Aquatic exercise advances recovery from

Hip Replacement Surgery

What are the benefits of hydrotherapy after hip replacement?

  • Buoyancy in the water relieves body weight, allowing for easier walking and functional movements (such as walking, squatting or step up’s) after the surgery.
  • The hydrostatic pressure of the water has positive effects on reducing swelling in the operated limb, which in turn helps regain more range of motion and reduces pain.
  • Further positive influences on pain regulation are due to the relaxation effect of warm water and suppression of the sympathetic nervous system associated with water submersion.
  • The sensory input of the water can also increase body position sense enabling improved feelings of balance and confidence.
  • Through increased confidence and reduced pain patients are able to move more freely, which often leads them to report reduced fear and anxiety about the recent surgery. This has a feed forward effect where future behaviours and movements over the early stages of recovery will potentially determine long term outcome.

"The hydrotherapy sessions at Aqua Physio were a vital element of my recuperation programme from bilateral hip replacement surgery earlier this year. The physiotherapist ensured that I worked at an appropriate pace, building my confidence so that I quickly regained strength and mobility, leading to a very successful recovery."


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Here is a short video clip of a patient performing a selection of her exercises at Aqua-Physio 2 weeks and 10 weeks after left and right sided total hip replacement’s respectivley:


When can I start hydrotherapy after the operation?

  • Straight away! The prime time to start pool therapy is immediately after surgery. Early aquatic therapy improves function – fact!
  • Well maintained pools do not pose increased risk of wound related adverse events (such as infection) compared with land based therapy.

What is a total hip replacement?

  • Total hip replacement, or total hip arthroplasty, is a surgical procedure in which articular surfaces of the hip joint are replaced with artificial parts (prostheses).

The majority of hip replacements are performed to relieve the painful effects of osteoarthritis. Other indications include inflammatory arthritis (rheumatoid, psoriatic, etc.), avascular necrosis, hip fractures, tumour’s, or congenital deformities.

What usually happens after the operation?

  • Hospital stay varies, you'll usually be in hospital for around three to five days, depending on the progress you make and what type of surgery you have.
  • If you're generally fit and well, the surgeon may suggest an enhanced recovery programme, where you start walking on the day of the operation and are discharged within one to three days.
  • Once you're able to be discharged, your hospital will give you advice about looking after your hip at home. You'll need to use a frame or crutches at first and a physiotherapist will teach you exercises to help mobilise and strengthen your hip.
  • Recovery times can vary depending on the individual and type of surgery carried out. It's important to follow the advice the hospital gives you on looking after your hip.
  • Generally, you should be able to stop using your crutches within four to six weeks and feel more or less normal after three months, by which time you should be able to perform all your normal activities.

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