Hip Surgery Recovery Timeline

The recovery after a hip surgery can be a long and painful process. In general, it is divided into short-term and long-term recovery. Short-term recovery means no more need of pain killers as well as walking with minimal or no aids at all. Long-term recovery suggests the complete healing of the surgical wounds and the soft tissue, making it possible for you to return to your normal daily activities. The length of recovery period is different for everyone. Usually, it will take at least 3 months to get back to normal life. Sometimes it may even take about 6 months.

A General Hip Surgery Recovery Timeline

The First Two Days After a Hip Surgery

You will probably get out of the bed and start walking. You might need walkers or crutches. A physical therapist will help you move around safely. You will also receive painkillers to relieve your pain. After the surgery, you will also start returning to your normal diet.

The Third Day After a Hip Surgery

If you are doing well, you will probably be discharged. Sometimes you can go straight home. In other cases, you will need to go on rehabilitation, always depending on the severity of your case and the hip surgery recovery timeline. If there are any complications, you will probably stay longer in the hospital until you get better. You will also probably start walking easier and even be able to walk to the bathroom on your own without assistance.

4 to 10 Days After a Hip Surgery

By this time you are probably discharged from the hospital, unless any complication appears. Monitor your hip recovery closely and look for any signs of infection. Do the physical therapy exercises regularly. Use painkillers if needed; however, by this time you will need less painkillers compared to the very first days after the surgery. Move as much as you can, as moving will help you recover faster.

10 to 14 Days After a Hip Surgery

In this period, your staples will be removed. Now you can start having showers and baths.

3 to 6 Weeks After Hip Surgery

Normally, 3 to 6 weeks after the surgery you will be able to walk on your own without the help of crutches or walkers. Sometimes, you might be even able to drive again. Gradually, you can return to your normal daily life.

10 to 12 Weeks After Hip Surgery

If the recovery process goes well, by this time you may be able to return to all of your daily life activities without a problem. 

What to Do for Better Hip Surgery Recovery

After the hip surgery recovery timeline, here are some recommended measures for better and faster hip surgery recovery.

1.   Physical Therapy in the Hospital

Physical therapy is very important when recovering from a hip surgery. Small exercises like contracting or releasing the muscles of the legs, buttocks and ankle pumps will help you strengthen the hip joint. Physical therapy is started the first day after the surgery, when a physical therapist will explain all the specific movements and exercises that will help you recover faster and regain full hip movement. At the beginning, you will do physical therapy exercises once or twice a day. 

2.   Caring for Your Incision

The surgical incision is closed with staples the first two weeks after the surgery. Normally, staples will be removed around the 14th day after the surgery. Make sure to keep the area dry until the staples are removed. Do not shower or bath as well. Once the staples are removed, the area will be bruised and you may also feel a burning sensation, itching or numbness. These symptoms are all normal and there is nothing for you to worry about. Avoid using creams, lotions or ointment on the hip area during the recovery time. Make sure to take a good care for your incision as it can get easily infected.

3.   Physical Activity at Home

Being physically active is very important for your recovery after a hip surgery. Once discharged from the hospital, it is very important to continue doing physical exercises at home. Make sure to do just as much as you feel comfortable. Don’t overdo it and avoid falling; otherwise exercise will just make your case worse. 

4.   Follow-Up

You should continue having regular follow-up visits to an orthopedic surgeon during the first year after the surgery. Normally, you should get checkups at three weeks, six weeks, three months, six months and after 12 months after the hip surgery.

Precautions for Hip Surgery Recovery

For a shorter hip surgery recovery timeline, here are some important precautions for you to follow. They will help you prevent any further damage to the hip joint and ensure you a proper and fast recovery. 

The Don’ts

  • Don’t pick things on the floor while you are sitting.
  • Don’t lean forward while sitting.
  • Don’t bring the knee higher than your hip.
  • Don’t cross the legs the first 6 to 8 weeks after the hip surgery.
  • Don’t use low toilet seats or chairs.
  • Don’t bend beyond 90 degrees at the waist.
  • Don't Ÿturn your feet inward or outward excessively. 
  • Don't stand in pigeon-toed position.

The Dos

  • Keep your legs facing forward.
  • Use ice to reduce your discomfort, pain and swelling during the recovery period. Remember not to apply ice directly on the skin.
  • Apply heating pad for 15-20 minutes before exercises to assist motion.
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