Just how much walking can you do six months out from a total hip replacement surgery?

“Recovery following uncomplicated hip replacement is generally quite rapid,” says Devin B. Peck, MD, owner of Austin Interventional Pain.

“Important factors include the length of time between onset of hip pain and surgery, severity of pain and disability prior to surgery, and the specific type of hip replacement performed,” explains Dr. Peck.

“In most cases, formal PT should be continued for at least two months after surgery.

“After this, walking can be done as tolerated.

“Speed and duration of walking is limited only by each individual’s tolerance.

“Walking briskly or up or down hills is fine as long as the activity does not cause pain.”

Attention Treadmill Users

You may think that it’s a smart idea to hold onto the treadmill while walking because you had a hip replacement.

However, holding on skewers natural gait. In fact, the faster you walk on a treadmill while holding on in front, the more your hips will over-rotate to compensate for the lack of upper body movement, since holding on locks up the upper body.

Do not fear falling off a treadmill as long as you set the speed slowly and get used to a slow speed—while swinging your arms, moving your body naturally, the way nature designed it to move, with the upper body moving in coordination with the lower body.

Life off the treadmill means you walk all over the place without holding onto anything for support.

Thus, holding onto a treadmill while walking, even after hip replacement surgery, will not make you a more efficient, stronger walker once you step off the machine.

If you feel you’ll fall off if you don’t hold on, then either the speed is too fast and/or the incline is too high.

If your hip hurts while walking on a treadmill, then slow down (hands off) to see if that relieves the pain.

If it doesn’t, get off the machine. Try walking on a track or stable trail outdoors.

In summary, after you’ve completed all of your PT after a hip replacement surgery, you can walk as much as your body feels comfortable — go for it! Just don’t hold onto the treadmill.

Dr. Peck’s areas of interest include chronic and acute musculoskeletal pain, sports injuries, arthritis and cancer pain, among many others. Austin Interventional Pain was established in 2019.
Lorra Garrick has been covering medical, fitness and cybersecurity topics for many years, having written thousands of articles for print magazines and websites, including as a ghostwriter. She’s also a former ACE-certified personal trainer.  


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