Rehabilitation after a total hip replacement

If you are planning to have a total hip replacement (THR), which is an operation used to relieve pain and disability due to hip joint damage, it's a good idea to think about rehabilitation afterwards.

You will probably have have been told you need a hip replacement due to advanced age-related changes known as osteoarthritis. However, some individuals undergo a hip replacement due to hip fractures or rheumatologic diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis and ankylosing spondylitis which may have deteriorated your hip joint(s) over time.

The first phase of your recovery will be focused on managing your pain and early mobilization to prevent excessive hip stiffness developing and reduce any chances of DVT and infection.

Our expert physiotherapists at Circle Reading Hospital will help you to safely transfer out of bed on the day of your surgery or the following morning after surgery.

You will be provided with a walking frame or elbow crutches to initially start to weight bear and walk. With help from your physiotherapist you will be taught and supervised how to safely ascend and descend stairs prior to being discharged from hospital. For a period of time after your hip replacement there will be certain activities and movements that your surgeon will not want you to perform due to a small risk of dislocating your hip. Your physiotherapists will educate you on how best to avoid these movements and activities and provide some alternatives so you can return to independence as quickly as possible. 

The second phase of your recovery will focus on enabling you to be able to walk with a more normal gait pattern and wean off the walking frame or elbow crutches to using sticks.

Our physiotherapists will design a specific rehabilitation regime to help you regain strength and balance in your operated leg.

At this stage many of the exercises will be non-weight bearing and will target the hip extensor muscles (which help to propel you forwards and upwards when walking or climbing stairs/getting out of a seat) and the hip abductor muscles (which help to stabilize your hip and pelvis when walking and standing on one leg).

The third phase of your recovery will begin when you have recovered from any acute pain associated with the surgery and when you have recovered enough strength and balance in your operated leg to commence more aggressive, weight-bearing exercises.

The exercises our physiotherapists prescribe during this phase will typically take in to consideration your normal activity levels/sports/hobbies and will aim to increase functional strength. Examples of exercises prescribed may be step ups to increase your strength and balance when climbing stairs or shallow squats to enhance your ability to be able to sit to stand.


We welcome patients who have had their hip replacement at Circle Reading and at other hospitals to our state of the art rehabilitation suite.

We can offer up to 180 minutes of therapy per day during your hospital stay or extend this intensive rehabilitation protocol as you require when you have returned home following surgery.

Read more about what we offer and your options on the dedicated Circle Rehabilitation website.

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0118 911 4887

Circle Health Group, 1st Floor, 30 Cannon Street, London, EC4M 6XH