Hip Arthroscopy Expectations


A hip arthroscopy is a procedure performed by an orthopedic surgeon to identify or treat a potential hip disorder. The hip arthroscopy takes place in an operating room. Anesthesia is given to make sure there is no pain during the surgery. During the procedure, the surgeon puts a small camera and tools through several small openings in the hip area.

Arthroscopic hip surgery has several advantages over an open hip surgery. They include: lower pain levels, a shorter recovery time and a faster return to physical activities.

Even though a hip arthroscopy might be less invasive than an open hip surgery, it still requires careful follow-up and physical therapy after surgery. 

Below you will find expectations and milestones for patients after a hip arthroscopy.

On the Day of Surgery


  •  After surgery, the patient will leave the hospital with crutches
  • Toe-touch weight bearing: This means you can only let the weight of the leg that had surgery rest on the ground while using crutches. Do not stand with your body weight on this leg. You do NOT need to hold your leg up in the air
  • No physical therapy at this time
  • A physical therapist or nurse will teach you how to use crutches before you leave the hospital.

Pain Control

  • Although this surgery is performed under general anesthesia, regional anesthesia can be used for this surgery (epidural or nerve block, injection of numbing medicine into the leg or spine)
  • After surgery, the patient will wake up in pain. It typically takes an hour or so to get pain under control with intravenous and oral medications
  • Patients may have pain in their feet from the tight boots used for positioning during the surgery
  • Patients will leave the hospital with oral pain medication
  • Any regional anesthesia that is given will wear off later that day. The pain will begin to get worse when this happens. Make sure to start the oral pain medicine from your surgeon when the pain begins increase. Take all medicine in the correct dosage.

Surgical Dressing

  • During surgery, the hip joint is flushed with fluid. After surgery, this fluid can leak from the patient’s incisions. This is normal. If the bandage becomes wet, simply remove it and place a new bandage. If you notice excess bleeding or blood soaking the dressing, contact our office immediately or go to a Texas Children’s Emergency Center.


  • Sometimes patients experience nausea after surgery
  • Patients must be able to tolerate fluids before leaving hospital
  • Fluids and small bland meals may help with nausea

In the 1st Week After Surgery


  • Continue using crutches
  • Remain toe-touch weight bearing
  • Patients of age may drive once they are not taking narcotic medication or opioid pain medication
  • Schedule the first post-operative physical therapy evaluation within 1 week of surgery
  • Schedule a post-operative visit with your surgeon for 2 weeks after surgery

Pain Control

  • Work with your medical team to determine the best medications to control pain
  • Wait to return to school or work until the medical team gives clearance

Surgical Dressing

  • Dressings may be removed 3-5 days after surgery
  • Patients may shower but should not soak a bath or swim until the incision is fully healed and evaluated by the medical team


  • The patient’s appetite should return to normal during this week
  • Sometimes pain medication can decrease a patient’s appetite and cause constipation

In the 2nd Week After Surgery


  • Continue using crutches
  • Remain toe-touch weight bearing
  • Continue physical therapy
  • Visit with your surgical team to have your incision checked
  • After this post-operative vist, the patient may begin to walk without crutches if approved

Pain Control

  • Take ibuprofen (Motrin®) or acetaminophen (Tylenol®) for pain when needed
  • Make sure to take pain medication before physical therapy appointments
  • Contact your doctor if pain is not controlled

3-6 Weeks After Surgery

  • Continue physical therapy
  • Take ibuprofen (Motrin®) or acetaminophen (Tylenol®) for pain when needed
  • Follow up in Hip Clinic 6 weeks after surgery. X-rays will be taken at the visit.

Return to Sports 

  • Wait for your surgeon’s and physical therapist’s permission to return to sports/activities
  • Gradually return back to sports over 3 to 6 months after surgery
  • Use the physical therapy progress reports to guide the patient’s return to sports/activities
  • Following the physical therapy treatment plan is critical for a complete recovery