Background and purpose — Little is known about heterogeneity in early recovery after primary total hip arthroplasty (THA). Therefore, we characterized subgroups of patients according to their hip function trajectory during the first 6 weeks after THA in a fast-track setting. Patients and methods — 94 patients (median age 65 years [41–82], 56 women) from a single hospital participated in a diary study. Patients recorded their severity of hip problems (Oxford Hip Score, OHS) weekly for 6 weeks after THA. Latent class growth modelling (LCGM) was used to identify patients with the same hip function trajectory and to compare these subgroups on patient characteristics. Results — LCGM revealed a fast (n = 17), an average (n = 53), and a slow (n = 24) recovery subgroup. Subgroups differed on the estimated weekly growth rate during the first 2 weeks (fast: 9.5; average: 5.3; slow: 2.7), with fewer differences between groups in the last 4 weeks (fast: 0.90; average: 2.0; slow: 1.7). Patients in the slow recovery group could be characterized as women of older age (mean age =69) who rated their health as lower preoperatively, needed more assistance during recovery, and were less satisfied with the outcomes of the surgery. Interpretation — We identified distinct recovery trajectories in the first 6 weeks after fast-track primary THA which were associated with patient characteristics.