Exercises and Activities to Avoid After Hip Replacement

Recovery can take from three months to over a year

If you have had a total hip replacement surgery, there are certain precautions you need to take, especially if your surgery was done via a posterior approach. While your total hip rehab may have taken place in the hospital, at home, or in an outpatient clinic, you may benefit from the skilled services of a physical therapist (PT). 

Hip prosthesis, x-ray
BSIP / Getty Images

The primary concern is the avoidance of a hip replacement dislocation in which the artificial ball of the upper leg (femur) slips out of the artificial hip socket.

According to research from the University Hospital of Cologne, around 2% of people with a total hip replacement will experience a dislocation within a year, while 28% of those with revision hip replacement will experience the same.


Click Play to Learn More About Hip Replacement Exercises to Avoid

This video has been medically reviewed by Oluseun Olufade, MD.


After a total hip replacement with a posterior incision, three movements should be avoided to prevent the dislocation of the hip prosthesis. Not all patients need to comply with these restrictions, as they differ with the incision location and type of hip prosthetic used.

However, until you are fully recovered and your mobility and range of motion have been fully evaluated by your orthopedic surgeon, you should avoid:

  • Hip flexion past 90 degrees: This means that you should not bend your hip up too far or lift your knee too high. In general, your thigh must remain below the parallel line when compared to the floor. Sitting in a low chair or bending your knee and hip up to put on a sock may break this 90-degree rule and put you at risk for hip dislocation.
  • Crossing your operated leg over your non-operative leg (adduction): When lying down, you should not cross one leg over the other to maintain this hip precaution. When sleeping, many people are required to use a special wedge called an abduction pillow to help keep their legs separated.
  • Walking pigeon-toed (internal rotation of the hip): After a posterior approach total hip replacement, you should not rotate your hip inwards, or you may risk a dislocation. This means that your toes should be kept straight ahead or slightly rotated outwards when sitting, standing, or lying. When walking, be sure not to rotate your body over your foot on the ground in such a way that causes internal rotation of your hip.

The best way to maintain your total hip precautions is to work closely with your healthcare provider and physical therapist. Your PT can write your hip precautions down so you have a constant reminder.

Most patients who fail to adhere to the prescribed precautions do so while simply moving around in everyday life. Sitting on a low chair or relaxing with your legs crossed is breaking your hip precautions.

Sometimes, exercises, like vigorous straight leg raises, may place your hip in a position where you will be breaking your precautions. The bottom line: be careful.

When to Call Your Healthcare Provider

Call your healthcare provider if you experience signs of hip replacement dislocation, including:

  • You have intense pain in the hip and groin.
  • An audible popping sound is heard with movement.
  • You have ifficulty walking or are unable to walk.
  • The replaced hip joint "catches" with movement.
  • The replaced hip joint is unable to move.
  • The affected leg is suddenly shorter than the other.

Duration of Precautions

Your healthcare provider will tell you when you are at minimal risk for dislocation and you no longer need to follow your total hip precautions. Most often, people need to maintain total hip precautions for approximately 90 days after surgery.

Some healthcare providers may have you maintain your hip precautions for about six months, others may only have you watch your motion for 60 days. It all depends on your health and mobility level prior to the surgery, the complexity of the surgery, and the intensity of your post-operative rehabilitation and recovery.

A 2011 study in the Journal of Orthopaedic & Sports Physical Therapy reported that most people experience rapid recovery in the first three to four months following a total hip replacement, after which improvements continue at a slower rate for up to a year.

Remember that each and every person heals differently after total hip replacement surgery, Working with your physical therapist is the best way to ensure a safe and rapid recovery after your total hip replacement.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • How can you avoid dislocating a replacement hip?

    Many of the risk factors are beyond your control. Underlying neuromuscular disorders, for instance, play a role. Surgical issues such as the protheses being placed incorrectly can also lead to displacement. However, you can lower the risk by not overreaching your range of motion: Don’t bend far forward from a standing position and avoid making an internal rotation of the flexed hip.

  • Does a replacement hip that’s dislocated need to be fixed right away?

    Yes. The hip should be treated via a technique called reduction within 6 hours of the displacement to avoid permanent complications or the need for additional surgeries or invasive procedures.

Was this page helpful?
12 Sources
Verywell Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Benz T, Angst F, Oesch P, et al. Comparison of patients in three different rehabilitation settings after knee or hip arthroplasty: a natural observational, prospective studyBMC Musculoskelet Disord. 2015;16:317. doi:10.1186/s12891-015-0780-2

  2. Dargel J, Oppermann J, Brüggemann GP, Eysel P. Dislocation following total hip replacementDtsch Arztebl Int. 2014;111(51-52):884–890. doi:10.3238/arztebl.2014.0884

  3. Dargel J, Oppermann J, Bruggermann G, et al. Dislocation following total hip replacement. Dtsch Arztebl Int. 2014;111(51-52):884-90. doi:10.3238/arztebl.2014.0884

  4. Zahar A, Rastogi A, Kendoff D. Dislocation after total hip arthroplastyCurr Rev Musculoskelet Med. 2013;6(4):350–356. doi:10.1007/s12178-013-9187-6

  5. Peters A, Tijink M, Veldhuijzen A, Huis in 't Veld R. Reduced patient restrictions following total hip arthroplasty: study protocol for a randomized controlled trialTrials. 2015;16:360. doi:10.1186/s13063-015-0901-0

  6. Peters A, Tijink M, Veldhuijzen A, Huis in 't Veld R. Reduced patient restrictions following total hip arthroplasty: study protocol for a randomized controlled trialTrials. 2015;16:360. doi:10.1186/s13063-015-0901-0

  7. Barnsley L, Barnsley L, Page R. Are Hip Precautions Necessary Post Total Hip Arthroplasty? A Systematic ReviewGeriatr Orthop Surg Rehabil. 2015;6(3):230–235. doi:10.1177/2151458515584640

  8. Eannucci EF, Barlow BT, Carroll KM, Sculco PK, Jerabek SA, Mayman DJ. A Protocol of Pose Avoidance in Place of Hip Precautions After Posterior-Approach Total Hip Arthroplasty May Not Increase Risk of Post-operative DislocationHSS J. 2019;15(3):247–253. doi:10.1007/s11420-019-09708-9

  9. Madara KC, Marmon A, Aljehani M, Hunter-Giordano A, Zeni J Jr, Raisis L. PROGRESSIVE REHABILITATION AFTER TOTAL HIP ARTHROPLASTY: A PILOT AND FEASIBILITY STUDYInt J Sports Phys Ther. 2019;14(4):564–581.

  10. Teyhen DS, Robertson J. Total hip replacement: how long does it take to recover?. J Orthop Sports Phys Ther. 2011;41(4):240. doi:10.2519/jospt.2011.0502

  11. Ärzteblatt DÄG Redaktion Deutsches. Dislocation following total hip replacement. Deutsches Arzteblatt. 2014;111(51-52):884-890. doi:10.3238%2Farztebl.2014.0884

  12. Dawson-Amoah K, Raszewski J, Duplantier N, Waddell BS. Dislocation of the hip: a review of types, causes, and treatment. TOJ. 2018;18(3):242-252. doi:10.31486/toj.17.0079