Performing exercises after a hip replacement surgery is often recommended by health care providers. By doing so, weakening of the muscles supporting the involved hip joint is prevented. In addition, exercise can help reduce pain and stiffness. Moreover, doing physical activities and exercises increases blood circulation, which prevents formation of blood clots and helping with healing, thus, promoting faster recovery from the surgery.
While in the hospital, you can perform the following exercises shortly after your operation. A physical therapist (PT) will guide you on how to perform these exercises properly. At first, you may be uncomfortable while doing the activity.
Ankle Exercises (Ankle Pumps)
As you lie in bed, slowly push your foot up towards your shin and then down. Do this several times as often as every 10 or 15 minutes or at least 10 to 30 times every hour.
Gluteal Sets (Buttock Contractions)
While still recovering in bed, performing gluteal sets can help improve muscle strength of the buttocks. To do the exercise, try to squeeze your buttocks, holding it for 5 seconds and then release. Repeat the process ten times at least 3 to 4 times daily.
Quadriceps Setting (Quad Sets)
To perform quad sets, tighten your thigh muscles pushing your knee down onto the bed surface. Hold the position for at least 5 to 10 seconds, and then slowly relax. Repeat the exercise until your thigh feels slightly fatigued.
When doing gluteal and quad sets, make sure that you do not hold your breath as you hold the position. Try to count as you hold to avoid holding your breath.
Heel Slides (Bed-supported Knee Bends)
In a lying position, with legs straight, slowly bend your knee towards your upper body while making sure that your heel slides on the bed surface during the movement. Do that for 10 repetitions 3 or 4 times a day. Make sure that as you perform this exercise, avoid letting your knee rolling inward and pulling your knee beyond your hip.
The exercises described above help most patients who have just undergone hip replacement surgery in preventing blood clot formation, relieving pain, and reducing joint stiffness. However, before engaging in any form of exercise while in the hospital, you should ask your doctor or physical therapist about what exercises are best for you.
In most cases, during your stay in the hospital, you will be referred to a physical therapist. The therapist will perform a thorough evaluation and will create a comprehensive plan of care catered to your needs and goals.
American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS). Total Hip Replacement Exercise Guide. Accessed on September 2, 2010.
National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (NIAMS). Hip Replacement. Accessed on September 2, 2010.