Patient’s Guide for Total Hip Surgery Recovery

hip surgery recovery


Hip surgery recovery is a critical phase that follows hip replacement surgery—one of the most common types of joint replacements. The success of the surgical procedure heavily relies on the weeks and months after surgery, where patients work closely with their care team, including an orthopedic surgeon, a physical therapist, and an occupational therapist. During this period, it’s essential for patients to gradually reintroduce daily activities while managing hip pain and preventing complications such as blood clots.

The goal is to restore muscle strength, mobility, and an independent lifestyle. Each patient’s recovery timeline varies, with some taking days after surgery to walk, while others may require weeks or even months after surgery to regain their previous activity level. Adhering to the recommended physical therapy regime and precautions is paramount to achieving the best outcomes from a major surgery such as hip replacements, which are often necessitated by conditions like osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis. Engaging in light activities and following post-operative instructions such as taking blood thinners can help mitigate the risk of blood clots and promote a smoother recovery.

Pre-Surgery Preparation

Before undergoing a major surgery such as a hip replacement, a growing number of orthopedic surgeons recommend a proactive approach known as “prehabilitation” or “prehab”. This anticipatory strategy focuses on strengthening the hip joint and surrounding muscles before the surgical procedure takes place. The rationale behind prehab is to enhance the patient’s physical condition, which can lead to a reduction in post-operative recovery time.

Benefits of Prehab

  • Improved muscle strength and endurance
  • Enhanced overall physical fitness
  • Better understanding of post-surgery exercises
  • Possibly shorter hospital stay
  • Potential for a quicker return to daily activities

Prehab Activities

Patients may be guided through a series of light activities and exercises designed to boost muscle strength and improve flexibility. It’s crucial to follow a regimen that’s tailored to individual needs and fitness levels, under the guidance of a physical therapist.

Day of Surgery

What to expect?

On the day of surgery, patients will be admitted to the hospital and prepared for the operation. After the surgical procedure, patients will wake up in the recovery room, where they will be closely monitored by medical staff. It’s common to experience some pain and discomfort following the surgery, but pain management medications will be provided to alleviate any discomfort.

Patients may also have a drainage tube to prevent fluid buildup around the surgical site, and they will be assisted in getting up and moving as soon as they are able. The care team will provide clear instructions on how to care for the surgical incision and any necessary precautions to take.

It’s important to remember that each individual’s experience may vary, but understanding the general process can help alleviate any anxiety or concerns. Close communication with the medical team and following their instructions will be crucial in the initial phase of post-operative care.

Post-Surgery Recovery

Post-Surgery Recovery

As you progress through the weeks after hip replacement surgery, your recovery will become more evident. You will gradually increase your activity level under the guidance of a physical therapist, who will tailor exercises to improve muscle strength and support the new hip joint. Typically, this includes a range of physical therapy sessions that focus on regaining flexibility and strength.

Immediate post-surgery procedures

Routine check-ups with your orthopedic surgeon are vital to ensure that the hip joint is healing correctly. These appointments are opportunities to address any concerns and monitor the new hip’s integration with the body.

Long-Term Recovery

Timeline and Tips

Long-term recovery after a private hip replacement surgery can vary from person to person, but typically it spans several months after surgery. To support the healing process, it’s crucial to stay well-informed and follow the care plan provided by your healthcare team.

Days after surgeryPain management, initial mobilization.
Weeks after surgeryIncreased walking, and light activities.
1-3 months after surgeryImproved muscle strength, and more independence in daily activities.
3-6 months after surgeryReturn to most daily activities, pain relief.

Tips for a Smooth Recovery

  • Consistent Physical Therapy: Work regularly with your physical therapist to regain full function of your hip joint.
  • Follow Medication Guidelines: Take pain medication and blood thinners, if prescribed, to manage discomfort and reduce the risk of blood clots.
  • Mind Your Diet: A normal diet, possibly with extra iron, is beneficial for recovery. Talk to your nutritionist about any particular dietary needs.
  • Exercise Caution with Activities: Resume normal activities as suggested by your care team, but avoid high-impact exercises unless approved.
  • Attend All Follow-Up Appointments: Keep up with appointments with your orthopedic surgeon to ensure that your joint replacements are healing as expected.

Role of Timely Medical Alternatives CA

Timely Medical Alternatives CA has garnered a reputation for its expertise in private hip surgery in Vancouver, which is widely considered a major surgery. Their team of seasoned orthopedic surgeons is proficient in numerous surgical procedures, including common types of hip replacements that provide a solution to debilitating hip pain and conditions like Rheumatoid arthritis. If you are looking for experts who can do hip surgery near Canada, give us a call or send us an email.


Recovery from hip surgery, specifically hip replacements, is a journey that spans from days to months after surgery. Essential to this process is the guidance of a care team, including physical and occupational therapists. Patients typically notice an improvement in hip joint functionality a few weeks after surgery, allowing a gradual return to daily activities. Physical therapy is crucial for regaining muscle strength, while light activities are often encouraged early to mitigate the risk of blood clots, for which a blood thinner might be prescribed.


What 3 things should be avoided after hip replacement surgery?

After undergoing hip replacement surgery, patients should avoid certain activities to ensure a smooth recovery. The following are three critical actions to avoid:

  1. Crossing Legs: Patients should not cross the operated leg over the other, as it can dislocate the new hip joint.
  2. High-Impact Activities: Engaging in high-impact activities such as running or jumping is discouraged because it can increase wear on the new joint and lead to complications.
  3. Bending at the Hip: Avoid bending at the hip beyond 90 degrees, for example, during picking up items from the ground, as it can compromise the surgical site and the hip’s stability.

How long are you on bed rest after a hip replacement?

Bed rest is generally not mandatory for an extended period after hip replacement surgery. Patients are often encouraged to get up and move, with assistance, as early as the day after surgery. The duration of limited mobility will depend on the individual’s specific circumstances and the orthopedic surgeon’s recommendations, but typically, only a short period of bed rest—ranging from a few hours to a day—is required before beginning to mobilize.

What is the average recovery time for a total hip replacement?

The average hip surgery recovery time following a total hip replacement can be categorized into various stages:

  • Short-term recovery: This involves the ability to move around the house and perform self-care activities; this stage often lasts for 3-6 weeks after surgery.
  • Long-term recovery: Involves the complete healing of surgical wounds and internal soft tissues and the full return to normal activities. This period can take anywhere from 3-6 months.

Keep in mind that recovery times can vary greatly among individuals, and factors such as age, pre-surgery health status, and adherence to physical therapy regimens play a significant role in the overall recovery process.

About The Author

Christian Baker

Christian was born in a Group Health hospital in Washington state and holds both American & Canadian citizenship. Christian is the head of our diagnostic & ambulatory surgery department for our Canadian…

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