For those suffering from persistent hip pain, hip replacement surgery can significantly improve mobility and quality of life. It is considered by consultants to be a major surgery, so if hip surgery is on the cards for you, it’s crucial to follow your healthcare professional’s post-surgery advice. This can help to ensure you make a full and fast recovery. This guide is designed to help you navigate your hip replacement recovery and help ensure the best outcome after your surgery.
How long is the recovery from hip replacement?
The recovery period after hip replacement surgery varies depending on the following factors:
- your health
- your age
- the type of hip surgery you need
- how closely you follow your rehabilitation programme.
By following your physiotherapy plan, you can expect to resume regular activities within two to three months of surgery. The time it takes to fully benefit from your new hip depends on how closely you follow your recovery plan. The average expected time can be up to a year, however, this will depend on the rehabilitation work you do on the muscles around the hip. Making sure these are strong will help ensure the hip returns to a good range of motion.
Hip surgery recovery times for elderly patients
Older patients are more likely to experience slower healing and reduced mobility compared to younger patients. This can make recovery slower but the overall health and mobility of the patient will play a big part.
Recovery from minimally invasive hip replacement surgery
Minimally invasive hip replacement is when the surgeon makes one or more shorter incisions over the hip. Recovery from minimally invasive hip replacement surgery is generally quicker and less intense compared to traditional open surgery.
This technique may not be suitable for all patients.
Hip replacement recovery timeline
We’ve looked at how long recovery can take, now it’s time to explore in further detail what recovery might look like on a more detailed basis.
One-to-three days after a hip replacement
The initial recovery phase typically takes place in hospital. The average hospital stay following hip replacement ranges from one to three days. During this time, pain management, monitoring, and physiotherapy are provided to help you regain strength and mobility.
If you have a hip replacement at a Practice Plus Group hospital, once the operation is over, our physiotherapists will begin working closely with you. This happens within hours of joint replacement surgery and often means you’ll be able to return home as soon as possible. Early and gentle movement can also reduce the risk of complications after surgery such as blood clots.
One-to-six weeks after surgery
Once you return home, the first few weeks are crucial for healing and adjusting to your new hip. Pain and discomfort should gradually decrease during this period. Physiotherapy will improve your range of motion, help you regain strength, and encourage regular movement.
Six-to-twelve weeks after a hip replacement
During this phase, you should experience a significant reduction in pain while your mobility improves. Physiotherapy continues to focus on increasing strength, balance and flexibility. Most patients will be able to gradually resume light activities. They should also be able to return to work if their job is not physically demanding.
Three-to-six months after a hip replacement
At this stage, pain and swelling further decrease while mobility significantly improves. Physiotherapy continues to focus on enhancing strength, endurance, and stability. Activities such as walking, swimming and low-impact exercises become more manageable.
Six months to one year after a hip replacement
By this stage, most people experience significant improvements in mobility and reduced pain
While individual experiences may vary, many people will be able to resume normal activities. These include higher-impact exercises and sports. Physiotherapy may still be ongoing at this point. The focus will likely be on maintaining strength, flexibility, and optimal joint function.
It’s important to gradually reintroduce daily activities such as driving, work, and household chores as advised by your surgeon. Follow their guidelines regarding timelines and limitations.
Please note that, even though you might be able to return to higher-impact sports, these activities could speed up wear and tear of the implant.
