The following are some ways to incorporate movement after you have had hip
replacement surgery. Discuss these techniques with your physicians and
orthopedist before attempting them. Your physical therapist may modify some
of these techniques depending upon your situation (i.e., age, weight, and
procedure). Only do the techniques that are recommended by your physician
Getting Out of Bed
Step 1 Get out of the bed on the same side as your operated leg.
You physician and/or physical therapist will show you how to move your
operated leg properly and will assist you the first few times while you're
in the hospital.
Step 2 Pivot on your hips using your elbows to help. Keep your body
straight with your operated leg kept to the side. Do not twist your leg.
Step 3 Move your unoperated leg around and sit on the edge of the
bed keeping your operated leg straight. Hold onto your walker for support
and stand. Do not bend forward as you try to stand.
Step 1 Sit in firm, straight-backed chairs with high seats and
armrests. You should avoid low, overstuffed chairs. Back your walker up
until you feel the chair touching the back of your legs.
Step 2 Release your hands from the walker and reach down and hold
onto the arm rests. Slowly lower yourself keeping your operated leg straight
out in front.
Step 3 Sit then slide back in the chair bending your unoperated leg
first. You use this technique when using a toilet with arm rails as well.
Once you can stand, you will use a walker to help you keep your balance.
Initially you will be told to place only a small amount of weight on your
operated leg as you walk. As you become stronger, your doctor will tell you
when you can increase the amount of weight placed on your operated leg.
Step 1 Place the walker a few inches in front on you and hold on to
the walker firmly with both hands. Keep you hip straight and step your
unoperated leg into the center of the walker. To protect your hip, avoid
rotating your hip or foot.
Step 2 Lean on the walker and let it support your weight. Step
forward and through the walker with your operated leg. Be careful not to
wrap your leg around the legs of the walker.
Step 3 Lift your walker straight up (if it doesn't have wheels). Be
sure to place all four of its legs down before stepping forward again.
Once your muscles are strong enough, your physical therapist and/or
physician may recommend crutches instead of using a walker. Your therapist
will give you guidelines on how far and how long you may walk. When using
crutches, put your weight on your palms, not your armpits. Don't twist to
turn, take small steps instead. Your physician and/or therapist will tell
you how much weight you can put on your operated leg.
Step 1 With the crutches firmly in place, place pressure on your
hands, not on your armpits.
Step 2 Move the operated leg and both crutches forward at the same
Step 3 Looking up and straight ahead, first step through the
crutches with the operated leg followed by your unoperated leg.
Walking Up Stairs with Crutches
With your crutches upright on the floor and firmly planted for support, lift
your unoperated leg and place it on the step. Leaning forward on the
crutches, lift yourself up. Use the crutches and your unoperated leg to
support your weight. Now lift your operated leg up onto the step. You may
want to have someone help you the first few times until you become
comfortable with stairs.
Walking Down Stairs with Crutches
Place your crutches and your operated leg on the lower step. Use the
crutches for balance and lower yourself carefully down onto the step moving
the crutches as you move the operated leg. Again, you may wish to have
someone assist you the first few times you try this.
Avoid Risky Movements
At first some movements will put too much strain on your new hip joint,
which could cause the ball to slip from its socket. A therapist will teach
you which movements to avoid. A few of the most risky ones are:
Don't let your knee cross the midline of your body.
Rather, sit with both feet on the floor, with your knees six inches apart.
Don't plant your foot and rotate your new hip inward.
Rather, turn both your feet and your body.
Don't bend all the way over from the waist.
Rather, use a device, such as a long-handled grabber to reach down.
Once You Are At Home
It is very important that you follow your surgeon's instructions. The
following suggestions should be discussed with your surgeon before your
If you will be using a walker or crutches to assist with walking, ask your
doctor how much weight you may put on your operated leg. Remember that you
will probably tire more easily than usual. You may want to plan a rest
period of 30 to 60 minutes mid-morning and mid-afternoon.
It is safer and easier to get in and out of chairs using both arms and you
should avoid low or overstuffed furniture. To increase your comfort, use a
cushion or pillow to raise your body while seated.
An elevated toilet seat may reduce stress to your hips and knees as you
sit and stand.
A shelf placed in the shower at chest height may reduce having to bend to
retrieve items while in the shower.
A bathtub seat (bench) allows you to sit while bathing for increased
safety and comfort.
A long-handled bath sponge may be used to reach lower legs. Women can also
purchase razor extenders to shave their legs.
Avoid sweeping, mopping, and running the vacuum cleaner. Use long-handled
feather dusters for dusting high and low items. Your doctor will tell you
when it is okay to sweep, mop, and vacuum.
You may ride in a car, but you must follow your doctor's instructions for
how to get in and out of the vehicle. You can raise the height of the car
seat with pillows to protect your hips and knees as well.
Your doctor will talk with you about when you can drive, typically within
four to six weeks after surgery. If you have a car with manual
transmission, talk with your doctor about driving limitations. Make sure
you can brake the car without discomfort before you attempt to drive in
Constipation is a common problem for patients following surgery. This is
usually due to your limited activity and any pain medications you may be
taking. Discuss your diet with your doctor. It should include fresh fruits
and vegetables as well as eight full glasses of liquid each day, unless
your doctor tells you otherwise.
Your doctor will probably give you a prescription for pain pills. Please
follow your doctor's instructions concerning these medications.
Some swelling around the incision is normal. You will find it more
comfortable to wear loose clothing to avoid pressure on the incision. Ask
your doctor or other qualified health professional about appropriate wound