Physical Therapy Guide For Total Hip Replacement

Physical Therapy Guide For Total Hip Replacement

According to the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons, about thousands of people across the world have a hip replaced each year. If you or a loved one is considering this type of surgery, you may be wondering what life will be like afterward. Recovery from a total hip replacement (THR) can take several months. But with the help of a physical therapist (PT), you can return to your normal activities sooner and with less pain. In this guide, we will cover what physical therapy is for total hip replacement surgery, as well as exercises and tips to help you recover quickly and safely.

What is a Total Hip Replacement?

What is a Total Hip Replacement?

A total hip replacement (THR) is a surgical procedure to replace the damaged or diseased hip joint with an artificial implant. The implant may be made of metal, ceramic, or plastic.

The surgery is usually performed under general anesthesia, which means you will be asleep during the procedure. Your surgeon will make an incision over the front of your hip and dislocate your hip joint to access the damaged bone and cartilage. The damaged bone and cartilage are then removed and replaced with an artificial implant. The incision is then closed with stitches or staples.

After the surgery, you will likely need to stay in the hospital for several days so that your pain can be controlled and you can begin learning how to use your new hip joint. Once you are discharged from the hospital, you will need to start physical therapy to help regain strength and range of motion in your new hip joint.

Working on Physical Therapy For Total Hip Replacement

Total hip replacement surgery is a big decision. It can be a life-changing event that may relieve pain and restore movement. But it’s also a major surgery with a long recovery process.

During your hospital stay, you’ll likely have physical therapy (PT) to help you get moving again and manage any pain. After you go home, you may continue PT as an outpatient or in your home.

The main goal of PT after total hip replacement is to help you regain strength and range of motion in your new joint. Your PT will develop a plan specifically for you based on your individual needs and goals.

Most people need 4 to 6 weeks of PT after surgery. Some patients may need up to 3 months or more of PT depending on the severity of their arthritis, their age, other health conditions, and how well they recover from surgery.

Types of Physical Therapy For Total Hip Replacement

Types of Physical Therapy For Total Hip Replacement

There are many types of physical therapy for total hip replacement. Depending on the patient’s symptoms and goals,  some of thee are:

Thigh Squeezes

One of the most common types of PT for hip replacement is thigh squeezes. This type of PT helps to improve ROM, reduce pain, and improve function. To do a thigh squeeze, the therapist will have the patient sit with their legs bent to 90 degrees and their feet flat on the ground. The therapist will then hold onto the patient’s thighs and pull them towards their chest. This action will stretch the hip muscles and improve ROM.

It is important to keep in mind that thigh squeezes are not a cure-all. They should only be done as part of a comprehensive PT program that includes other types of exercises and stretches.


Stretching makes the body more flexible and helps to improve the range of motion. PT may use a variety of stretching exercises to improve ROM, relieve pain, and improve function.
Some of the stretching exercises that are commonly used include:

  • The quad stretch
  • The Hamstring Stretch
  • The Glute Bridge
  • The Child’s Pose
  • The Cat-Cow Stretch
  • The Swiss Ball Leg Curl

Weighted Exercise Therapy

Weighted Exercise Therapy

Weighted exercise therapy is a type of PT that is often used to improve function and reduce pain. PT will use weights, resistance bands, or machines to help improve ROM and reduce pain. In addition, weighted exercise therapy may also help to improve muscle strength and endurance.

The key to successful weighted exercise therapy is to find a program that is customized for the individual patient. PT should also be ongoing to maintain progress.

Hot and Cold Therapy

Hot and cold therapy is another common type of PT for hip replacement. Also, Hot therapy refers to using hot packs or heat pads to increase blood flow and relieve pain. Cold therapy refers to using cold packs or ice baths to reduce inflammation and pain.
When selecting a hot or cold therapy treatment, it is important to consult with a physical therapist to find the best option for the patient.

Massage Therapy

Sometimes referred to as “hands-on” therapy, massage is a common type of PT for total hip replacement. Massage can help to reduce pain, improve function, and relax the body. PT may use a variety of massage techniques, including:

The Swedish Massage: Swedish massage is a type of massage that uses kneading and pressure to reduce pain and improve function.

