Exercises for Muscle Atrophy From a Hip Replacement

Man walking on path in park
Exercise is necessary to help you recover from hip replacement. (Image: Steve Mason/Photodisc/Getty Images)

Rehabilitative exercises are important following any surgery, but it is especially critical after a hip replacement. Recovery from a total hip replacement can take months, and it is imperative that you exercise the muscles of your hip to help prevent deterioration of tissue and to speed your recovery. Consult your doctor before attempting any new exercises after hip replacement.

Quadriceps Set

This exercise is often prescribed shortly after surgery to help prevent atrophy in your quadriceps muscles. Lie on your back with your affected leg straight and your toes pointing toward the ceiling. Contract your quadriceps by trying to press the back of your knee into the bed. Hold this contraction for five to 10 seconds and release. Continue this exercise until the muscles of your thigh are exhausted.

Straight Leg Raises

This is another exercise that you are likely to be prescribed while still in the hospital. Lie on your back with both legs straight and your toes pointing toward the ceiling. Contract the muscles of your affected thigh and lift your leg off the bed without bending your knee. Try to lift your ankle 12 inches off the bed and hold this contraction for about 10 seconds. Repeat until exhaustion.

Standing Knee Raises

When you doctor tells you it's OK to place weight on your affected leg, he will probably prescribe exercises to help strengthen your thigh. Stand in front of a chair or other stable surface that you can hold onto for balance. Hold on with both hands and lift the foot of your affected leg off the ground by bending your knee. Don’t go any farther than waist high, and hold this position for two to three counts. Repeat 10 times and try to perform this exercise three or four times a day.

Standing Hip Abduction

Stand in front of a table, chair, counter or other sturdy support and lift your affected leg off the ground and away from the center of your body. Your leg should be lifted out and to the side of your body with your knee straight. Hold this contraction for two to three seconds and repeat 10 times. This exercise should be performed three to four times daily.

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