.
10 times
Hip Slide Out (in a standing position)
  • Move your operated leg out to the side while keeping it straight and then return to normal position.
  • Try to sustain an upright posture while doing this exercise.
10 times
Hip Extension Stretch (in a standing position)
  • Move your operated leg backward while keeping your toes on the floor.
  • Straighten your knee and bring your hips forward so you can sense a stretch at the front of your hip.
  • Maintain this for 15-30 seconds then return to the normal position.
  • Initially, you may wish to hold onto a stable surface.
3 times
Hip Extension with Lift (in a standing position)
  • Take your leg out behind you. Lift your leg off the floor, while keeping the leg straight.
  • As this exercise becomes easier, increase the length of time you hold this position.
10 times
Weight Transfers
  • Lightly hold onto a stable surface initially and ensure that you have equal weight through both your legs while maintaining a good posture.
  • Slowly transfer your weight from left to right, then forwards and backward.
5 times
  • Stand with your feet hip-width apart.
  • Keep your back straight and heels on the floor; bend your knees as far as you can and straighten back up again.
5 times

Standing-based exercises are recommended at least 3 times a day for at least 6 weeks but you can continue them if you still find them of benefit.

Weeks 3-6 After Hip Surgery

During this time phase, you will notice a greater recovery to full independence. You can perform some light activities at this point in your recovery. However, the activities you’re allowed to perform will depend on how your body is healing.

Your goals for this time phase are to:

Advanced Exercises

ExercisesHow to Perform?Repetition per Day
High Knee Marching
  • By standing straight, start marching in place, bending your knees as high as possible.
10 times
Single Leg Stance
  • Stand on your operated leg, keeping it as straight as possible, and lift your non-operated leg off the floor.
  • Try to keep your pelvis and back straight. Hold for 30 seconds.
5 times
Step Up & Down
  • Step up onto the stair with the operated leg and bring the non-operated leg up to join it.
  • Step down backward with the non-operated leg first, lowering yourself down slowly while bending the operated leg.
  • Return to the standing position.
5 times
Side Step & Squat
  • Move your operated leg outward to the side.
  • Your feet must be in a parallel position.
  • Then, perform a squat while bending down as far as you can.
  • Return to the starting point.
5 times
Clam (side lying)
  • Lying on your non-operated side, bend both knees, tighten your bottom and lift your top knee up as far as you can without letting your pelvis rotate forwards or back.
  • Maintain this balance for 5 seconds.
  • For this exercise, your feet should be parallel and back straight.
10 times
Hip Extension (prone lying)
  • Start with the prone lying position (lying on your stomach) by raising your operated leg off the bed with a straight knee.
  • Maintain this position for 5 seconds and then bring your leg back to the starting position.
10 times
Hip Abduction (side lying)
  • Lie on your un-operated side and ensure that your pelvis does not move backward or forward while performing this exercise; keep it erect.
  • Now move the operated leg up while holding it straight.
  • Maintain this position for 5 seconds, and then lower your leg slowly.
10 times

These exercises are recommended approximately 3 weeks post-surgery. Progress onto these exercises only if you feel you’re able to.

Weeks 6-12 After Hip Surgery

By this time, you should be able to gradually return to your normal activities. 
Your goals for this time phase are to:

Timeframe of Resuming Physical activities

ActivityTime-Period Resumed Post Surgery
Walking with a walker or crutches1-4 days
Walking with a cane4 weeks
Unassisted walking6-8 weeks
Driving 2-6 weeks
Limited work (seated)3 weeks
Work (standing/active)6-8 weeks
Sports activities6 weeks

Speak with your healthcare provider, as these are general timeframes for resuming physical activities safely. The best time frames for your individual situation can differ from what are listed here.

Medical Equipment You Might Need After HRS

BedroomBathroomLiving Room
Bedside CommodeElevated Toilet Seat With Grab Bar2-Wheeled Walker
Bed RailMetal Grab BarFirm (High-Density) Foam Cushion
Sock AidNon-Slip Bath MatCane/Crutches
ReacherMedical Bathtub Shower Lift ChairLeg Lifter Strap
Long-Handled ShoehornLong-Handled Bath Sponge-
Dressing StickToilet Safety Frame-

Latest Technology To Monitor Recovery

Remote patient monitoring technology has been developed to assist in the recovery from hip replacement surgery and is intended to be used at home during the recovery period of eight to 12 weeks after the operation.

This sensor technology comprises:

Below are some remote-patient-monitoring technologies:

If you are considering having a hip replacement, you may like to read our comprehensive guide to the cost of hip surgery in the UK, which lists the surgeons, hospitals and the prices in your area.


Your recovery from hip replacement surgery starts as soon as the anaesthesia wears off.  As each patient has different needs, it is vital that you seek the advice of your surgeon or doctor before embarking upon any exercise programme.

Therefore it is essential that you talk to your doctor about what the recovery period involves in your case, as it helps you to achieve the best outcome.

The best way you can speed up and improve your recovery from hip replacement surgery is by making sure you take regular exercise which will restore strength and mobility to your hip. 

But don’t overdo it! This exercise should be balanced with periods of rest to allow yourself time to recover.

By being aware of the different stages of the timeline following the operation and by following the exercise guidelines set out, you should ensure a full and speedy recovery from hip replacement surgery.