Hip fracture : Recovery

After fracturing a hip, you'll have a tailored rehabilitation programme to help you regain your mobility and independence as soon as possible.

Prompt surgery and an effective rehabilitation programme have been proven to reduce the length of a person's hospital stay and help them to recover their mobility faster.


Multi-disciplinary team

Your rehabilitation will usually involve a multi-disciplinary team (a team of different healthcare professionals working together). The team may include:

  • physiotherapists – healthcare professionals trained in using physical methods, such as massage, manipulation and exercises, to promote healing and wellbeing. Find out more about physiotherapy
  • occupational therapists – healthcare professionals who identify problem areas in everyday life, such as dressing yourself or getting to the shops, and help you find practical solutions
  • social workers – people involved in providing social services who can advise on practical issues such as benefits and placement in a care home
  • an orthopaedic surgeon – a surgeon who specialises in conditions involving the bones and joints
  • a geriatrician – a doctor who specialises in healthcare for elderly people
  • a liaison nurse – a healthcare professional who may be involved in planning your discharge and keeping you and your family informed about the care you're receiving

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Rehabilitation in hospital

A physiotherapy assessment and mobilisation, such as weight-bearing exercises, should begin the day after hip fracture surgery.

While you're in hospital, your rehabilitation may take place in:

  • an orthopaedic ward – for people with bone and joint conditions
  • a rehabilitation ward – for people undergoing rehabilitation programmes
  • a geriatric orthopaedic rehabilitation unit – for older people with orthopaedic conditions

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Being discharged

How long you need to stay in hospital will depend on your condition and how soon you regain mobility. If you're otherwise healthy, you may be able to leave hospital around 1 week after surgery.

Before you're discharged, an occupational therapist may assess your home to see whether you'll need any mobility aids fitted, such as handrails. You may also be given a walking aid, such as a walking stick or crutch.

Your GP and carer (if you have one) may be told when you're being discharged so that plans can be made to support you. After you've been discharged you may need to:

  • return to hospital for a rehabilitation appointment
  • see your GP for a follow-up appointment
  • have visits or telephone calls at home from healthcare professionals involved in your care

This will be discussed with you before you're discharged.

Find out more about arranging for care before you leave hospital.

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Rehabilitation programme

After a hip fracture, you'll follow a rehabilitation programme that includes exercises to help improve your strength and mobility.

Your individualised programme will depend on your current level of fitness and mobility and may involve some of the following:

  • weight-bearing exercises – where your feet and legs support your weight, such as walking
  • non-weight-bearing exercises – where your feet and legs do not support your weight, such as swimming or cycling
  • treadmill exercises – such as walking at different speeds and inclines
  • intensive physical training – such as meeting with an exercise instructor three or more times a week to exercise
  • strength training and balance training exercises

It's extremely important that you follow your rehabilitation programme after a hip fracture to ensure you regain as much fitness and mobility as possible.

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Care and support

It may be useful to read our guide to social care and support – written for people with care and support needs, as well as their carers and family.

It includes information and advice on:

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Age UK

Age UK, a charity for older people, has more useful information and advice about healthy bones and keeping fit.

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