• Partial and Total Hip Replacement: Returning to Activity

  • Special Equipment

    With total hip replacement, you'll probably have to use special equipment during your hospital stay. You'll also be given special tools for your home.

    Abductor Splint (Pillow)

    You will have a special foam pillow that will help to keep your legs apart (abducted).

    ADL (Activities of Daily Living) Kit

    An occupational therapist will give you an ADL Kit while you are in the hospital. He or she will teach you how to use each of the three tools in the kit, consisting of a reacher/grabber, a sock aid, and a dressing stick.

    DO NOT:

    • Bend your hip more than 90 degrees.
    • Cross your legs while standing, sitting, or lying. DO: Keep a pillow between your legs when sitting or lying down.
    • Turn your hips inward or outward. DO: Keep your hips in a straight position when you are lying in bed and walking.
    • Sit on low stools, low chairs, low sofas, or low toilets. DO: Use cushions on your chairs and use a raised toilet seat.
    • Sit in a bathtub.
    • Sit in chairs with roller wheels.
    • Lie on your side.
    • Try to carry anything while walking with your walker.
    • Wear high-heeled shoes. DO: Always wear low or flat, closed-toe and heel, supportive shoes.
    • Get up from a chair until you have first moved to the front edge of the chair. DO: Place your operated leg in front of you, with your other leg well under the chair. Keep your operated leg in front of you while getting up.
    • Have clutter in your home's walkways.
    • Use throw rugs.
    • Try to put on your shoes and socks without a long handled reacher or sock aid.
    • Pick up objects from the floor or reach into lower cupboards or drawers unless you use a reacher.
    • Walk on ice, run, or engage in high-impact activities.


    • Practice the exercises given to you by your therapist to strengthen the muscles in your leg.
    • Mild to moderate exercise; excessive exercise can cause harm. If you experience increased soreness that lasts more than two days, decrease your activity until you are ready.
    • Take regular 1- to 3-mile walks. Start with shorter distances.
    • Use a home treadmill.
    • Ride a stationary bike.
    • Regular exercise at a fitness center.
    • Low-impact sports, such as golf, bowling, walking, gardening, dancing, and swimming.

    A Visual Guide to the DOs and DON'Ts

    1. DO NOT move your operated hip toward your chest any more than a right angle. This is 90 degrees.

    2. DO NOT turn your kneecap inward when sitting, standing, or lying down.

    3. DO NOT cross your operated leg across the midline of your body (in toward your other leg).

    Examples of Bending More Than 90 degrees:
    DO NOT sit in chairs without arms. DO grasp chair arms to help you rise safely to a standing position. Place extra pillows or cushions in your chair so that you do not bend your hip more than 90 degrees.

    DO use a chair with arms. Place your operated leg in front and your uninvolved leg well under.

    DO get up from the toilet as directed by your therapist. Use the elevated toilet seat if we have given you one.

    DO use a long-handled reacher to pull up sheets or blankets or do as directed by the therapist.

    DO NOT bend way over.

    Example of Leg Crossing Midline:

    DO NOT try to put on your own shoes or stockings in the usual way. By doing this improperly you could bend or cross your operated leg too far. DO these activities as directed by your therapist.

    Exercises After Total Hip Replacement

    Ankle Pumps
    This exercise strengthens the calf muscles in your lower leg.

    • Lie in bed on your back. Bend your ankle and pull your foot and toes toward your head.
    • Push your foot back down and point your toes away from you as far as possible, as if you are pushing on the brake pedal of a car.
    • Repeat with both legs 10 times every two hours throughout the day.

    Quad Sets
    This exercise strengthens your upper leg or thigh muscles.

    • Lie in bed on your back with your legs straight. Tighten the muscle at the front of the thigh as you press the back of your knee down toward the bed.
    • Think about trying to raise your heel ½ inch off the bed.
    • Hold for five seconds. Then relax for a short period.
    • Repeat 10 times for each leg, three times a day.

    Gluteal Sets
    This exercise strengthens the gluteus maximus (buttocks) muscles, which are important for walking and stair climbing.

    • Lie in bed on your back. Squeeze your buttocks together.
    • Hold for a count of five. Relax and repeat.
    • Do a total of 10 repetitions, two times a day.

    Heel Slides
    This exercise will strengthen the muscles in the back of your thigh.

    • Lie in bed on your back. Slide your foot along the bed toward your buttocks and slowly bend your knee up. Do not bend your hip more than 90 degrees.
    • Slide your foot away from your buttocks and slowly straighten your leg.
    • Relax and repeat; do 30 repetitions, resting as needed.
    • Repeat with the other leg.

    Standing or Lying Abduction
    Do this exercise with your operated leg.

    • Lie in bed on your back with your feet slightly apart. Keeping your knee and foot pointing toward the ceiling, slowly slide your leg out to the side.
    • Slide your leg back to its original position without crossing the midline of your body. Do 30 repetitions, resting as needed.
    • If this exercise is too painful, try moving your leg out to the side while standing and holding on to a walker or firm surface. Make sure to keep your toes pointed straight ahead.

    Note: Continue your Upper Body Strengthening Exercises.