Post hip surgery, many patients benefit from doing light exercises under the supervision of a physiotherapist. In many cases, this is highly recommended by orthopedic surgeons and an essential building block towards a successful recovery. Some exercises are listed below for reference, however, the patient must check with his/her orthopedic surgeon as well as his/her physiotherapist before trying them out post-surgery.
Week 1 – Week 3
The first three weeks are very important for regaining motion in the new hip. Initially, the patient will walk with the help of an assistive device like a walker. The surgeon and the physiotherapist will prescribe when the patient can switch from a walker to crutches to a cane and finally to walking without support. The surgeon may also recommend that the patient doesn’t sit for over 2 hours at a time and takes frequent short walks.
Week 3 – Week 6
In this period, the physiotherapist may start adding exercises (some of which are listed below) to improve the range of motion of the new hip and strengthen muscles. The exercises will also help increase circulation and prevent blood clots. Do not attempt any of the below exercises without the supervision and guidance of a licensed practitioner.
- Foot & Ankle Pumps:
One can move their feet up and down gradually and slowly to improve circulation.
- Lower buttock squeeze:
The patient can try lying on their back and squeezing their buttocks as if holding a pencil between them.
- Knee straightening:
The patient can lie on a bed with a pillow under the knees. He/she can then lift the foot up and down slowly and gently.
Week 6-Week 12
The new hip is likely to have strengthened considerably by the time it is 6 weeks after surgery. The physiotherapist is likely to add more strenuous exercises to the regimen for increased strength and flexibility. Some examples are listed below.
- Straight Leg Lift
The patient can practice this by standing using a counter for support. He/she should then station themselves using their non-operated leg and lift the operated leg up and down without twisting the hip.
- Hip Abduction
Hip abduction can be practiced by pushing the leg outward against a stationary object while lying down. The pose should be held for 5 seconds before bringing the leg back in. This can help tighten the muscles on the outer thigh.
Riding a stationary bike is a great way to regain hip strength and mobility. The seat height should be set low so that the bottom of the foot touches the pedal without bending the knee.
Note: Please consult your surgeon/doctor before finalizing your exercise plan.