What to Expect After Total Hip Replacement

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Postoperative Hip Replacement Goals

Postoperative exercise will be imperative to the success in your recovery after your total hip replacement. Upon discharge from the facility, you may receive physical therapy either as an outpatient, at home, or at another facility. It is also recommended that you continue to follow a home exercise program on a daily basis. A home exercise program will be provided for you prior to discharge from the hospital.

Weeks 1-2

  • Anticipate discharge from the hospital after 3-4 days to either home or another facility (depending your individual needs and insurance coverage)
  • Continue walking with a walker as instructed by therapist
  • Walk at least 300 feet
  • Straighten your hip completely (comfortably lie flat in bed with the operated leg out straight)
  • Bathe and dress independently
  • If your procedure includes staples, shower only after staples are removed (approximately 2 weeks)
  • Perform simple homemaking tasks
  • Perform home exercises twice per day
  • Exercises will be advanced with your physical therapist

Weeks 2-4

During this time you will gradually increase your independence. The home exercise program you received remains an important part in the ongoing management of your total hip replacement.

  • Progress ambulation to a cane as able. Your therapist will guide you and instruct you in the use of a cane (unless your weightbearing is restricted)
  • Climb a flight of stairs as needed
  • Walk approximately ¼ mile
  • Independently shower
  • Resume driving only if you had a left hip replacement
  • Resume homemaking tasks
  • Bend hip up to 90 degrees unless otherwise instructed

Weeks 4-6

During this time your outpatient or home health physical therapy will probably be completed. It is important to still continue with the home exercise program at least once per day.

  • Continue with a cane as indicated by your physical therapist. You may begin walking without your cane as directed by your therapist.
  • Progress walking to ½ mile if able
  • Advance walking up stairs to step-over-step pattern
  • Resume driving at six weeks if right hip replacement was performed
  • Resume sexual activity at six weeks while maintaining hip precautions
  • Continue to follow hip precautions until 12 weeks, if prescribed

Weeks 6-12

By the completion of 12 weeks you should be able to resume all of your activities.

  • Progress walking without the aide of a cane or a walker if you haven't to date. (unless your weight bearing is restricted.)
  • Climb stairs with normal pattern
  • Progress walking to one mile
  • Resume activities such as dancing, bowling, swimming, and golf
  • After 12 weeks you may discontinue the use of your elevated toilet seat, and discontinue the use of a pillow between your knees to sleep
The above lists are expected average goals. Your individual goals will be dependent on your needs. Your physician and therapist will assist you in developing your personal goals.