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Hip Arthroscopy Rehabilitation

What is the recovery from a hip arthroscopy?

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Updated May 27, 2014

The benefit of hip arthroscopy is that the recovery is much simpler than for open hip surgery. Patients can typically put as much weight as tolerated on the hip immediately following surgery (check with your doctor as some procedures may limit weight bearing).

In the first weeks after surgery, patients work on regaining motion around the joint, and gentle strengthening exercises. Typically, patients work with a physical therapist for assistance with these exercises and stretches.

Most patients can begin light activities (cycling, swimming) within a few weeks. Athletes most often take about 12 weeks for recovery. Again, there are specific procedures that may require a more lengthy rehabilitation, so check with your doctor about the specific plans for your recovery.

Sample Hip Arthroscopy Rehabilitation Protocol

  • Phase I - Initial phase
    Goal: Regain range of motion within tolerance, decrease pain and swelling, neutralize muscle atrophy
    • Day of surgery
      • Isometric gluteal sets
      • Ankle pumps
      • Heel slides
    • Post-operative days 1-7
      • Weight bearing with crutches
      • Isometric quadriceps, gluteals, hamstrings, adductors, and abductors
      • Active assist range of motion all planes
      • Hip mobilization and gentle joint distraction techniques
      • Closed chain bridging, balance drills
  • Phase II - Intermediate phase
    Goal: Regain and build muscle strength, focus on symmetry/core strength
    • Post-operative weeks 2-3
      • Wean crutches and normalize gait pattern
      • Increase range of motion limits
      • Gentle progressive resistive exercises
      • Closed chain single leg bridging
      • Open chain hip 4-way
      • Mobilization with movement
      • Proprioceptive/balance work
      • Stationary bike/aqua therapy
  • Phase III - Advanced phase
    Goal: Improve functional strength and endurance, core strength & stability
    • Post-operative weeks 4-6
      • Continue flexibility exercises
      • Progressively increase resistive and functional strengthening exercises
      • Initiate sport specific exercises
      • Gradual return to sport
    Note: Weight bearing may be limited after some surgical procedures with a hip arthroscopy, including:
      • Labral repair
      • Iliopsoas release
      • Microfracture
      • Capsulorraphy
    Individual rehabilitation protocols will vary by patient and procedure, this information is simply a guide to the rehabilitation following hip arthroscopy in some patients. Always defer to your doctor when making decisions about your rehabilitation!

    Sources:

    McCarthy, JC "Hip Arthroscopy: Applications and Technique" J. Am. Acad. Ortho. Surg., May 1995; 3: 115 - 122.

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