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 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.
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:
Follow specific directions given to you by your surgeon, therapist or nurse.
For the most comfort, do your exercises lying down. Your bed is an excellent place to do your exercises.
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 each foot clockwise and counterclockwise, keeping your toes pointed toward the ceiling.
Tighten the muscles on the front of your thigh by pushing the back of your knee down into the bed. Hold for five seconds and relax.
Tighten your buttocks muscles by squeezing the muscles together. Hold for five seconds and relax.
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 plastic bag under your heel to help it slide easier. Repeat with opposite leg.
Important: Depending on your surgery, you may need to keep your hip from bending over a 90-degree angle. Ask your surgeon if you have questions about your restrictions.
Slide your leg out to the side, keeping your kneecap pointed up toward the ceiling. Slide your leg back to return to the starting position. You may want to use a plastic bag under your heel to help it slide easier. Repeat with opposite leg.
Important: Depending on your surgery, you may not be able to do this exercise on your own. Ask your surgeon if you have questions about your restrictions.
Lie on your back with a three-pound coffee can or rolled blanket under your knee. Straighten your knee. Hold for five seconds. Slowly lower your leg down and relax. The back of your knee should stay in contact with the can/blanket during the exercise. Repeat with opposite leg.
Sit in a sturdy chair. Lift your foot, straightening your knee as much as possible. Try to keep your knees level, as if you were holding a tray on your lap. Hold for five seconds. Slowly lower your leg down and relax. Return to the starting position and repeat with opposite leg.
Do these exercises only if instructed by a therapist or surgeon.
Bend your nonsurgical leg with foot flat on the bed. Raise your surgical leg up (about 12 inches), keeping your knee straight. Hold briefly. Progress to holding for five seconds. Slowly lower your leg down and relax.
Bend your surgical knee a little and tighten the muscle along the back of your thigh by digging your heel into the bed. Hold for five seconds and relax.
Tighten muscles on the outside part of your thigh by pushing the surgical leg outward against an immovable object. Hold for five seconds and relax.
Slowly raise your buttocks from the bed, keeping your stomach muscles tight. Hold for ______ seconds (get therapist or surgeon's recommendation for length of time). Slowly lower your buttocks down and relax.
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. Important: Talk with your therapist about how far you should walk each day so you don’t overdo it.
Allina Health's Patient Education Department, Total Hip Replacement, fourth edition, ortho-ah-90139
Allina Health's Patient Education Department experts
Make sure to balance your activities with periods of rest.
Remember to also continue to do your breathing exercises.