Hip Surgery: Rehab Exercises

Skip Navigation

Your Care Instructions

Here are some examples of rehabilitation exercises for hip surgery. Start each exercise slowly. Ease off the exercise if you start to have pain.

Your doctor or physical therapist will tell you when you can start these exercises and which ones will work best for you. He or she may tell you to do them in a certain way. You may need to do them several times each day.

When your doctor or therapist has you start the exercises, you can do them right on your bed.

If you've had a hip replacement, remember these important hip precautions:

  • Don't lean forward while you sit down or stand up. Be careful to not bend at the hip past 90 degrees (like the angle in a letter "L").
  • Keep your knees apart while you sit or lie down.
  • Don't let your affected leg cross the center of your body toward the other leg.
  • Keep your toes pointing up toward the ceiling. This will prevent rotation at the hip.

Cut back on your exercises if your muscles start to ache, but do not stop doing them.

How to do the exercises

Ankle pumps

How to do ankle pumps exercise
slide 1 of 7
slide 1 of 7, Ankle pumps,
  1. Lie or sit on a firm bed with your feet out in front of you.
  2. Point your toes and feet up toward your knees as far as you can, then point them away from you as far as you can.
  3. Switch between pointing your feet up and pointing them down.
  4. Do this for 2 to 3 minutes, 2 or 3 times an hour.

Quad sets

How to do the quad set exercise
slide 2 of 7
slide 2 of 7, Quad sets,
  1. Sit or lie down on a firm bed with your affected leg straight. Place a small, rolled-up towel under your knee. Bend your other leg, with that foot flat on the bed.
  2. Tighten the thigh muscles of your straight leg by pressing the back of your knee down into the towel.
  3. Hold for about 6 seconds, then rest for up to 10 seconds.
  4. Repeat 8 to 12 times.
  5. Switch legs, and repeat steps 1 through 4.

Gluteal sets

How to do gluteal sets
slide 3 of 7
slide 3 of 7, Gluteal sets,
  1. Lie on your back on a firm bed. Bend your knees, with your feet flat on the bed.
  2. Squeeze your buttocks together as tightly as you can. Hold for about 6 seconds.
  3. Do 8 to 12 repetitions several times during the day.

Straight-leg raises to the front

How to do straight-leg raises to the front
slide 4 of 7
slide 4 of 7, Straight-leg raises to the front,
  1. Lie on a firm bed with your affected leg straight. Bend your other leg, with that foot flat on the bed. Make sure that your low back has a normal curve. You should be able to slip your hand in between the bed and the small of your back, with your palm touching the bed and the back of your hand touching your back.
  2. Tighten the thigh muscles in your affected leg by pressing the back of your knee flat down to the bed. Hold your knee straight.
  3. Keeping the thigh muscles tight and your leg straight, lift your affected leg up so that your heel is about 12 inches off the bed. Hold for about 6 seconds, then lower slowly.
  4. Relax for up to 10 seconds between repetitions.
  5. Repeat 8 to 12 times.
  6. Switch legs, and repeat steps 1 through 5.

Short-arc quad

How to do the short-arc quad exercise
slide 5 of 7
slide 5 of 7, Short-arc quad,
  1. Lie on your back on a firm bed. Bend your knees over a foam roll or large rolled-up towel, with your heels on the bed.
  2. Lift the lower part of your affected leg until your leg is straight. Keep the back of your knee on the foam roll or towel.
  3. Hold your leg straight for about 6 seconds. Then slowly bend your knee and lower your heel back to the bed. Rest for up to 10 seconds between repetitions.
  4. Repeat 8 to 12 times.
  5. Switch legs, and repeat steps 1 through 4.

Heel slides

How to do heel slides
slide 6 of 7
slide 6 of 7, Heel slides,
  1. Lie on your back on a firm bed with your affected leg straight. Bend your other leg, with that foot flat on the bed.
  2. Slowly bend your affected leg by raising your knee up while sliding your foot toward you on the bed. Bend your knee as much as you can.
  3. Slowly slide your foot away, lowering your leg back down.
  4. Repeat 8 to 12 times.
  5. Switch legs, and repeat steps 1 through 4.

Hip abduction

How to do the hip abduction exercise
slide 7 of 7
slide 7 of 7, Hip abduction,
  1. Lie on your back with your legs straight and your feet hip-width apart. Keep your toes pointed up toward the ceiling.
  2. Tighten the thigh muscles of your affected leg.
  3. Slowly slide the leg out to the side, then back. Be careful that your leg does not cross the center line of your body toward the other leg.
  4. Repeat 8 to 12 times.
  5. Switch legs, and repeat steps 1 through 4.

Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.




The Health Encyclopedia contains general health information. Not all treatments or services described are covered benefits for Kaiser Permanente members or offered as services by Kaiser Permanente. For a list of covered benefits, please refer to your Evidence of Coverage or Summary Plan Description. For recommended treatments, please consult with your health care provider.