What activities can I do after hip replacement surgery?

Generally, people can resume almost all activities after hip replacement surgery, with the exception of repetitive high impact activities like running or jumping. In order to preserve the longevity of a hip replacement surgery, it is important to recognize that these are artificial parts. If the components are damaged, they cannot heal like living tissue. Still, the components are quite durable, and they will allow for participation in most activities. Running for a short distance may be permissible. But running for prolonged distances on a regular basis may result in advanced wear of the component parts. Otherwise, any activity is permissible.

Daily activity after knee replacement surgery is virtually unlimited.

After proper healing from hip replacement surgery, most all activities can be done safely. Extreme motions aren’t off-limits, but doctors don’t recommend them. You should avoid impactful aerobic exercise as it could affect how long your new joint surface may last.

Dr. Scott D. Martin, MD
Orthopedic Surgeon

After hip replacement surgery, your post-op checkup is a good time to clarify what activities are encouraged or prohibited. Some typical guidelines are as follows:

  • Car travel. Ask the physical therapist for guidance on getting in and out of the car and riding safely. Some vehicles are unacceptably high or low, forcing your hip into an unhealthy position. In some cars, sitting on a firm pillow can help you avoid overflexing your hip. On long drives, stop and get out at least once an hour.
  • Driving. To drive, you need to be off opioid painkillers and blood thinners, able to put weight on your right leg (for an automatic transmission) or both legs (for a manual transmission) and able to brake without violating your current hip precautions. It usually takes about six weeks before you can drive an automatic and 12 weeks for a stick shift.
  • Sex. Wait until muscles and incisions have healed. You may need to adjust your sexual positions. You might lie on your back or on your non-operated side, resting your operated leg on your partner's leg. Don't flex your hips more than 90 degrees, and don't raise your knees higher than your hips. Avoid positions that rotate your hips out (either sitting or lying with knees wide apart).
  • Work. Depending on the physical demands of your job, it may be three to six months before you can return. If you have a desk job, your chair should have arms and be high enough to properly position your hips.
  • Sports. Walk as much as you like once you can put weight on your operated leg. Exercise in a warm pool after your incision has closed and the stitches are out. After a few months, you should be able to return to golf (using a cart and not wearing spikes), biking (without steep hills) and ballroom or square dancing. Avoid activities that require jumping or heavy lifting, might jolt or stress your hip or make it likely you might fall or have something (or someone) bump into your hip. This means that tennis, volleyball, horseback riding, skating, contact sports, soccer, squash and racquetball usually are not advisable.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.