What to Expect After a Hip Replacement

Updated November 21, 2016

Hip replacement surgery is done to replace the hip socket with an artificial one, either because of injury or pain from deterioration of the joint. You can expect your recovery from hip replacement surgery to take many months and often up to a year.

Post-Op Recovery

After your surgery you will be moved to a post-operative recovery room for observation for a few hours. If all is going well, you will be moved to your hospital room.

For the first 24 hours after surgery, you may have a special pillow between your legs that keeps your legs apart. The pillow and hips are held in place by body tape to prevent your hip from moving. You will have a catheter in place to catch your urine.


Within a day or two your recovery nurses will get you up and walking around with the aid of a walker.

Your stay in the hospital should last anywhere from 3 to 7 days. When you go home, you will need someone to take care of you around the clock for a few weeks.

Common Side Effects

Blood clots in the legs and hip are a common occurrence after hip replacement surgery. To prevent clotting you may need to wear thick elastic socks and take medication. Signs of blood clotting are pain or swelling in your calf, foot, thigh or hip.

Serious Side Effect

Serious joint infection occurs in fewer than 2 per cent of the patients that receive a hip replacement, according to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons.


Expect to go to physical therapy for many months after your surgery. At home you may feel able to do your daily living activities in approximately 6 weeks. Your doctor will ask you to do a lot of walking to recovery more quickly.

Long Term Effects

After hip replacement surgery you will be advised by your doctor to avoid high impact exercises and sports such as jogging or aerobics for the rest of your life.

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