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Total hip replacement rehabilitation protocol

This information is intended to complement what you will receive from the hospital when you are admitted. Its aim is to help you prepare for your joint surgery and subsequent return home and to give a few pointers as to what to expect. The Precision Surgery website will also give you a good guide to hip replacement surgery.

Prior to surgery

Many surgeons advise having some physiotherapy prior to your operation, to make sure that your muscles are in the best possible state beforehand. This can really help to aid and speed up your recovery.


Your stay in hospital will be about five days. During this time you will be seen by a physiotherapist, who will help you to walk and teach you some basic exercises for you to continue when you go home. Usually there is the opportunity of hydrotherapy for a couple of days; this is a good way of relieving some of the stiffness you may have and helping with your general mobility. Before your discharge the physiotherapist will make sure you are confident going up and down stairs.

Patients are often concerned about dislocating their hip after surgery. This happens very rarely but the physiotherapist looking after you will tell you about the precautions to help avoid this. Usually you are advised to continue with these for about six weeks.

Once you go home you should continue to do the exercises you have been given and gradually increase your mobility by taking gradually longer walks. When you feel strong enough it is fine to go up and down stairs normally (usually between two and four weeks). During the first few weeks continuing with hydrotherapy can be helpful. Once you feel a bit stronger it is helpful to be reviewed by a physiotherapist who can progress your exercises appropriately.

Exercises will include

Core control exercises to help strengthen muscles around your pelvis. Stretches for the front of your thigh, hamstrings and calf. You are advised to have about four weeks when you can be fairly stress free. After about two weeks you will find that you can go back to work on a part time basis but should not be having to attend important meetings etc. If you do take some time out you will find you get better quicker and the experience will be more enjoyable. You should not drive or fly for four weeks.

By the time you see your surgeon at the six weeks mark you will be feeling pretty good, but will probably still be feeling a bit stiff and aware that you are not yet doing everything you want to. This is expected and as long as your surgeon is happy with your progress you will be able to get on and work towards getting back to your normal activities. It takes about six months to a year to really feel you are back to normal and as strong as you want to be. If you are planning to return to sport it is worth getting advice from a physiotherapist to ensure you are as strong and mobile as possible.


Hip flexion (bending your hip) can be difficult to get back but physiotherapy can help with this by soft tissue mobilisation techniques around the hip. You may also find that your back becomes stiff, and spinal mobilisations are helpful for this in addition to your exercise programme. If you are intending to return to sport then balance work is also important. The physiotherapists at Sprint can guide you through a programme which will help you become strong, mobile and fit again.


A few items which may be useful to have during your first six weeks of recovery are a raised loo seat, a long handled shoe horn and a picker up device. The hospital will have information as to where these and other items can be hired or bought.

Preparing for discharge

When you go home you will be pretty independent and able to do most things for yourself. However, it is probably worth arranging with friends or relatives a little help for things like shopping and cooking. You may also need some help getting socks on, so it is worth thinking through these things before you go into hospital.

You should also make sure you have a suitable chair to sit in, as sofas and low chairs are not recommended during the first few weeks of recovery. You will also not be able to sit down in the bath for the first few weeks.

If you have any other questions or require further information you can contact Sprint Physiotherapy or the hospital where you are going to have your surgery.

Please contact us to book an appointment or for more information on any of the services available at our clinic in Kensington.

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Areas covered

Our services cover the following locations (if your location is not listed please don't hesistate to get in touch and ask us if we can help you):

Kensington - W8 - W14 - SW7 - Notting Hill - W11 - W2 - W10 - Chelsea - SW10 - Knightsbridge SW1 - SW3 - Fulham - W6 - Hammersmith - W6 - W12 - Hyde Park and Holland Park, Paddington, Bayswater, Marylebone W1, W2

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Sprint Physiotherapy
Sprint Physiotherapy
2 Drayson Mews
W8 4LY
Paddington Clinic
Sprint Physiotherapy
Winston Churchill Wing
St Mary's Hospital
Winsland Mews
W2 1NY
Hammersmith Clinic
Hydrotherapy Department
Ground Floor, South Wing
Charing Cross Hospital
Fulham Palace Road
W6 8RF
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