How to Care for New Hip

During hip replacement surgery, your surgeon removes the diseased or damaged parts of your hip joint and inserts the artificial joint

How to take care of your hip joint

You will need to take care of your hip after hip replacement surgery. This article will tell you how to care for your hip replacement.

What to Expect at Home

You will need to be cautious about how you move your hip after hip replacement surgery. You should soon be able return to your old level of activity. You will still need to be careful when moving about your daily activities so your hip doesn’t become dislocated.

To strengthen your hips, you will need to do exercises.

You should stop downhill skiing and contact sports after your surgery is complete. You should be able do low-impact activities like hiking, gardening and swimming.

Self-care

These are some general guidelines for any activity:

  • When you’re sitting, standing, or lying down, don’t cross your legs and ankles.

  • Don’t bend forward too far from your waist, or extend your leg past your waist. Hip flexion is the act of bending in a forward direction. Avoid hip flexion that exceeds 90 degrees (a right angle).

Dressing up:

  • Don’t dress up. If your bed is stable, sit on a chair or on the edge of your mattress.

  • While you’re dressing, don’t bend over, lift your legs or cross your legs.

  • Make sure you don’t bend too much by using helpful devices. A reacher, long-handled shoeshorn, elastic shoelaces and a aid to put on your socks are all useful devices.

  • Before you start to get dressed, put socks, pants, or pantyhose first on the leg that has had surgery.

  • Take off your clothes from the surgery side before you get dressed.

Sitting:

  • Do not sit in one position for longer than 30-40 minutes at a stretch.

  • Your feet should be at least 6 inches (15 cm) apart. Don’t bring them together.

  • Don’t cross your legs.

  • Your feet should be straight ahead.

  • You should sit in a comfortable chair with straight back and armrests. Avoid sofas, rocking chairs, stools and soft chairs.

  • Avoid low chairs. When you sit down, your hips should be higher then your knees. If you need to, place your head on a pillow.

  • To get up from a chair, you should slide towards the edge and use your walker or crutches to support yourself. You shouldn’t attempt to get out of your chair.

While you’re showering or bathing:

  • If you wish, you can stand in the shower. A special bathtub seat or a sturdy plastic chair can be used to sit in the shower.

  • Rubber mats can be used on the bathtub or shower floor. Make sure the bathroom floor is kept clean and dry.

  • While you’re showering, don’t bend, squat or reach for anything. For washing, use a shower sponge that has a long handle. If the controls are difficult to reach, have someone else change them. Wash the areas of your body that are difficult to reach.

  • Don’t sit in a regular bathtub. It will be difficult to get up safely.

  • If you require one, an elevated toilet seat is a good option. It will keep your knees below your hips while you use the toilet.

If you use stairs:

  • As you go up, place your leg on the side without surgery.

  • As you go down, place your leg on the side that has had surgery.

You are lying on your back in bed

  • You should not lie on your stomach or on the side of your hip. Place a pillow between your legs if you’re sleeping on the side of your new hip.

  • To keep your hips in alignment, a special abductor pillow (or splint) may be used.

If you’re getting in or riding in a vehicle:

  • You should get in the car at street level and not from a curb or door.

  • You should not have your car seat too low. If you feel the need, use a pillow to support your head. Make sure that you are able to slide on the seat material before you get in a car.

  • Stop driving for too long. Get out of your car and take a walk every two hours.

You should not drive until your doctor has given you permission. Depending on whether you have had your left or right hip replaced, the waiting period before you are allowed to drive will vary.

Walking is a great way to exercise:

  • Keep using your crutches and walker until your doctor allows you to stop.

  • Only put the weight that your doctor or physical therapist said was okay to wear on your hip after surgery.

  • When you turn, take small steps. Do not pivot.

  • Shoes with nonskid soles are best. Slippers can cause you to fall so avoid slippers. When walking on uneven or wet surfaces, be careful and slow down.

What are the advantages of a hip replacement procedure?

The greatest benefit of hip replacement surgery is its ability to relieve pain. Other benefits include:

  • Improved movement

  • Increased strength

  • Better coordination between the leg and torso

  • You will be able to walk, climb stairs, and live an active lifestyle with greater comfort.

The recovery times for each type of surgery will vary. Follow the advice from the hospital regarding your hip.

hip replacement

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After surgery

You will lie flat on your back after the operation. A pillow may be placed between your legs to support your hips. To protect your wound, the nursing staff will closely monitor you.

Home recovery

Don’t be surprised if your first feeling tired is not normal. It will take some time for your muscles and other tissues to heal from a major surgery. If you have any questions or concerns, follow the instructions of the surgeons and contact your GP.

You may be eligible to receive up to 6 weeks’ home care after you have been discharged from the hospital. There may also be aids available that you can use. It may be possible to hire someone to assist you for up to a week.

Your recovery is only as good as the exercises you receive from your physiotherapist. Once you return to your home, it is important that you continue the exercises.

Looking after your new hip

Your new hip will last a long time if you take care of it. To help you care for your hip, the hospital may give you the following advice: Your doctor may give you different advice.

  • Avoid bending your hips more than 90deg (a right angle), during any activity

  • Avoid twisting your hips

  • Do not swivel on your foot’s ball

  • Take small steps when you turn around

  • Do not pressurize the wound during the initial stages.

  • Do not cross your legs.

  • Do not press your hips or do anything that makes you feel uncomfortable.

  • Avoid low-back chairs and toilet seats. Raised toilet seats can be purchased.

Fall prevention

In the first weeks following surgery, you will need to be more careful about falling. This could cause damage to your hip and may require additional surgery.

As directed, use any walking aid such as crutches or a cane.

You should take extra care when using stairs, the bathroom and the kitchen as these are common areas where you might fall.

Walking and movement reduce swelling and reduce the chance of developing blood clots or pneumonia. They also help reduce pain around the surgical site.

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