Instructions & Guidelines for Recovery

Healing and recovery can vary from one person to the other. We typically expect recovery to take about four to six months before you are back to most sports. 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.

In most cases you will use crutches, but only to improve your comfort after surgery. Most patients can stop using crutches within the first one to two weeks. Once this occurs, you can also start driving again and return to work.

Also after surgery we recommend that you don't lift more than 40 to 50 pounds and no running or jumping for the first three months.

Pain Management

  • Ice your hip every 20-30 minutes each hour as needed for pain. There are various icing options. A Game Ready Ice Machine (if your doctor gave you one), a cold water-filled sleeve, or ice packs can help to control your 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 incisions with stitches. Usually these are dissolvable and do not need to be removed. Occasionally we will use non-absorbable stitches and we will need to remove them (most absorbable stitches are clear, while non-absorbable stitches are colored). Regardless of stitch type, you will need to follow the below instructions to keep your incision site clean and free of infection.

  • Leave your surgical dressings in place for three to five days.
  • After, you can replace them with waterproof bandages or op-sites to protect your incision while showering.
  • Do not scrub or soak the incision site in water until the incision has healed completely (between three to four weeks).
  • Do not apply any ointments or lotions on your incision until your follow-up with your doctor.
  • Keep the small tape strips covering the incision, if there are any. As the edges of the stickers peel, you can use a scissors to trim the edges off. Once the sticker is down to small pieces, you can peel them off fully.
  • Do not be alarmed by any mild to moderate leaking from your incision; it should quickly decrease over the first couple of days.

Conditioning

Restoring your hip’s range of motion plays a critical role in the recovery process because your joints like to move. Talk to your physical therapist or physician about how to modify your exercise routine or begin a new program after surgery.

Follow-Up Appointment

Your first appointment will be scheduled two to four weeks after the surgery.

There is usually no physician charge for surgery-related visits 90 days after surgery. However, you may receive a bill for any X-rays or special equipment that you use during recovery.

You will usually be scheduled to visit with a physical therapist two weeks after surgery. Your physical therapy regimen will include one to three sessions per week for the first few months. This schedule will gradually taper off as your hip gets stronger and gains more mobility.

Work with your physical therapist to find a schedule that fits your needs.  Therapy should not feel like a time or financial burden. With appropriate guidance and self-motivation, most of your therapy can be done at home or in a gym.