What Is the Timeline of Recovery After Hip Replacement?

Recovering from surgery to replace your hip can be long and tedious. People wonder what to expect and individual cases differ. A common outline of what most people will go through from operation to three months post is as follows:

Hip Replacement Recovery Timeline

Hip replacement recovery can be long or short, depending on a lot of differing variables. Here is a rough timeline of what you may experience:

Day of Surgery:

  • Check in a few hours before surgery time and expect to be in the hospital for a few days.
  • The surgery can take two or three hours.
  • Anesthesia recovery can take a couple of hours.
  • You get to return to your hospital room when you’re fully awake.
  • You need to observe a liquid diet for the day.
  • Medication for pain and prevention of infection and blood clots will follow.

One to Two Days Post Surgery:

  • At the hip replacement recovery timeline, with assistance, you will get out of bed and start moving with crutches or a walker.
  • You will meet your occupational and physical therapists to help learn to move with less pain and safely.
  • Some movements will be prohibited for a few weeks as you heal.
  • The day after your operation you can return to your regular diet.
  • You will meet with case workers, nurses and doctors from the hospital.
  • Your IV pain medications will be removed, and you’ll be started on pills.

Three Days Post Hip Replacement

  • Walking gets easier; trips to the bathroom may be unassisted.
  • You may be discharged if you’re doing well. Some patients need to stay longer.
  • Depending on individual situations, you may go to rehab or home.

Four Days and Further Post Surgery

  • At the hip replacement recovery timeline, follow your general practitioner’s instructions tor incision care. Keep to sponge baths and keep the area dry to prevent infection. Don’t let the incision get wet such as in a tub.  
  • Call your doctor if any signs of infection show such as drainage, fever, or increased redness.
  • Stick to your physical therapy exercises.
  • You may get home visits from your physical therapist or nurse.
  • Less pain medication will be needed.
  • Try to get as much movement as you can. This helps to get blood flow going and prevents blood clots.

10-14 Days Post Surgery

You will get your staples taken out and should get permission for showers and baths.

3-6 Weeks Post Surgery

  • Light activities may resume.
  • Walking without crutches or help should be possible.
  • You may get permission to drive again.

10-12 Weeks Post Surgery

Normal activities may be resumed at the hip replacement recovery timeline.

Hip Replacement Recovery Guidelines

When you get home, there are a few things you will need to do to insure you continue your road to recovery.

Incision Care

Staples are used to close your incision and are removed two weeks post surgery. The area may itch and will be bruised or can be numb. You may find relief from applying an icepack to ease the burning sensation. Avoid ointments, creams and lotions in the hip area for some time. You may need to use a bandage, but you shouldn’t soak it. It’s recommended to skip showering for 48 hours after your staples are taken out.

Physical Activity

Recovery requires you to be active. In as little as 3-6 weeks post surgery, you should be nearly back to normal with your daily routines. The first few weeks will help you learn from your therapist what exercises can help with recovery. Your doctor may recommend graduated walking and household exercises to help you regain your strength.

It’s important not to push yourself so you don’t fall. Be cautious on stairs and get help when needed. Canes, crutches, walkers or handrails may be recommended. You should have full hip movement as soon as six weeks after surgery. Your surgeon may allow you to return to work, depending and you will likely be allowed to resume sex as well.


In the first-year post surgery, you will have doctor visits and follow ups with your surgeon. You should have appointments at three weeks, six weeks, a few months, half a year and a year. Your doctor will want to see you yearly to insure you are progressing correctly.


Follow your doctor’s orders with medication. You may have non-narcotic pain pills and narcotics, injectable or oral blood thinners, anti-nausea medications and stool softeners.

Speak with your doctor about your medication, any vitamins, supplements and OTC medicine you take. Your doctor can let you know if there are any troubles.

Be vigilant against bacterial infection in the new joint. You may have antibiotics prescribed when there is a chance of infection, such as when dental work is performed. Notify your doctor if you will have dental work done and let your dentist know you’ve had a hip replacement. You may need to carry a medical alert card in case there’s an emergency to notify professionals of your artificial hip.


Your diet should return to normal by the time you return home. You may need vitamin and iron supplements. You may also be told to avoid vitamin K because of certain blood thinners. Some foods to avoid are liver, broccoli, Brussel sprouts, green beans, cauliflower, kale, turnip greens, soybeans and soybean oil, lentils, garbanzo beans, onions and cabbage. Limit coffee and alcohol but drink other fluids.

Continue to stay hydrated with plenty of fluids but limit alcohol and caffeine intake. Watch your weight to insure no undue strain on your healing joint.

Dos and Don'ts to Protect Your New Hip

You may get a list of dos and don’ts, depending on your surgeon. These precautions can help you heal and prevent you from damaging your new hip. Some common precautions include:


  • Don’t bring your knee higher than hip level.
  • Don't sit cross legged at the knee for at least 6-8 weeks.
  • Don’t bend 90 degrees at the waist.
  • Don't lean forward as you sit down or when sitting.
  • Don't pick something up from sitting position.
  • Don’t pull blankets up while lying in bed.
  • Don't turn your feet either in or out when bending.


  • Do apply warmth to assist with movement before exercising. Use a damp towel or heating pad for the heat.
  • Do keep your feet forward facing.
  • Do keep your healing leg forward when sitting or standing.
  • Do use a higher chair when possible.
  • Do kneel on the healing knee on.
  • Do put ice on to reduce swelling and pain. Don’t apply it to the skin without a cloth between.  
  • Do ease up on exercise when your body tells you but keep at it.