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Hip replacement: Phase 1 exercises before surgery

Hip Replacement

Phase 1 exercises before surgery

Begin these exercises now to build your strength, and keep doing them after surgery.

Your case manager or rehab team will tell you when to start phase 2 exercises (about 6 weeks after your surgery). Exercise is part of a successful surgery and getting back to normal, everyday living.

It is important to do the leg exercises on your surgical leg. If you are able, you can do the exercises on both legs.

Do all exercises slowly and with control 2 to 3 times a day. You can increase the number of times as long as it doesn't hurt too much.

Lying-down exercises (bed exercises)

Exercise 1: Ankle pumps

ankle pumps

  1. Lie on your back.
  2. Bend your ankle to move your foot up and down. Do 1 foot at a time.
  3. Repeat at least 10 times for each foot.

You can also do this exercise while sitting in a sturdy chair.

Exercise 2: Thigh and buttocks squeeze

thigh and buttocks squeeze

  1. Lie on your back.
  2. Squeeze your buttocks (bum) together.
  3. Hold for a count of 5. Don't forget to breathe.
  4. Repeat at least 10 times.

Exercise 3: Knee bend

knee bend

  1. Lie on your back.
  2. Tighten your lower stomach muscles by pulling your belly button down towards your spine.
  3. Bend your knee by sliding your heel along the bed toward your buttocks. You may bend your other knee for support.
  4. Make sure your knee faces the ceiling while it is moving.
  5. Hold for a count of 3 to 5.
  6. Slowly straighten your knee by sliding your heel back to your starting position.
  7. Repeat at least 5 times.

Exercise 4: Strengthen your legs and hips

strengthen your legs and hips

  1. Lie on your back.
  2. Slide your leg out to the side. Keep your knee straight and toes pointed to the ceiling while you slide your leg. Don't go any further than shown in the picture.
  3. Hold for a count of 3 to 5.
  4. Slide your leg back to the starting point.
  5. Repeat at least 5 times.

Exercise 5: Front thigh squeeze

front thigh squeeze

  1. Lie on your back.
  2. Place a firm, rolled up towel under your knee.
  3. Straighten your other leg, lifting your foot off the bed.
  4. Hold for a count of 3 to 5.
  5. Slowly lower your leg.
  6. Repeat at least 5 times.

Exercise 6: Stomach muscles (core stability)

core stability

  1. Lie on your back.
  2. Bend both knees and keep your feet flat.
  3. Tighten your lower stomach muscles by pulling your belly button towards your spine.
  4. Breathe normally while holding for a count of 3 to 5.
  5. Relax and repeat at least 5 times.

Sitting exercises

Exercise 1: Sitting knee straightening

sitting knee straightening

  1. Sit on a sturdy chair.
  2. Lift your foot and straighten your knee.
  3. Hold for a count of 3 to 5.
  4. Slowly lower your foot to the floor.
  5. Repeat at least 5 times.

Exercise 2: Sitting knee bends

sitting knee bends

  1. Sit on a sturdy chair with your feet flat on the floor.
  2. Slowly slide your foot back as far as you can.
  3. Hold for a count of 3 to 5.
  4. Slowly slide your foot back to the starting position.
  5. Repeat at least 5 times.

Exercise 3: Armchair push-ups

armchair push-ups

  1. Sit on a sturdy chair with your feet flat on the floor.
  2. Push up with both arms to lift yourself a few inches off the seat.
  3. Hold for a count of 3 to 5.
  4. Slowly lower yourself back onto the chair.
  5. Repeat at least 5 times.

Standing exercises

When you do these exercises, stand up straight, pull your belly button to your spine, and tighten the muscles in your buttocks.

Exercise 1: Heel raises

standing heel raises

  1. Place both hands on a supportive surface for balance, like a chair or a counter.
  2. Stand with equal weight on both feet.
  3. Raise both heels off the ground. (Go up on your toes.)
  4. Lower both heels at the same time slowly.
  5. Start with 10 repetitions. (Raise and lower your heels 10 times.)
  6. Repeat at least 5 times.

Exercise 2: Strengthen your legs and hips

strengthen legs and hips

  1. Hold on to a table or counter for support.
  2. Slowly move your leg out to the side and then back to the middle.
  3. Keep your leg straight and your toes pointing forward at all times.
  4. Repeat at least 5 times.

Exercise 3: Leg and buttocks squeeze

leg and buttocks squeeze

  1. Hold on to a table or counter for support.
  2. Keeping your back and legs straight, slowly move your leg behind you.
  3. Keep your leg straight and be careful not to lean forward.
  4. Bring your leg back to your starting position.
  5. Repeat at least 5 times.

Exercise 4: Knee lift

standing knee lift

  1. Hold on to a table or counter for support.
  2. Lift your knee, like you're going up a step.
  3. Hold for a count of 3 to 5.
  4. Slowly lower your foot to the floor.
  5. Repeat at least 5 times.

Exercise 5: Standing knee bend

standing knee bend

  1. Hold on to a table or counter for support.
  2. Keeping your back and legs straight, bend your knee by lifting your heel towards your buttocks. Be careful not to move your thigh forward.
  3. Hold for a count of 3 to 5.
  4. Slowly lower your foot to the floor.
  5. Repeat at least 5 times.

Exercise 6: Mini knee bends (squats)

mini knee bends

  1. Hold on to a table or counter for support.
  2. Stand with your legs shoulder-width apart and your toes pointed forward.
  3. Keeping your weight on your heels, slowly bend your knees so you can still see your toes, keeping your heels on the floor and your knees apart. Stick your buttocks back like you are starting to sit down.
  4. Hold for a count of 3 to 5.
  5. Slowly return to your starting position.
  6. Repeat at least 5 times.

For more information on physiotherapy services in Alberta, visit ahs.ca/physio.

To see this information online and learn more, visit MyHealth.Alberta.ca/health/aftercareinformation/pages/conditions.aspx?hwid=custom.ab_hipreplacement_phase1_exercise_inst.

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For 24/7 nurse advise and general health information call Health Link at 811.

Current as of: November 23, 2023

Author: Bone and Joint Health SCN, Alberta Health Services

This material is not a substitute for the advice of a qualified health professional. This material is intended for general information only and is provided on an "as is", "where is" basis. Although reasonable efforts were made to confirm the accuracy of the information, Alberta Health Services does not make any representation or warranty, express, implied or statutory, as to the accuracy, reliability, completeness, applicability or fitness for a particular purpose of such information. Alberta Health Services expressly disclaims all liability for the use of these materials, and for any claims, actions, demands or suits arising from such use.

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