Recovering from hip replacement surgery
Although every patient recovers differently, here are some of the things you may expect in the days and weeks following hip replacement surgery.
Immediately following surgery
Your orthopaedic surgeon, nurses and physical therapists will closely monitor your recovery progress.
Your hospital stay will typically last from 1 to 4 days, depending on the speed of your recovery. If your hip replacement is done on an outpatient basis, you will go home on the same day as surgery.3
Once you’ve been moved to a regular hospital room, the physical therapist will recommend certain exercises for your replaced hip.
Initially, activity may cause discomfort, so your care team may recommend pain medication prior to physical therapy. Gradually, your pain medication will be reduced, the IV will be removed, your diet will progress to solids, and you will become increasingly mobile.
Your physical therapist will talk with you about how to continue your progress after your hospital stay. They will also go over exercises to help improve your mobility.
An occupational therapist may show you how to best perform daily activities, such as putting on socks, reaching for household items, and bathing.
A case manager will discuss plans for your return home and will ensure that you have all the necessary help to support a successful recovery.
Once you get home
In the weeks following surgery, certain limitations are placed on every patient’s activities. Using a cane or walker may be necessary for several weeks.
Call your doctor to report or discuss any concerns
Ask your doctor about how to care for the wound
Ask your doctor about any unusual symptoms that you should look out for after surgery. This may include, but is not limited to, pain in your leg unrelated to your incision, persistent fever, severe swelling, or drainage from the wound.
Movement is essential to a healthy recovery. Once light activity becomes possible, it’s important to incorporate healthy exercise into your recovery program. Recommended activities include gradually increased walking and light household activities, such as climbing stairs. Work with your physical therapist to determine what’s right for you.
Life after total hip replacement
Hip replacement has serious risks. However, after the initial recovery from surgery, most people can resume normal routine activities within the first 3 to 6 weeks of their total hip replacement.1 When fully recovered, the majority of individuals who have joint replacement surgery experience a dramatic reduction in joint pain and a significant improvement in their ability to participate in daily activities.2
It’s important to know that hip replacement surgery will not allow you to do more than you could before joint problems developed. Also, athletic activities that place excessive stress on the replaced joint, such as basketball, distance running, contact sports or frequent jumping, should be avoided. Your doctor will work with you to determine the most appropriate level of activity for you.