Returning to Activity After Hip Replacement Surgery

You’ll need to take it easy after hip replacement surgery. But, that doesn’t mean you can’t continue to be physically active.

In the months following your hip replacement surgery, you'll likely be advised to take it easy, and follow specific instructions from your doctor or physical therapist on returning to daily activity. 

Exact timing differs by individual and the ability to return to your “normal” routine depends on what your “normal” is. As soon as possible, usually within the next 24 hours, your physical therapist will help you start walking a few steps at a time. As you heal, you will progress to different assistive devices.

Depending on the way your hip surgery is performed, there may be some positions or motions your surgeon wants you to avoid for a period of time to make sure the hip heals properly. Patients with sedentary or office jobs may be able to return to work fairly quickly - sometimes in a matter of weeks.  Others with more physically demanding jobs will take longer. 

If you’re wondering when you can drive again, it really depends on your specific surgery. The most important thing about driving is that you feel comfortable behind the wheel and operating the pedals.  This typically means you’ll need to be off any narcotics. It also depends on which hip was replaced and whether your vehicle is an automatic or manual transmission. As a general rule, it could be anywhere from 2 to 6 weeks before your doctor clears you to drive again.

You should be able to shower within a few days of surgery. Your surgeon will notify you when it’s safe to remove your bandage. You’ll likely be advised to steer clear of hot tubs and pools until your incision is nicely healed in about 3 to 6 weeks.

You may be excited at the possibility of firing up your sex life again, especially if joint pain has put a damper on it over the past several years. Most doctors will let you resume sexual activities as soon as you feel able, typically in about 4 to 6 weeks. The key is making sure that you don’t do anything that could slow the healing process.

Flying with a Medical Implant or Prosthetic Device

In many cases, successful hip replacement surgery will relieve your pain and stiffness, and allow you to resume many of your normal daily activities. But even after you have fully recovered from your surgery, you may have some restrictions. Permitted activities do not typically include high-impact sports such as jogging, basketball, racquetball, gymnastics, or activities that put excessive strain on your hip joints. Alternative activities may include walking, golf, swimming, and bicycling. Your doctor will advise you on safe activities for your particular condition. Before attempting any new activities, talk to your surgeon to see if he or she feels you are ready. You’ll likely continue to heal and improve for at least 6 months after surgery, so patience is key.

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