Question:

I am having trouble doing straight leg raises after anterior hip replacement surgery. What can I do to help get the muscles to start firing? It’s been 4 days since my surgery.


Answer:

Without doing an examination we cannot comment on your condition specifically. Typically the most important exercises to do in the first phase of rehab (ie. 4 days after surgery) are isometric and function. Isometric means that you are engaging the muscles but not putting a lot of stress through the joint (ie. minimizing torque). An example of isometric exercise for the hip flexors, is to engage your quadriceps by doing a “quad set” (tightening the front thigh muscles). After 1-2 weeks you might even progress to tightening the front thigh muscles and then trying to “unload” your straight leg (without actually lifting your leg).

Every surgeon has a slightly different technique, however in general, anterior approaches tend to impact the hip flexors (muscles in front of the hip including quadriceps and iliopsoas) and it is important to give them some time to heal before stressing them too much (4-6 weeks). The hip flexors are the muscles used to perform a straight leg raise. For that reason, it’s not uncommon to wait for at least 4-6 weeks before doing high repetitions of straight leg raises. After 4-6 weeks, it will be important to integrate this in order to return to previous level of activities.


**This reply is for informational purposes only. It’s not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician, physical therapist, or other qualified health provider with a medical condition.