This Health Fact will tell you how to care for yourself at home after hip arthroscopy.

Going Home

You will go home the day of surgery. You should try to rest as much as you can and elevate your legs. This will help reduce any pain and swelling.

You may notice some swelling in your hip, thigh, or down your leg past your knee for a few days after surgery. If the swelling gets worse, decrease your activities.

You may have bruising in your pelvic or hip area. You may also have some mild to moderate cramping in the thigh muscles for the first few days. This is normal and will go away.

You may feel numb in your thigh, groin, or ankle. Any numbness should go away in a few days to a few weeks.

The leg can also feel cooler than normal, which is from reduced activity. This should improve in a few days though it may not fully go away until you are walking normally.

You will use crutches after surgery. Even if you can step and place weight on your leg, you should still use the crutches until you see your physical therapist. The physical therapist will tell you when you can stop using them.

Most people will use crutches for 1-2 weeks. Other patients may need crutches for up to four weeks. You will be told how much weight you can put on your leg when you go home.

You will start physical therapy 2-5 days after surgery. You will learn hip and leg exercises you can do at home.

No driving until you have full use of your right leg. Your physical therapist, physician assistant, or surgeon can help you figure out when you can drive. No driving until you have been off your narcotic pain medicine for 24 hours.

You and your doctor will decide when you can return to work.

Incision Care

Your incisions will be covered with a dressing. You can take the dressing off 48 hours after surgery.

You can shower 72 hours after surgery. Cover the incisions with plastic wrap, Glad® Press-n-Seal or waterproof band-aids. This will keep the area dry. If using plastic wrap, tape the edges down. This will keep water from getting under the plastic wrap. After you shower, cover the incisions with clean band-aids or dressings. Do not use any creams or ointments on the incisions.

No soaking in a bathtub or swimming pool for at least 4 weeks. No swimming in hot tubs, lakes, or ponds for at least 4-6 weeks, when your incision is completely healed.

You will go home with a cold therapy device. To prevent freezer burn, do not put the ice pad directly on your skin. Try to ice often for the first 72 hours to help decrease pain and swelling.

Follow Up Visit

You will have a follow up visit at one of the sports medicine clinics in 10-14 days. Your stitches will be removed at that visit.


You may get a prescription for narcotic pain medicine before surgery. Please get this filled before surgery to use after surgery. The goal is to help you manage your pain, not make you pain-free. Do not drive until you have been off the narcotic pain medicine for at least 24 hours

You may also get an anti-inflammatory medicine, such as naproxen or indomethacin to help with pain and swelling. You will take these for four to six weeks after surgery.

When to Call

  • Redness, warmth or foul-smelling drainage from the incision site

  • Fever over 100.5° F for 2 readings taken 4 hours apart

  • Bleeding that is not controlled by direct pressure

  • Foot or leg becomes pale, blue or cool to touch

  • You have pain and/or swelling behind the knee or in the calf area.

Who to Call

Sports Medicine

Monday-Friday, 8 am-5 pm


After hours your call will be sent to the paging operator. Ask for the orthopedic resident on call. Leave your name and phone number with area code. The doctor will call you back.

The toll-free number is 1-800-323-8942.

If you are a patient receiving care at UnityPoint – Meriter, Swedish American or a health system outside of UW Health, please use the phone numbers provided in your discharge instructions for any questions or concerns.