Preoperative Hip Replacement Exercises

Are Preoperative Hip Replacement Exercises Really


Preoperative hip replacement exercises can really help  you prepare yourself for the operation.

If you have signed up for a hip replacement, then the chances are you are already in significant pain and the idea of starting an exercise program is probably the last thing on your mind.

You may even be thinking that you won't be able to do enough to make a difference. But stay with me here because studies have shown that stronger and healthier people recover quicker and are less prone to post-operative complications.

Participation in a preoperative hip replacement exercise program can be of significant benefit both before the operation and during the first weeks of recovery.

The Aim of Preoperative Hip Replacement Exercises

You are aiming to increase your functioning in three different areas (see below) so it doesn't matter what you're starting point is - just try to improve from there.

If improvement sounds too daunting than try at least to do sufficient exercise to prevent deterioration.

How much you can do will depend on why you need the hip replacement and how far advanced the disease is. For instance people with rheumatoid arthritis may find it harder to exercise than osteoarthritis patients.

What Sort of Preoperative Hip Replacement Exercises Should I Do?

It is best to get a physiotherapist (physical therapist in USA) to design you a tailor made set of preoiperatie hip replacement exercises and to check up on your progress.


It's easy to slide into bad habits so a regular check on progress will make sure you are getting the most out of your exercise and help keep you motivated.

All of the following exercises can be done at home. A stretchy band and a strong chair are all the equipment required.

Pool exercises are a great alternative and, as it means you are floating and therefore non-weight bearing, it really helps your joints. There are floatation belts specifically designed for these types of exercise and are well worth investing in.

Types of Exercise

You will need to think about three different types of exercise: -

  • Aerobic exercises to increase cardio-vascular performance
  • Strengthening the muscles around the hip joint.
  • Increasing (or at least preventing deterioration in) the range of movement of the hip joint.

Aerobic Exericse


The best sort of aerobic exercise will be low-impact and non-weight bearing - so no jogging, steps or tennis.

Instead think about walking, swimming or cycling (I'd recommend a static bike unless you live somewhere flat with quiet roads that have no pot holes.)

If you find walking difficult you might be pleasantly surprised how far you can cycle. Cycling is less weight bearing than walking and so is easier on the joints.

Strengthening and Range of Movement

There are specific exercises that will help strengthen your hip muscles and maintaining or increasing its range of movement. These include:

  • Straight leg lifts
  • Knee flexion and extension
  • Gluteal squeeze
  • Quadriceps strengthening
  • Heel slides
  • Hip Abduction and Adduction: Lying down on Back
  • Side-lying Hip Abduction and Adduction
  • Terminal Knee Extension: Short Arc Quads
  • Knee Extension: Long Arc Quads
  • Strengthening Arms

Are There Any Exercises I Shouldn't Do?

Anything that is particularly weight bearing such as jogging or high impact like star jumps or steps. But you're body will probably be yelling at you to stop if you try something you shouldn't be doing. Don't push yourself too hard - it doesn't help in any way at all.

How Much and How Often

Aerobic exercises should be done for a minimum of 20 minutes three times a week. You don't need to stick to one sort - mix them up as you please and time allows.

For all the other exercises - try to do 5 - 10 reps of each twice a day.

Done too much? There is a rule called the "Two hour pain rule" which says that if your joint hurts for more than two hours after exercise then you've done too much. (Of course it would be helpful to know before you've done too much but sadly there doesn't seem to be a rule for that!)

Caution:If you're having both hips done or you're having revision surgery than please discuss exercises with your doctor or physiotherapist.

Related Links: 

Preparing for Recovery 
The Day of Surgery

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