Home exercise program: Exercises after hip replacement surgery
Once you return home, exercise is still important to prevent complications and
to build strength, as well as improve the motion of your hip. This will help
you to increase your activity level to what it was before surgery.
Your leg muscles probably feel weak because you didn't use them much with your
hip problems. Surgery corrected the hip problem.
A regular exercise program
A regular exercise program will strengthen the weakened muscles. Your success
with rehabilitation largely depends on your commitment to follow the exercise
program developed by your therapists.
Ideally, you should exercise two to three times a day, every day, after surgery.
Follow specific directions given to you by your doctor, therapist or nurse.
Complete each exercise 10 times. If you are comfortable with the exercise,
increase the repetitions by five times each week, until you reach 20 repetitions:
- week one: 10 repetitions
- week two: 15 repetitions
- week three: 20 repetitions.
For the most comfort, do your exercises lying down. Your bed is an excellent
place to do your exercises.
Ankle pumps and circles
Bend both your ankles up, pulling your toes toward you, then bend both
your ankles down, pointing your toes away from you. In addition, rotate
your foot clockwise and counterclockwise, keeping your toes pointed toward
Thigh squeezes (quadriceps sets)
Tighten the muscles in front of your thigh by pushing the back of your
knee down into the bed. Hold for 5 seconds and relax.
Heel slides (hip and knee flexion)
Bend your hip and knee by sliding your heel up toward your buttocks while
keeping your heel on the bed. Slide your heel back down to the starting
position. Keep your kneecap pointed up toward the ceiling during the exercise.
You may want to use a cookie sheet under your heel to help it slide easier.
Leg slides (abduction/adduction)
Slide your involved leg out to the side, keeping your kneecap pointed
up toward the ceiling. Slide your leg back to the starting position. You
may want to use a cookie sheet under your heel to help it slide easier.
Lying kicks (short arc quadriceps)
Lie on your back with a 3-pound coffee can or rolled blanket under your
involved knee. Straighten your involved knee. Hold for 5 seconds. Slowly
lower your leg down and relax. The back of your knee should stay in contact
with the can/blanket throughout the exercise.
Buttocks squeezes (gluteal sets)
Tighten your buttocks muscles by squeezing the muscles together. Hold
for 5 seconds.
Sitting kicks (long arc quads)
Sit in a sturdy chair. Straighten your knee as much as possible. Hold
for 5 seconds. Slowly lower your leg down and relax.
Optional hip exercises
Bend your involved knee a little and tighten the muscle along the back
of your thigh by digging your heel into the bed. Hold for 5 seconds.
Tighten muscles on the outside part of your thigh by pushing the involved
leg outward against an immovable object. Hold for 5 seconds and relax.
Straight leg raises
Bend your uninvolved leg with foot flat on the bed. Raise your involved
leg up (about 12 inches), keeping your knee straight. Hold briefly. Progress
to holding for 5 seconds and relax.
Slowly raise your buttocks from the bed, keeping your stomach muscles
tight. Hold for ______ seconds. Slowly lower your buttocks to the bed.
Relax and repeat.
Besides your exercise program, you must leave time for walking. Walking helps
build your strength and endurance.
Walk around your home three to five times each day. Trips to the bathroom or
kitchen are not enough. Progress to walking outside and in the community.
Worksheet: Home exercise program schedule (requires Adobe Reader)
Advanced standing exercises after hip replacement surgery
Physical medicine and rehabilitation specialists
Total hip replacement
Source: Allina Patient Education, Total Hip Replacement, third edition, ortho-ahc-90139
First published: 10/01/2000
Last updated: 03/01/2007
Reviewed by: Allina Patient Education experts