Back to index

A physiotherapist will assist you with exercises to help your circulation and help restore movement to the joint. They will also assist and teach you to walk.

If your surgeon has used a lateral approach for your hip surgery, you must not perform abduction exercises (side lifting of the leg) for 6 weeks. These exercises will be highlighted within this section (not for lateral approach).

Before you start your exercises your surgeon and physiotherapist will discuss your physiotherapy programme with you.

Day of operation

It is important that you start with some simple exercises straight after your surgery.

Deep breathing exercises

Lying or sitting down, take a deep breath in through your nose and feel your tummy rise. Then breathe out slowly through your mouth. Take four to five breaths like this. Repeat five to six times a day.

Deep Breathing

Circulation exercises

With your knees straight, stretch your ankles up and down. This helps your circulation and will help to prevent a DVT (deep vein thrombosis). Do this regularly (every hour).

 02 Circulation

Gluteal (buttock) exercises

Lying on your back, squeeze your buttocks firmly together. Hold for three seconds, then relax. Repeat 10 times each hour.


 to top

Day 1 after your operation

These exercises are designed to increase the mobility of your new hip. All exercises should be done slowly and in a controlled manner.

You should be aiming to do all of these exercises about four to five times a day.

As you get stronger you will be able to do more each time. To start with, aim to do 10 repetitions of each exercise and build to do 20.

Quadriceps (thigh) exercise

With your toes pulled towards you, tighten your thigh muscles by pushing your knee down into the bed. Hold for five seconds and relax.


Knee extension

Place a rolled towel under your knee. Keep your thigh resting on the rolled towel and lift your heel off the bed so that you fully straighten your knee.

Hold for five seconds and slowly lower.

 Knee Extension

Hip and knee flexion

Lying on your back, slowly slide your heel up the bed, bending your knee, then slowly straighten again.

Hip And Knee Flexion

Hip abduction (not for lateral approach)

Lying on your back, keep your knee straight and your toes facing the ceiling and slide your leg out to the side. Slide it back to the middle.

07 Hip Abduction

 to top

Standing exercises

Your physiotherapist will instruct you when you can start doing these exercises.

  • Hold onto a bench or solid surface to do these exercises.
  • strengthen your "new" hip.

Hip abduction (not for lateral approach)

Stand straight holding onto a support. Lift your leg to the side, making sure that your toes face forward and that your trunk stays upright.

Hip Abduction

Hip extension

Stand straight holding onto a support. Bring your leg backward, making sure that you keep your knee straight and do not lean forward.

 Hip Extension

Knee extension

Sit on a chair, pull your toes up, tighten the front of your thigh muscle and straighten your knee slowly.

Hold for five seconds, then slowly lower.

Knee Extension

 to top

Using crutches or frames



When you are using your crutches or walking frame, always remember...

  • stand up straight and keep your head up
  • to take a step - take both crutches forward first
  • step forward with your affected leg and take the weight through your arms
  • step forward with your good leg
  • walk with your feet pointing straight ahead - try not to let your affected leg turn out to the side.

Lateral approach surgery

You must not put your full weight through your new hip. The maximum you are allowed is 25kg (your physiotherapist will check this with you on a pair of scales). You must walk this way for 6 weeks.

Getting in and out of a car (Lateral approach surgery)
Keep your legs together as you swing in and out of a vehicle. Do not put one leg in or out and then the other.

Getting up and down from sitting

  • Use chair arms or bed to push up into standing, then put hands/arms into crutches.
  • Do not put hands/arms into crutches before standing.
  • Remove your hands/arms from the crutches, then use the chair arms/bed to sit down.

 to top


A good way to remember which leg goes first when going up / down stairs with crutches, is using the acronyms GAS and SAG.

Going Up Stairs

Going up

Place GOOD leg first.

Then AFFECTED leg up same step.

Followed lastly by STICKS (crutches).

If using a banister/hand rail, put your crutches into one hand in the shape of a cross, and hold the banister with the other hand, as in the first picture.

If someone is with you when using the stairs, please ask them to carry one crutch to enable you to use the banister/hand rail.

Going Down StairsGoing down

Place STICKS (crutches) down a step first.

Then AFFECTED leg on step.

Followed by GOOD leg on same step.

 to top

Last updated: March 21, 2019