Total Hip Replacement Exercise Guide: Postoperative Information
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Reduce pain and swelling

Ice and heat

  • Ice can be applied to your operated leg for 10-15 minutes every hour, as needed. You may find this most helpful after exercise. When resting, lie flat, apply ice where you have pain, elevate your leg above the level of your heart and move your ankles up and down. This can help reduce swelling, pressure and pain
  • Beginning one week after surgery, you may apply heat for 10-15 minutes before you exercise. Do not apply heat directly over the incision

Pain medication

  • Pain medication should be taken as prescribed
  • It is important that your pain is controlled so that you are able to complete 2-3 exercise sessions each day and gradually progress your walking
  • If you have pain when doing your exercises, take your pain medication before starting your exercises. The goal is to be 4/10 or lower (low to moderate pain) on the 0-10 pain scale (0= no pain, 10= pain as bad as it can be)
  • For more information about pain management visit


  • You may sleep however you are comfortable. If you are lying on your side you may find it comfortable to sleep with pillow(s) between your thighs
  • Scar sensitivity is normal and may make it uncomfortable to lie on your operated side. To decrease sensitivity, gradually increase the amount of time you spend lying on your operated side 

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