Keeping active after a hip replacement while at home


Lawrence Carmel, Senior Physiotherapist at Shepton Mallet NHS Treatment Centre, is here to help us keep active, especially those that may have had a recent hip or knee operation and are now spending large amounts of time at home.

Much of the recovery process for those having had a knee or hip operation will involve a routine visit to a community health centre, gym or social club to use the equipment available. In this time of social distancing against COVID-19, this isn’t possible, and it’s left many recoverees unsure of how to continue with the great strides they were beginning to make in their recovery.

The answer? You simply need to modify your activities to suit the needs of your joints and muscles and keep your exercising routine up.

Consistency is the key to keeping yourself fit whether you do your exercising inside or out. This momentum helps maintain activity levels and prevent post-surgical complications such as Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT), weight gain and muscle weakness.

Physical Activity Guide

Keep it up every day. No matter the form or pace, doing something is better than doing nothing. And if you can’t do something every day, aim for at least three times a week instead.

Exercises are designed to improve cardiovascular fitness, muscle strength, balance and flexibility. A well-rounded routine includes moves for all of these things.

Avoid sitting in a chair or lying down on the bed for long periods. This is the main cause for developing DVT, which can be fatal. Stand up and move about every twenty minutes or so.

With all activities, you need to listen to the joint and do not push it too hard, too soon.

Include Activities such as…

Mild activities: walk around the house, get up and sit back down on a chair a few times, tidy around the house, get up and make a drink, stand to iron your clothes and get busy vacuuming.

Moderate activities (for rebuilding muscle strength and joint function): get up from a chair without support, climb up and down the stairs a few times, do step-ups on the bottom step of your stairs (10 reps, building up to 30), single leg balance (with or without holding on to a support), walking sideways, forwards and backwards holding (with or without) on to the kitchen work top, exercises using resistance bands as instructed by your physiotherapist.

Advanced activities (if you have completed three months post joint replacement): online fitness classes such as yoga, Tai Chi or Pilates, gentle jiving to music, exergaming (virtual exercise inspired video games), static bike or treadmill for five to ten minutes a day, or getting out in the garden to mow the lawn.

As you can see, though you may not have access to the normal equipment you would use in your routine, there are still plenty of ways to keep yourself physically active at home after your knee or hip operation.