Hip Surgery Recovery

By | Filed under: Hip Pain


Hip Surgery Recovery
Hip Replacement Illustration

Effective Hip Surgery Recovery requires that a number of factors are considered carefully.

Factors such as:

  • The type of hip surgery undertaken;
  • The condition of your hip before surgery;
  • Physical exercises carried out both before and after surgery;
  • Your age;
  • Your general health and;
  • Your attitude!

In this article we will look at each of these in turn and see how they contribute to a successful, and lasting, Hip Surgery Recovery.

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  1. Type of hip surgery undertaken: There are many types of hip surgeries. However the most common type that I see in my physiotherapy practice are hip replacements. This is where a part or the whole of your hip joint is replaced with an artificial joint.

    Your hip joint is a ball and socket joint. The ball is the head of your thigh bone called the femur and the socket is part of your pelvic bone called the acetabulum. In partial joint replacements the surface of one or both of the bones is replaced with a suitable material. In total hip replacements the entire head and socket are replaced with an artificial joint.

    Hip replacement materials have improved greatly in recent years as have the surgical procedures and the post operative exercise rehabilitation. Overall, it appears to be the most successful joint replacement in the body and usually leads to a whole new lease of life in people who undergo it successfully.

    Another type of hip surgery that I encounter is an arthroscopy. This is where the surgeon performs key hole surgery and simply washes out your hip joint, getting rid of any loose material interfering in its mechanics. Sometimes this is very effective and other times it appears to have no affect at all.

Total Hip Replacement recovery
Illustration fo a total Hip Replacement
  1. Condition of Hip before Surgery: If you have had severe hip problems over a long period of time you may have developed significant muscle and ligament problems. In these instances I usually find that recovery takes longer and requires a lot of physiotherapy intervention. If, however, you have arthritis in your hip joint and have been doing the exercises required to prevent your muscles and ligaments from deteriorating you should be fine!

    Always seek a physiotherapists/physical therapist’s opinion at the early stages of hip pain and stiffness. Prevention is always better than cure!

  2. Physiotherapy exercises done before and after surgery: Too often I encounter people after hip surgery that has not performed any physiotherapy exercises. They inform me that they were told by their doctors that there was no need. Well, I disagree!!! Due respect to all the wonderful doctors out there, but if your muscles are prepared for your operation your recovery will be much quicker and easier.
Hip Surgery Recovery exercises
Exercises before and after hip surgery helps recovery

Six weeks prior to your operation attend a good therapist who will advise you on the exercises that you need to do, to prepare for your individual operation. It also allows the therapist to see the condition of your leg and walking pattern pre-operatively which will assist you both in your post operative recovery.

Post-operative exercises are a must. Normal walking and climbing stairs will take you so far, but the specific exercises, done correctly, will make your recovery more effective and quicker.

4. Age: Your age will have an effect on your hip surgery recovery. The younger and healthier that you are - the better the recovery is likely to be. However, I have frequently treated 70 plus year olds - who after doing their exercises diligently - have recovered as well as, if not better than a 30 year old who has not exercised! So, regardless of age, exercises are a must!

  1. General health: Your general health will be a factor in your recovery from hip surgery. If your bones and body systems are healthy then your healing will be better. So, eat well, keep your weight down, don’t smoke and keep as fit as you can. All these factors will assist in your hip surgery recovery.

  2. Attitude: Having the correct attitude is a great plus. I treat up to 60 clients a week, and it is a fact that those with a healthy positive, determined attitude do better and quicker than the negative ones. So keep your chin up and good luck!

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Hip Surgery Recovery - Harry’s Story.

A recent example of hip surgery recovery that I encountered was this. Harry was sixty. He was a farmer. He had been suffering with intermittent hip pain for 15 years and had done nothing about it! Eventually he came to me 4 months ago. On examination he had severe hip pain with a suggestive extreme degree of hip arthritis. I sent Harry for an x-ray.

Results showed severe arthritis.

I referred him to an orthopaedic surgeon who agreed to replace his hip joint six weeks later. Over that six weeks I saw Harry three times and loosened his hip through physiotherapy and an intensive home exercise programme to strengthen his leg and bum muscles. He was operated on - and three weeks later he is pain-free and walking with no crutches after a further three weeks.

I continued to see Harry weekly for another three weeks to help improve his movement and strength. After that he was fully functional and pain free as he followed “the book” correctly!

Hip surgery recovery is usually great with the correct advice and approach.


While the content and materials contained in the articles on this website have been written & researched by Sally Ann Quirke, a professional, practising & fully qualified Chartered Physiotherapist (Physical Therapist) based in Ireland, they are provided for general information and educational purposes only. They do not constitute medical advice on any particular individual situation. Please see your Chartered Physiotherapist or other medical practitioner for full and individual consultation.

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