Activities after a Hip Replacement
Hip replacement is a surgery performed to replace parts of a diseased hip joint with a prosthesis. The goal of hip replacement is to eliminate pain and help you to return to your normal activities. You can help in recovery and improve the outcomes of the procedure by following certain precautions and changing the way you carry out your daily activities.
You are discharged from the hospital once you have sufficient pain control and are able to perform basic activities on your own, such as getting in and out of bed, going to the bathroom and walking with an assistive device such as a crutch or a walker. If you are unable to perform these basic activities, you will be transferred to a skilled nursing or rehabilitation center.
On reaching home, have a family member or care-giver assist you with your activities for a few weeks. Ensure that furniture is rearranged so as not to interfere with your movement and cause falls. To avoid bending or reaching out, items that you use frequently can be placed easily within reach. Try to sit on a high chair so that your knees are not lifted above the level of your hip. Do not cross your legs or lean forward while sitting. A shower chair or gripping bar may be helpful in the bathroom. Make use of long shoe-horns, long-handled sponges, and other devices that can help you reach objects without bending. Try to sleep with a pillow between your legs. Your doctor will advise you on correct sleeping positions.
Keep the wound clean and dry. Your doctor will let you know when you can shower or bathe. Swelling may be present for 3 to 6 months following hip replacement and can be controlled with ice and by elevating your legs slightly. You may be asked to bear only partial weight on the leg for a while. Follow your physical therapy program for at least 2 months. Walking, stationary bicycling and swimming are good exercises, but ensure that your wound is completely healed.
You must be aware of the signs of infection or blood clot formation and quickly return to the hospital should you develop more than normal pain, swelling, redness, fever, chills or drainage from the wound.
Your doctor will decide when you can engage in your regular activities, resume work, start driving and return to sexual activity depending on your condition and progress with therapy.