Hip surgery recovery can be a long journey, no matter what type of hip surgery you have undergone. While total hip replacement surgery has become an increasingly common surgery in the United States, it isn’t the only type of hip surgery that can inhibit your life during recovery.
While a total hip replacement remains the most common type of hip surgery, hip surgery recovery will look similar for partial hip surgery and hip resurfacing surgery patients.
The cause of your hip surgery may be a chronic condition, like arthritis. It also could be from some kind of trauma related to a sports injury. In either case, surgery recovery can be a long process - leaving patients with a lot of questions and requiring ample patience for proper recovery.
To help you prepare for your hip surgery and hip surgery recovery, we put together some targeted post surgery recovery tips.
Some of these tips can and should also be applied before you have your surgery, but implementing these with the guidance of your doctor may improve your chances of a speedy hip surgery recovery once the procedure has been completed.
Before we dive into some ways to speed up your recovery process, it’s important for you to have realistic expectations about your recovery time after surgery.
Average hip surgery recovery time
The type of surgery, your medical history, and other personal factors can contribute to your recovery time after hip surgery. On average, patients that have a total hip replacement usually have a similar recovery timeline of about 4-6 months, with muscle weakness surrounding the hips for up to two years.
Similar to knee surgery recovery, most hip surgery patients can expect to be in the hospital for a few days after surgery. Then, upon going home, a physical therapist should instruct you on how to do certain tasks safely to optimize healing and reduce pain.
After about 4-6 weeks, most patients report that they are able to get around with reduced pain and a bit more ease. Still, it can usually take a few months to return to regular daily activities and the possibility of low impact sports.
Keep in mind that these ranges will be different for everyone and there are several underlying factors that can alter your recovery time. Work closely with your doctor and other medical professionals, and follow the target hip surgery recovery tips below to help your body heal.
5 tips to help speed up hip surgery recovery
1. Proper wound care and doctor’s instructions
After a hip surgery of any kind, your surgeon, physical therapist, and occupational therapist are likely to give you very specific instructions regarding recovery. Among those instructions will be wound care solutions, physical limitations, and a general hip surgery recovery timeline.
Once you’ve returned from the hospital, the first few days will be the most important for wound care.
Depending on your mobility, you may need assistance with wound care. Make sure that to prevent infections, you or anyone helping you has thoroughly washed their hands before cleaning or dressing the incision.
You should also avoid baths. Consult your doctor to see when a bath would be appropriate, but it is likely to be once the wound is fully healed.
Most post surgery aftercare instructions provided by your doctor will include proper wound care techniques and how to identify infections.
Following proper wound cleaning and care instructions not only prevents infections, but also helps you to keep an eye on how the healing process is going. If you know what you are looking for, you can spot any abnormalities during the healing process and address them sooner.
2. Healthy pre and post surgery diet
Diet plays a huge role in your overall health, but it can be especially important during hip surgery recovery. Not only can a post surgery diet speed up recovery time, but a healthy pre surgery diet can help prepare your body for the trauma of surgery.
Starting to integrate and focus on nutrient dense foods before your surgery also helps prepare your digestive system. If you already follow a specific diet, like a whole foods plant based diet, then your body is likely already getting a lot of the things it needs for hip surgery recovery.
The primary goal of a post surgery diet is to focus on anti-inflammatory foods. This should also include avoiding foods that can cause inflammation.
Examples of anti-inflammatory foods include:
- Foods high in omega fatty acids (nuts, seeds, plant oil, fish)
Examples of foods that cause inflammation include:
- Foods high in trans fats
- Processed meats
- Fried foods
- Refined carbs and sugars
- Other junk foods (fast food, chips, candy, etc.)
By avoiding inflammatory foods and integrating anti-inflammatory foods into a post surgery diet, you are going to naturally curb some of the inflammation in your hips. Inflammation is a natural part of your hip surgery recovery process, but it is also what can cause the most pain.
Beyond inflammation, your body is in need of other nutrients to be in optimal working condition. After all, you are healing from a surgery! A lot of resources are being diverted to heal your hip, so you need more fiber, water, whole grain carbohydrates, and high-quality protein.
