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Hip Replacement Surgery

Exercises to Improve Recovery After Hip Replacement Surgery

​Begin After You Have Seen Your Surgeon or a Physical Therapist

It is important to exercise after surgery to increase the strength and flexibility in your new hip and to help prevent blood clots. You may feel uncomfortable at first, but exercising will help you to get back to your normal everyday activities sooner.

Your healthcare team may suggest you add some or all of the following exercises to the ones you began at home before surgery. Start doing them only after you have been seen by your surgeon at your first follow-up visit after surgery. Continue the exercises you were doing before surgery . Your healthcare team will give you the elastic loop you need for some of the exercises. They will tell you how often to do the exercises, how many times to repeat each one, and how much force or pressure you can put on your new hip. You will steadily increase the number of times you exercise daily, how often you repeat each exercise, and the amount of pressure.

Do the exercises on both legs to make them equally strong and flexible. Do them slowly and with control. Make sure you do not force your new hip into a position that causes you pain or discomfort.

Exercise 1: Increase hip flexibility and strength

  • Lie on your side with hips and knees bent and a pillow between your knees.
  • Keep your feet together.
  • Do not twist or use your back muscles.
  • Lift the top knee off the pillow like a clam shell opening.
  • Hold for a count of 3 to 5 and slowly lower the knee to the pillow. Repeat.

Exercise 2: Increase hip flexibility and strength

  • Lie on your side with the bottom leg bent to stop you from rolling onto your back.
  • Keeping the top leg straight, lift it toward the ceiling making sure you do not roll forward or backward.
  • Slowly lower the leg. Repeat.

Exercise 3: Increase hip flexibility and strengthen hips and stomach muscles

  • Lie on your back with one leg bent.
  • Tighten your stomach muscles and lift your bent leg being careful not to bend it more than 90 degrees.
  • Keeping your stomach muscles tight, slowly lower the leg back to the starting position. Repeat.

Exercise 4: Strengthen hips

  • Lie on your stomach.
  • Tighten your buttocks and lift one leg.
  • Hold for a count of 3 to 5 and slowly lower your leg. Repeat.

Exercise 5: Increase leg flexibility and strengthen back thigh muscles

  • Lie on your stomach with your legs straight.
  • Bend one leg, lifting the heel toward your buttocks.
  • Slowly lower your leg to the starting position. Repeat.

Exercise 6: Strengthen front thigh muscles

  • Sit in a steady chair and place an elastic loop around both ankles.
  • Lifting one foot, straighten your leg while keeping the other foot on the floor as you stretch the elastic loop.
  • Slowly lower your foot and return to the starting position. Repeat.

Exercise 7: Strengthen back thigh muscles

  • Sit in a steady chair and place an elastic loop around both ankles.
  • Pull one foot back under the chair while keeping the other foot steady as you stretch the elastic loop.
  • Slowly return to the starting position. Repeat.

Exercise 8: Strengthen hips

  • Sit in a steady chair, place an elastic loop around both thighs and keep both feet flat on the floor.
  • Pull your legs apart, sliding your feet along the floor to stretch the elastic loop.
  • Hold for a count of 3 to 5 and slowly move your legs together to the starting position. Repeat.

Exercise 9: Strengthen hips and improve balance

  • Place one end of an elastic loop around a table leg and the other end around one ankle.
  • Hold onto the table for balance and stand straight.
  • Keeping your leg straight, pull your ankle sideways away from the table to stretch the elastic loop.
  • Hold for a count of 3 to 5 and slowly return to the starting position. Repeat.

Exercise 10: Strengthen hips

  • Place one end of an elastic loop around a table leg and the other end around one ankle.
  • Hold onto the table for balance and stand straight, facing the table.
  • Keeping your leg straight, pull your ankle back and away from the table to stretch the elastic loop.
  • Hold for a count of 3 to 5 and slowly return to the starting position. Repeat.

Exercise 11: Strengthen hips

  • Place one end of an elastic loop around a table leg and the other end around one ankle.
  • Hold onto the table for balance and stand straight with your back to the table.
  • Keeping your leg straight, push your ankle forward away from the table to stretch the elastic loop.
  • Hold for a count of 3 to 5 and slowly return to the starting position. Repeat.

Exercise 12: Strengthen leg muscles and improve balance


  • Place a city telephone book or solid object of about the same thickness on the floor to use as a step.
  • Holding onto a table or counter for balance, step forward and up onto the object.
  • Slowly step back down. Repeat.

Exercise 13: Strengthen leg muscles and improve balance

  • Place a city telephone book or solid object of about the same thickness on the floor to use as a step.
  • Holding onto a table or counter for balance, step sideways and up onto the object.
  • Slowly step back down. Repeat.

Exercise 14: Strengthen leg muscles and improve balance

  • Holding onto a table or counter for balance, shift your weight onto your operated leg as you lift the other foot off the floor.
  • Stay level – don’t lean or tip to one side as you move.
  • Try to stay balanced on one leg for 30 seconds.
  • Lower your foot to the floor.
  • Repeat for a total of 5 minutes.
  • Switch to the other leg.

For more information, see:
Hip Replacement Surgery

Last reviewed: January 31, 2013

Author: Alberta Bone and Joint Health Institute

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