Direct anterior approach (DAA) for hip replacement surgery is a minimally invasive procedure where the surgeon accesses the hip joint from the front. This approach minimises muscle damage and promotes faster recovery than traditional methods. This surgery aims to relieve pain, improve hip function, and enhance the quality of life for people suffering from hip joint issues. This blog provides an overview of the recovery process and practical advice to help you recover smoothly after hip replacement surgery.

The Recovery Timeline After The Surgery

Recovering from the direct anterior approach involves several stages. The timeline can be divided into four main phases:

Immediate Post-Surgery Care

This phase focuses on initial recovery right after surgery. This includes:


You will be monitored closely in the recovery room to ensure stable vital signs.

Pain Management

Pain medications will be administered either through an IV or orally, as directed by your orthopaedic surgeon.

Blood Clot Prevention

You will be encouraged to move your feet and ankles to promote blood circulation and prevent clots.

Hospital Stay

Most patients remain in the hospital for 1-3 days for initial recovery and monitoring.

Basic Physical Therapy

The orthopaedic surgeon will instruct basic exercises such as ankle pumps, quadriceps sets, and heel slides to begin regaining mobility.

Early Recovery (First Few Weeks After Surgery)

The first few weeks are important to avoid complications and rebuild strength.

Wound Care

Keep the incision area clean and dry. Follow your orthopaedic surgeon’s instructions for showering and wound care. Avoid soaking the wound until it is fully healed.

Infection Prevention

Watch for signs of infection, such as redness, swelling, or discharge from the incision. Fever can also be a sign of infection. Contact your orthopaedic surgeon if you notice any of these symptoms.

Use of Mobility Devices

Crutches or walkers help with mobility and reduce strain on the new hip. Use these devices as instructed by your orthopaedic surgeon to prevent falls and ensure proper weight distribution.

Gentle Exercises

Continue with gentle exercises to improve mobility and strength, as directed by your orthopaedic surgeon. These exercises are designed to gradually increase your range of motion and strengthen the muscles around your hip.

Follow-Up Appointments

Regular check-ups with your orthopaedic surgeon to monitor healing and address any concerns. Your orthopaedic surgeon will assess your progress and adjust your recovery plan.

Mid-Term Recovery (1-3 Months Post-Surgery)

During this phase, the focus is on more intensive physical therapy to improve mobility and strength, which include:

Intensive Physical Therapy

Your orthopaedic surgeon will guide you through more intensive exercises, such as leg lifts, hip abductions, and stationary cycling to increase your range of motion and muscle strength.

Avoid High-Impact Exercises

Refrain from activities that might stress the hip joint, such as running or jumping.

Monitoring Your Progress

Regular appointments with your orthopaedic surgeon are important to track progress and adjust your recovery plan as needed. Your healthcare team will assess your mobility, strength, and overall function.

Long-Term Recovery (3+ Months Post-Surgery)

Long-term care is important to ensure overall joint health. The following are:

Continued Exercise Program

Maintain strength and flexibility by continuing prescribed exercises. Your orthopaedic surgeon will provide a long-term exercise plan to keep the muscles around your hip strong and flexible.

Gradual Return to Daily Activities

Slowly resume normal activities, such as walking, gardening and light housework, but avoid high-impact sports or activities that could put undue stress on the hip joint. It is important to increase your activity intensity and duration as your hip strengthens.

Regular Follow-Up Visits

Keep up with scheduled check-ups to ensure the hip joint is functioning well and to address any long-term concerns. These appointments typically include physical exams and X-rays to monitor the condition of the hip replacement.

Maintaining Joint Health

Focus on maintaining joint health through proper nutrition, hydration, and avoiding activities that may cause excessive wear on the hip joint. A balanced diet rich in calcium and vitamin D can support bone health.

Factors Influencing the Recovery Process

The recovery time after the direct anterior approach can vary among patients due to several factors:

Patient’s Overall Health

Pre-existing health conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, or respiratory issues can affect the body’s ability to heal and recover. Managing chronic conditions effectively, such as maintaining blood sugar levels and blood pressure within recommended ranges.

Physical Activity Level Before Surgery

Patients who were more active before surgery tend to recover faster due to better baseline muscle strength and cardiovascular health. Staying as active as possible within the limits set by your orthopaedic surgeon and participating in physical therapy can promote effective recovery.

Smoking and Alcohol Use

Smoking and excessive alcohol use can impair healing and increase the risk of complications such as infections and delayed bone healing. Patients are advised to stop smoking and drink less alcohol before and after surgery.


Proper nutrition supports the body’s healing process by providing important nutrients for tissue repair and overall health. Focus on a balanced diet rich in protein, vitamins, and minerals. Staying hydrated is also important for faster recovery.

Tips and Advice for Recovery

These practical tips and advice can help facilitate a smoother and quicker recovery process.

Follow Post-Surgery Instructions

Strictly follow the instructions given by your orthopaedic surgeon. This includes taking medications as prescribed, attending all follow-up appointments, and adhering to activity restrictions by sticking to the exercise routine provided to strengthen your hip.

Maintain Good Posture

Maintain good posture while sitting, standing, and moving. Use ergonomic chairs and cushions to support your hip and lower back.

Do Warm-Up Exercises

Always perform warm-up exercises such as gentle stretches and light activity before and after your workouts to reduce the risk of injury and improve flexibility.

Wear Supportive Footwear

Supportive, non-slip shoes may help you avoid falls and give enough support for your replacement hip. Wear shoes with strong arch support and a non-slip sole. Avoid high heels and sandals that lack proper support.


Recovering from the direct anterior approach involves several stages, from immediate post-surgery care to long-term recovery. It is important to understand the recovery timeline and the factors that influence it. Following and implementing practical tips is important to support your body’s healing process. With dedication and a proactive approach, you can recover effectively and return to your daily activities with improved mobility and comfort.