High-fiber foods may seem like a strange thing to include in a hip surgery recovery diet, but many hip surgery patients do experience constipation following surgery. To avoid this, keeping your body regulated before surgery and continuing to include high-fiber foods to your post surgery diet is a good way to avoid relying on laxatives.
Examples of foods high in fiber include:
- Leafy greens
- Fresh fruits
- Whole grains (brown rice, quinoa, whole wheat, etc.)
- Nuts and seeds
Protein is another essential consideration in a post surgery diet. The reason protein is so important is because when healing from surgery, your body uses the amino acids in protein to synthesize collagen that promotes tissue repair and regeneration.
Examples of high-quality, easy to digest protein sources include:
- Seeds and nuts
- Protein supplements
Protein is an easy food to not get enough of when you are healing from surgery. To make sure your body is getting enough of the right kind of protein in your post surgery diet, try adding a liquid protein supplement like ProT Gold.
3. Do your physical therapy as advised
Physical and occupational therapy are both essential and important parts of your hip surgery recovery. How much physical therapy you get and the types of exercises that are advised will vary from person to person and have a lot to do with your beeline towards fitness.
Right after surgery, occupational therapists will work with you on how to perform day-to-day activities like getting in and out of bed, taking a shower, getting on and off the toilet, getting dressed, etc.
You use your hip for a surprising number of things, so knowing how to move your body without causing unnecessary pain or damaging the incision area can help speed up recovery.
Most patients that have a total hip replacement surgery need additional help for a few weeks because mobility is severely limited. Most patients will participate in physical therapy, sometimes daily, to improve mobility and strength in their hip.
Your physical therapist will advise you on exercises to do at home and how to best pursue hip surgery recovery through movement. They will likely encourage daily movement like walking to break up periods of sitting down and prevent the hip from locking up or becoming weak.
Walking multiple times a day for just 5-10 minutes each time is a good place to start. Integrate frequent movement to break up your day instead of trying to walk for long periods of time.
It can also help to visit a physical therapist before your hip surgery. They can help you strengthen the hip area and lose weight if necessary.
4. Prepare your home ahead of time and get help
As mentioned in the last section, hip surgery recovery can take time and make every-day activities difficult for some time. That’s why it can help if you have a plan in place before surgery to have someone available to help you with simple tasks. They can help you with cooking, cleaning, if you have pets or children, etc.
If you do not have someone in your life that can help you, consider staying in a rehabilitation center until you are able to perform more tasks independently.
It may also be necessary to prepare your home ahead to time. For instance, if you sleep upstairs, walking up a set of stairs may not be possible for the first couple weeks - so you will need to find a sleeping arrangement that is accessible.
Other things to prepare for in your home include adjusting the height of the toilet seat, moving rugs or other things that can be tripped over, and installing a seat in the shower or bath.
5. Have realistic expectations and be patient
Hip surgery takes time to heal from and it can often be a frustrating process for many patients. Although there are averages and general hip surgery recovery timelines, your recovery time may look a lot different than another person’s.
It is important to stay present and focused on your hip surgery recovery and to work with health care professionals to find solutions that best fit your needs.
You can prepare for hip surgery by following the tips we outlined, but once it comes to the actual hip surgery recovery, it takes persistence to continue to implement consistent exercise and a healthy diet.
Having a support system and ways to occupy your time are good places to start. Staying in a positive mindset and continuing to follow medical guidance will help you stay on track and reach your goals for recovery.
Ask your doctor about adding ProT Gold to your post surgery diet
The post surgery diet is an all too frequent aspect of hip surgery recovery for many patients to overlook, but it can have a huge impact. As we mentioned in our tips, integrating high-quality proteins into your diet can help your hip to heal faster.
Talk to your doctor about integrating a collagen peptide protein like ProT Gold into your post surgery diet. ProT Gold is a medical grade liquid protein supplement that is trusted by over 3,000 medical facilities for surgery recovery, medical nutrition therapy, and more.
Simply taking a supplement could have a huge effect on your healing time, and we want you to be back on your feet as soon as possible.