“Pre”habilitation – The Key to Quick Surgery Recovery

Recovering from surgery—especially hip surgery—can be a boring, painful affair. Between the pills, the drowsiness, and the doctor-ordered rest, it’s only natural to feel a little powerless when recovering from an operation.

But what if there was something you could do beforehand that would shorten your recovery period, reduce pain, and get you up and moving quicker and stronger than before?

Alabama Orthopaedic Surgeons suggest “Pre”habilitation—a regimen of focused pre-surgery exercise and movement—that has been shown to drastically reduce recovery time in some patients, especially those requiring hip surgery.

By targeting the muscles, ligaments, and tissues at the surgical site, thereby strengthening and improving function beforethe surgery, you can position yourself to better overcome surgical effects.

But how is it done? And what can you do if you’re already in pain? Well, depending on your functionality, it’s usually best to start by:


Stretching regularly before the date of your operation can reduce tightness and improve range of motion. Tight ligaments can hurt on their own, to say nothing of the injuries they cause or the discomfort after hip surgery.

No matter how able you are presently, there are dozens of ways to flex your hips a little each day. The knee-to-chest stretch only requires you to lie flat on your back and bring your knee up as close to your chest as possible.

Get your Blood Flowing

Cardiovascular health is key to a long, happy life. Strengthening your heart before surgery works much the same way. Blood flow can be an issue while sitting and waiting for recovery.  The stronger your heart beforehand, the quicker you recover afterwards.

But cardiovascular exercise can be difficult with hip pain, and if you weren’t exactly training for a marathon before, how can you optimize that effort pre-surgery?

For those with hip pain, stationary bikes can be your saving grace. This seated form of low-impact cardio gives the most and hurts the least.

Be sure to consult your cardiologist before beginning any cardio routine.

Join the Resistance

For impending hip surgery, you’ll want to go in as strong as possible. A stronger muscle weakens less than a weaker muscle during recovery, and being as fit as you can beforehandtranslates to less time on the couch and more time on the go.

Strengthening your legs, core, lower-back, and the hip muscles themselves can go a long way.  Gentleresistance and cable machinery at any gym should suffice. No need to dominate the squat or powerlifting racks.

Low impact leg-press machines, hip abductor machines, low-weight squats, or body-weight lunges—exercises exist for everybody no matter your functionality.

Get Going

The last thing you want to do is use your upcoming surgery as an excuse to sit down and give up. The more you move before your scheduled surgery date, the quicker you’ll get to moving afterwards.

Take every opportunity to walk, use the stairs, lift, bend, reach, and perform other daily tasks so long as you’re comfortable doing so.

Look at it like this: every action you take before surgery could mean an hour, a day, or even several days less spent recovering, in pain, or otherwise feeling powerless and helpless. You’ll want off of that couch by the 2ndor 3rdday since surgery. Don’t end up wishing you’d done more before.

All pre-surgical exercise should first be approved by your physician.

Encourage Healing

Alabama Orthopaedic Surgeonsare expertly trained, educated, and experienced in helping you heal with and without surgical options. But healthy living comes down to more than scalpels and stitches.

Talk to your orthopaedic physician today about invasive and non-invasive courses of action to improve your mobility, happiness, and health.

Scroll to Top