Total Hip Replacement Rehabilitation Days 1-3

8 March 2017
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Total Hip Replacement Post-Operative Rehab

Days 1-3

The primary goal for the first three days after a total hip replacement is to ensure adequate wound healing, adhering to the precautions to maintain the artificial hip in place and strengthening exercises for the hip and leg.

Wound Care:

  • Do not scrub the incision
  • Do not soak in a tub or go swimming
  • Let water/soap run over it and pat it dry
  • Try not to shower during the first three days, only try when your surgeon says you can
  • Keep the dressing (bandage) on your incision clean and dry.


Change the dressing only if your surgeon told you to. If you do change it, follow these steps:


  1. Wash your hands well with soap and water.
  2. Remove the dressing carefully. DO NOT pull hard. If you need to, soak some of the dressing with sterile water or saline to help loosen it.
  3. Soak some clean gauze with saline and wipe from one end of the incision to the other. DO NOT wipe back and forth over the same area.
  4. Dry the incision the same way with clean, dry gauze. Wipe or pat in just 1 direction.
  5. Apply a new dressing the way your doctor or nurse showed you.


Sutures (stitches) or staples will be removed about 10 to 14 days after surgery. You may have bruising around your wound. This is normal, and it will go away on its own. The skin around your incision may be a little red. This is normal too. Check your wound for signs of infection. These include severe swelling and redness and drainage that has a bad odour.



  1. Do NOT cross your legs with the operated leg
  2. Do NOT sit in a low chair so that hip stays below 90 degrees
  3. Do NOT twist the operated leg in/out
  4. Do NOT lie on either side


Exercises in Standing:

In standing, holding onto a chair, try and straighten your leg out in front of you, straighten it out behind and also straighten it out to the side. Do it 10 times in each direction. These exercises are important to work on after a total hip replacement when in standing. They all involve restoring hip strength and flexibility. The thigh muscle begins to atrophy (waste) after 48hours of bed rest so it is paramount to recovery to reactivate this muscle, and it is more functional to do so in standing.


At Lawlor Clinic, we have a chartered physiotherapist with experience in post-operative rehab. If you are in need of rehabilitation after a total hip replacement please contact us today


Yours in Health,

The Lawlor Clinic: Portlaoise

Chiropractic | Physiotherapy | Active Release Techniques (ART®)


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