The Deep-Tissue Massage: Deep-tissue massage is a more intense form of massage that uses slow, deep strokes to relieve tension and pain.

The Myofascial Release Massage: Myofascial release massage is a type of massage that uses friction and pressure to loosen tight muscles. This can help improve ROM, relieve pain, and improve function.

Physical therapists may also use other techniques such as heat or cold therapy to combine with a massage.

How To Prepare for Physical Therapy For Total Hip Replacement Help?

How To Prepare for Physical Therapy For Total Hip Replacement Help?

Before having total hip replacement surgery, there are a few things you can do to prepare for your post-operative physical therapy.

First, be sure to ask your surgeon what type of implants will be used in your surgery. There are two types of hip implants: cemented and uncemented. Cemented implants are attached to the bone with bone cement, while uncemented implants rely on the body’s natural bone growth to hold them in place. Depending on which type of implant is used, your post-operative physical therapy may differ.

Second, work with your surgeon to create a realistic post-operative plan. This plan should include when you will start physical therapy, how often you will go, and what types of exercises you will do. It is important to be realistic about your goals and expectations for physical therapy. Remember that recovery from hip surgery takes time, and it is important not to rush the process.

Make sure you have all the necessary supplies for your post-operative physical therapy. This includes comfortable clothing that you can move around in easily, supportive shoes, and any equipment or devices that your therapist recommends. Having everything you need before starting physical therapy will help ensure that you have a successful recovery.

Also,  be sure to ask your surgeon about any pain medications that you may need after surgery. Pain medication can help reduce the amount of pain you feel during physical therapy, and can also reduce the amount of pain you experience after the surgery.

Finally, be sure to ask your surgeon and physical therapist any questions you have about your post-operative physical therapy. By being prepared for your surgery and working with your therapist to create a realistic post-operative plan, you can ensure a speedy and successful recovery.

Why Do People Choose Physical Therapy For Total Hip Replacement?

Why Do People Choose Physical Therapy For Total Hip Replacement?

Choosing physical therapy for a total hip replacement is a personal decision that depends on the individual’s needs and preferences. Some reasons why people may choose physical therapy after receiving a total hip replacement include:

• The individual may want to continue to exercise after the surgery, but may not be able to do so effectively due to pain or mobility restrictions. Physical therapy can help the individual learn how to maintain their pre-surgical activity level while minimizing pain and discomfort.

• The individual may experience decreased range of motion or other limitations in their hip joint following surgery. Physical therapy can help improve these limitations and restore function and mobility to the hip joint.

• The individual may experience ongoing pain or discomfort in the hip area even after surgery. Physical therapy may be able to help reduce or eliminate this pain, allowing the individual to return to their normal activities more easily.

Another benefit can be:


One of the main benefits of physical therapy after a total hip replacement is that it can be relatively inexpensive. This is in contrast to other surgical procedures, such as knee replacement, where costs can be considerable. Physical therapy typically does not require any special equipment or accommodations. It can be done in a doctor’s office or clinic.


Sometimes, physical therapy may be more effective than surgery in resolving underlying issues that are contributing to pain or mobility limitations. For example, if the individual’s hip joint is misaligned, physical therapy may be able to realign the joint and restore function. This can often be more successful than Surgery, which may only address the symptoms of the joint injury.


Sometimes, surgeries may have some side effects, such as infection or nerve damage. Physical therapy can help to minimize these risks and may also have minimal side effects of its own. These benefits can be significant compared to the potential risks and side effects of surgery.


A total hip replacement is a major surgery, but it can be an effective way to relieve pain and improve mobility. If you are considering a total hip replacement, talk to your doctor about what to expect and whether physical therapy can help you recover. With the right preparation and care, you can make a full recovery and enjoy an active lifestyle.

Physical Therapy help patients recover from pain. If you’re experiencing Back painShoulder painKnee painNeck painElbow painHip pain, or Arthritis pain, a physical therapist at MantraCare can help: Book a physiotherapy session.

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