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Instructions & Guidelines for Recovery

Healing and recovery can vary from one person to the other. We typically expect recovery to take about six months. However, you will see continued improvements in your mobility and strength for up to two years after surgery.

For the most part, any activities you participate in should be pain-free with the possibility of some soreness later. However, we do caution against excessive twisting/pivoting/jumping and placing the joint in extreme ranges of motion too early in your recovery process. 

Even after you have been released to full activity by your surgeon, you should still tailor your activity level to maintain comfort. It’s important to listen to your body — if an activity is too painful, you may be doing too much. 

After Hip Surgery Care

The first few days and weeks after surgery can be a long and arduous process. You may experience a fatigue, mild fever, nausea, and dizziness from the anesthesia or pain medications within a few days after surgery. Following your doctor’s orders and getting plenty of rest are two of the best things you can do for your body and the healing process.

Getting Rest & Hip Support

You may find it difficult to find a comfortable position for resting after hip surgery. We recommend sleeping with your heel raised at an inclined position (typically on a pile of firm pillows) above chest level for at least one to two weeks after surgery. This position tends to be the most comfortable and helps decrease swelling in your lower extremity.   

Also, you may have thigh numbness and difficulty lifting your surgical leg. This will pass, but it can take up to a month or so before it dissipates. Be patient.

You will use crutches for the first six weeks after surgery, maintaining 50 percent weight bearing restrictions.  

Pain Management

  • Ice your hip three to four times a day, for 20-30 minutes each session, or as needed for pain. This is very effective at controlling pain and swelling.
  • Do not mix any pain medications with alcohol.
  • Do not drive while taking any pain medications.
  • Some of the narcotic pain medications contain Tylenol. Do not take excess Tylenol while on these pain medications. Check the medication prior to taking extra Tylenol.

Incision Care

We will close your incision with glue and dissolvable sutures deep in the incision.

  • Leave your surgical dressings in place for two weeks; cover with plastic wrap when showering to protect it from getting any water underneath.
  • At your first follow-up appointment, we will inspect your incision.
  • Do not scrub or soak the incision site in water until the incision has healed and is completely scab free.
  • Keep the incision area dry, the location of the incision can be tricky.

Also avoid wearing clothing that have tight bands that rub on the incision, such as belts or jeans. It is important to keep this area dry and free from clothes rubbing on the incision. If the area gets irritated too much, it can open up and become goopy and infected. 

Use gauze to keep the area dry. You can use silicone tape after the incision has completely healed and is scab free. This helps with tenderness and can provide some protection against rubbing. 

Follow-Up Appointment

Your first appointment will be scheduled two weeks after the surgery and then another with your surgeon at six weeks for follow up X-rays. The X-rays will help us see if the bones are healing as we expect. 

You will begin working with physical therapy after your six-week appointment with your surgeon. Do not begin formal physical therapy until AFTER this appointment. 

Work with your physical therapist to find a schedule that fits your needs. Therapy should not feel like a time or financial burden.

We do provide a suggested timeline and list of exercises to help your recovery that is a video-based home exercise program guided by our physical therapist. This should work well for the first six weeks and then we will provide a schedule for the second six weeks of the recovery.

Usually, we recommend you have a six month follow up appointment and a one-year follow-up. At these follow up appointments, we will request X-rays to make sure the bones have adequately healed and you are progressing as we expect.


Restoring your hip’s range of motion is critical to your recovery process because your joints like to move. After the bone has healed, talk to your physical therapist or physician about how to modify your exercise routine or begin a new program after surgery.