Exercises to Recover from Total Hip Replacement Surgery
After you have hip replacement surgery it is extremely important to do exercises so that you can return to good function for all the activities you do on a daily basis. Recovery from total hip replacement requires many factors including gradual healing, nutrition, physiotherapy, and progressive exercises. Here you will learn what exercises you need to regain strength for your hip post-surgery.
Depending on your surgeon and the surgical approach used during your hip replacement surgery, you will need to focus building muscular endurance back in both your gluteus medius and gluteus maximus muscles. There are different exercises to strengthen each and when implemented into your post hip surgery exercise program, they will help you recover quicker.
The first two exercises you can start with to strengthen your gluteus medius are the clam shell and side leg raise. These are also referred to as your abductor or lateral hip muscles. It is recommended to start with the clam shell exercise and then progress to the side leg raise when the clam shell becomes easy. Performing these exercises with good form is essential to targeting the muscle properly and gaining good strength back so that you can build to weight bearing exercises. You can view videos on these post hip replacement exercise videos here:
Clam Shell / Gluteus Medius hip strength exercise:
Side Leg Raise / Gluteus Medius hip strength exercise:
The difference these exercises can make as seen in the results of people who do these post hip surgery in comparison to those who do not include all of the following:
- Better gait
- Endurance standing and walking
- Pelvis stability & therefore reduced back pain
- Improved overall strength in daily activities
- Better balance
- Increased confidence & ability on stairs & uneven surfaces
- Decreased pain
- Increased range of motion & flexibility
Now, to build strength back in your gluteus maximus or hip extension muscles you need to target a different area and therefore perform one to two more exercises to target this muscle. It is important post hip replacement surgery to start with non-weight bearing exercises until you have built back enough strength to support your own body weight. Hence, the two hip extension exercises recommended to start with are the bridge lift and prone one leg hip extension. The bridge lift will target your gluteus maximus, but the term ‘lazy butt’ came from these muscles for sure as they will have shut off or disengaged from firing automatically post-surgery. Therefore, you may need to consciously think about contracting them and ensure you are activating both the left and right muscles with special focus on the operated leg. Not only will you gain strength from these exercises, but you will also benefit from improving your range of motion in to greater hip extension by doing both of them. My recommendation would be to start with the bridge exercise, but then to progress to single leg prone hip extension. The single leg exercise is excellent to target both strength and range of motion on the operated leg and will also give you a comparison to the non-operated leg as a bench mark.
These exercises are just the beginning of your post hip replacement exercise program. There are many exercise progressions you will want to move through and other areas that need to be strengthened including:
- Core Stability
- Back Extensors
Your goal with recovery from hip replacement is to implement the following exercise plan:
- Gradual return to cardiovascular exercise (stationary biking upright bike,walking)
- Gentle stretching of tight muscles
- Progress from non-weight bearing to weight bearing exercises
- Over time graduate and include one leg strength exercises
- Build core stability
- Improve posture
- Practice and regain balance
It is best to work with a physiotherapist directly post hip replacement surgery for a minimum of six weeks. Your recovery and work is not done when you finish with your physiotherapy! We have seen the best results of returning to great function and pain free mobility in individuals who kept there hip exercise program going consistently 2-3 times a week for at least a year.
To learn exactly what exercises you need to recover from hip replacement surgery and find out more details about a complete hip replacement exercise program visit: http://hipreplacementexercises.net.
About Jody Kennett
I am a fitness and exercise expert with over 15 years experience as a certified ACE Advanced Exercise Specialist. My studies in Kinesiology at Simon Fraser University started a passion that has grown in to an area of expertise to help people with knee and hip replacements. When I realized the successful, unique joint replacement exercise program we had built in our local community was in demand for so many people, I got right to work on creating a training manual and workshop for instructors. As I found instructors were coming from as far away as Scotland for training, it was apparent that the expertise I had gained should be shared and made available to the world. Therefore, both a knee and hip replacement exercise e-book and video were created to reach people globally. You can view these resources at www.kneereplacementexercises.net and www.hipreplacementexercises.net