If there are no complications after your hip replacement surgery, you can do exercises that safely increase blood flow to your new joint and increase your muscle strength. Your orthopedic doctor or physical therapist will teach you exercises that you can perform as early as the first day after your surgery.
It is important that you avoid movements that cause your new hip to roll inward or bending your lower limb beyond your hip joint.
Safe Exercises After Your Hip Replacement
These exercises are done while you are lying on the hospital bed as you recover. Your physical therapist may also include them as part of your home exercise program. While most of these exercises are safe, you should ask your doctor or physical therapist whether they are right for you, especially if you have other health problems such as high blood pressure.
Try not to hold your breath as you perform the exercises.
Ankle Pumping Exercises
- Gently move your foot toward your shin and then away.
- Do this several times a day.
- You can perform this exercise as often as every 10 to 15 minutes.
Ankle Inversion and Eversion
- To do an ankle inversion, slowly turn you foot inward (inversion) with the bottom of your foot facing the other.
- Next, move your foot outward (eversion), the bottom of your foot facing away from your other foot.
- Repeat 5 times in each direction 3 to 4 times a day.
Gluteal Sets (Buttock Contractions)
- Gently tighten your gluteals (buttock muscles). Keep your leg straight and your buttocks flat on the bed.
- Hold for 5 seconds / 5 counts.
- Repeat 10 times each set 3 to 4 times per day.
Quads / Quadriceps Setting
- Gently tighten your quads (front thigh muscles) with your knee pushing down on the bed surface.
- Hold this for 5 to 10 seconds or 5-10 counts. Increase your hold time to 15 seconds if the exercise becomes easier for you.
- You can repeat this exercise until you feel that your thigh is slightly fatigued.
Bed-supported Knee Bending / Heel Slides
- While lying in bed, gently bend your knee, sliding your heel toward your buttocks.
- Do not lift you heel off the bed.
- Repeat 10 times 3 to 4 times a day.
Hip Abduction Exercise
- Slowly slide your leg away from the other as far as you can. Avoid rolling your hip inward as you move.
- Slowly return to original position.
- Repeat exercise 10 times, 4 times a day.
Straight Leg Raising (SLR)
- Straighten your knee and tighten your thigh muscles.
- Try to raise your leg several inches off from the bed surface.
- Hold for 5 seconds, and then slowly lower returning to your original position
- Repeat 10 times or until you feel slight fatigue of your thigh.
The exercises discussed above are just a few of the safe exercises that you can do following your hip replacement surgery. Again, your doctor or physical therapist should be present at first so that they can give you feedback if you are performing the exercises properly or if there are other precautions that you should observe.
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