“I would recommend Practice Plus Group without a shadow of a doubt!”Terence Watson, hip replacement patient in Barlborough
Hip replacement recovery tips
Timelines and plans aside, the following tips can give you the best chance of a smooth hip surgery recovery:
- Book time off work: to encourage speedy recovery, make sure you book enough time off work following your surgery
- Prepare your home: your living space should be changed to ensure a safe and comfortable recovery. Arrange necessary equipment (such as a raised toilet seat, grab bars, and a stable chair with armrests) to make everyday living easier
- Hip pain management: follow your surgeon’s prescribed pain management plan. This may include medication, ice packs or heat therapy
- Physiotherapy: be sure to attend all your sessions. This will help you regain mobility and strength in your hip. Work closely with your physiotherapist to learn proper exercises and techniques to facilitate a smooth recovery
- Walking aids: use assistive devices like crutches or a walking stick as recommended by your surgeon and physiotherapist. Gradually transition to using them less as your strength improves
- Incision care: follow your surgeon’s instructions regarding incision care to minimise the risk of infection. Keep the incision clean and dry and avoid any activities that could irritate or disrupt the healing process
- Gradual weight-bearing: your surgeon will provide guidelines on when and how much weight you can put on your new hip. Initially, you may need to use assistive devices and gradually transition to full weight-bearing based on your surgeon’s instructions
- Follow post-operative guidelines: adhere to your surgeon’s post-operative guidelines regarding activity restrictions, medication usage and wound care. Report any unusual symptoms or concerns to your healthcare provider
- Gradual increase in activity: begin with gentle exercises and gradually increase your activity level as advised by your physiotherapist. Follow a structured rehabilitation program to regain flexibility, strength, and range of motion in your hip
- Nutrition and hydration: maintain a balanced diet rich in nutrients and stay well-hydrated to support the healing process. Consult with your healthcare provider for dietary recommendations tailored to you
- Rest and sleep: rest and sleep will help with the healing process. Practise good sleep hygiene by maintaining a comfortable sleep environment and following a regular night time routine
- Exercise and physical activity: when safe to do so, try regular low-impact exercises, such as swimming or cycling. This will help you maintain overall fitness and hip strength. Ask your healthcare provider for exercise recommendations
- Follow-up appointments: attend all follow-up appointments with your surgeon to monitor your progress, assess your healing, and address any concerns or complications.
Best exercises for hip replacement recovery
Walking, stationary cycling, and swimming are great low-impact forms of exercise that can help your recovery. It’s also important to follow your physio plan to gain strength. Your physio may recommend exercises such as:
- step ups
- heel raises
- heel slides
- ankle circles
- single leg stand
Remember to consult your healthcare provider or physiotherapist before returning to sport and exercise after a hip replacement!
Our enhanced recovery programme for hip replacement patients
At Practice Plus Group Hospitals, we’re passionate about giving patients a positive experience with personalised care every step of the way.
We practise the Enhanced Recovery Pathway (ERP). This is a modern, evidence-based approach that helps people speed up their recovery following major surgery. With this support you will be mobile enough to go home one or two days after your self-pay hip operation, some people are able to return home on the day of surgery.
It’s important to remember that the recovery process after hip replacement surgery is unique to each patient. Follow the guidance provided by your surgeon and healthcare team and listen to your body’s needs throughout the recovery journey. By following these guidelines and committing to your rehabilitation program, you can optimise your recovery and enjoy the benefits of improved hip function and mobility.
Hip operation recovery FAQs
Not quite found the information you’re looking for? Our dedicated hip replacement recovery FAQs can help.
Most patients can resume regular activities within two to three months. It can take up to a year to fully benefit from your new hip. This depends on how closely you follow your recovery plan.
While there’s no guaranteed “fastest” way to recover, you can maximise the chance of a complication-free recovery by reading the guidelines and tips on this page. Always follow the instructions and recommendations of your healthcare provider for optimal post-surgery results.
Hip replacement recovery can involve varying levels of pain and discomfort. However, advances in surgical techniques, anaesthesia, and pain management have significantly improved the overall experience for many patients. Be sure to follow the pain management instructions given to you by your surgeon and talk to your health provider if you are struggling to manage the pain.
One of the most frequent complications after hip replacement surgery is infection. That’s why it’s important to keep the incision area clean and dry. Minimise the risk of infection by following your surgeon’s instructions on wound care and medication.
Practice Plus Group hospitals have high levels of cleanliness and infection control. We also boast a 100% clean record for hospital-acquired infections.
Generally, you should expect to start walking (with the help of walking aids) within a few hours of your surgery. Typically, many patients can start walking unaided within four to six weeks of surgery. However, it’s important to note that individual experiences may differ.
Sitting on a sofa after hip replacement surgery is usually possible within the first few days of the procedure.
After hip replacement surgery, there are certain activities and movements that you should approach with caution. There are others you should look to avoid altogether to protect your new hip joint and ensure a successful recovery.
Consult your surgeon or physio before attempting these activities:
- high-impact activities (i.e. jumping)
- crossing your legs
- twisting at the hip
- squatting deeply
- high-risk sports (i.e. skiing)
You may be able to get back behind the wheel around six weeks post-operation. Always check with your doctor before driving again.
Returning to work will depend on the type of work you do. If your work is desk-based, you might be able to return as soon as six weeks after your operation. More physical roles could take a little longer.