A hip replacement is a major surgery so it will usually take weeks rather days to make a full recovery. Exactly how long recovery will take depends on a number of factors, including the type of hip replacement surgery and the effectiveness of the care and support given after the surgery, such as physical therapy.
Most patients will make rapid progress for the first 3 to 4 months following a hip replacement, with many people continuing to see improvements throughout the first year. It is not uncommon for patients to continue to experience some degree of issues with hip strength and muscle weakness for up to 2 years post-surgery, although this may be influenced by how effectively people stick to their recommended physical therapy regime.
It is important to stay in regular communication with healthcare professionals during the period after a hip replacement so they can track your progress and make sure your recovery is staying on track. If your recovery does not progress as expected, or you suffer other issues such as pain, bruising or bleeding from the site of the surgery that lasts longer than expected, this could be a sign of complications from the surgery and further treatment may be required urgently.
Anterior versus posterior hip replacement surgery
Something to bear in mind is that the type of hip replacement you have can affect the recovery time. Surgeons will usually either carry out a posterior hip replacement, where they make an incision at the back of the hip close to the buttocks, or an anterior hip replacement, involving an incision at the front of the hip.
Because an anterior hip replacement generally involves a smaller incision and less cutting of the muscles around the hip, recovery time can be shorter than for a posterior hip replacement.
Physical therapy following a hip replacement
One of the key factors in how quickly and how well you will recover from a hip replacement is the quality of support you receive following the surgery, in particular with regards to physiotherapy.
Physiotherapy will usually start within a few days of the surgery and focus on issues such as learning to walk without limping and building up the strength of your muscles around the new hip.
Exactly how long physiotherapy will need to continue after a hip replacement will depend on the individual, but this often takes around 6 weeks to 2 months.
What to do if you experience complications from a hip replacement
There are various complications people sometimes experience following a hip replacement, including dislocation, infection of the joint, fractures and damage to the tissue, blood vessels or nerves in the surrounding area.
Where these issues are due to medical negligence on the part of the team who handled your hip replacement, you may be able to claim compensation to help you deal with the impact on your health and quality of life.
Medical negligence claims can be complicated, so it is important to seek specialist legal advice from a law firm with experience handling hip replacement compensation claims. This will help to ensure all of the relevant details are accounted for and that you have the best chance of securing fair compensation.