What Not to Do After Hip Replacement Surgery

by | Mar 14, 2023 | Hip, Joint Replacement, News


There are many ways to deal with hip problems. Some can be helped with as little as physical therapy, while others may need surgery to fix. When planning your care, our specialists here at Tennessee Orthopedic Clinics look at your whole medical history and all of your symptoms.

There are many advantages to having a hip replacement. Most patients agree that the pain reduction is worth it on its own, and the increased mobility and hip function drastically raises a person’s quality of life by getting back their independence and enabling them to engage in enjoyable activities.

There are some steps you’ll need to take in order to maximize these advantages, prevent dislocation and damage, and get the most out of your hip replacement. Below are some things to avoid doing following your hip replacement surgery.

Common Activities to Avoid After Hip Replacement Surgery

Whether you’ve just had hip replacement surgery or are planning to soon, you’ll probably want to know what your life will be like afterward. Everyone’s life after hip replacement surgery is different, depending on the type of hip replacement, their overall health, the way they live, and other things.

Remember that your doctor and physical therapist are there to help you get better and live the best life possible. If you do what they say, you’ll have the best chance of getting better quickly and for good. Below are some activities that will need to be avoided after your replacement:

Do Not Resist Movement and Get Up

In the days after surgery, don’t be afraid to get up and move around as your surgeon or physical therapist tells you to. Even though it might feel too soon, doing this will help keep blood from clotting and speed up the healing process.

Do Not Bend at the Waist More than 90 Degrees

This includes bending down to tie your shoes, sitting in a low chair, or doing anything else that requires bending at the waist. These things make it more likely that the new hip will get out of place.

Do Not Lift Your Knees Past Your Hips

If you bend over too far at the waist, your hip can pop out of its socket. The same thing can happen if you lift your knees higher than your hip.

Don’t Cross Your Legs

Depending on the type of hip replacement surgery you had, you may not be able to cross your legs, especially the leg that was operated on over the leg that wasn’t operated on, for a few days or weeks or for a long time. This can also cause the hip joint to pop out of place.

Do Not Twist or Pivot at the Hips

Try to keep your chest and hips facing the same direction as much as possible as a general rule of thumb.

Do Not Rotate Your Feet too Far Inward or Outward

Try to keep your toes and feet pointing in the same direction as your hips. Whether you’re walking, standing, sitting, or lying down, this is important.

Do Not Drive Until You are Cleared to do so By Your Doctor

Everyone is different in how they drive after getting a new hip. Some people can drive again within a couple of weeks of getting a new hip, while others need more time to heal and be safe behind the wheel. Before you drive, you should talk to your doctor about it to make sure you’re safe on the road and that it won’t slow down your recovery.

Do Not Rush the Healing Process

Even though you may be anxious to return to living on your own, you don’t want to risk getting hurt again. When you get out of the hospital, if you don’t feel ready to take on the tasks of daily life, you can choose to recover in a skilled nursing facility. There, you will get the help you need to heal and get better at your own pace.

Rehab After Hip Surgery

The day after your surgery, you’ll start working with a physical therapist who will help you get up and moving with your new hip. Moving around is an important part of getting better after a hip replacement. You’ll start out using a walker or crutches to walk, and then you’ll work up to walking without them. You should be able to leave the hospital in about 3 days, give or take, depending on how well you are doing after surgery.

Although the activities in this blog seem to be a lot, it is important to remember each of these activities includes a movement or strain on the hip joint that may affect your healing process. Most of these are just restricted for a short period, however, for some people, these may need to be restricted for longer. Unfortunately, some patients find they may have some permanent restrictions as well, however, they may still have a higher quality of life than before they received their hip replacement. 

Your hips and pelvis are very important to how you move and how you rest. It’s not a surprise that when something goes wrong, it affects many normal things in your life. When going to the bathroom or walking around, it’s almost impossible to avoid sitting, standing, and twisting. 

Every patient is different in what they need and their dos and don’ts, including those listed in this blog, depending on how and what your doctor does during surgery. Your doctor and physical therapist will give you a list of things you should and shouldn’t do after getting a new hip. These precautions will help keep the new joint from coming loose and make sure it heals properly.

Next, let’s review some of the commonly asked questions after hip replacement surgery.

Hip Replacement FAQs

How Long Does it Take to Walk Normally After Hip Replacement?

Most people who have a total hip replacement can walk the same day or the next day after surgery. Most can return to normal walking and daily activities within the first 3 to 6 weeks of recovery. As soon as you can do light activities, adding healthy exercise to your recovery plan is important.

When Can I Bend Down After Hip Replacement?

For the first six to 12 weeks after surgery, you shouldn’t bend your hip more than 60 to 90 degrees. It’s also important you don’t cross your ankles or legs. During this time, it’s best not to bend down to pick things up.

When Can I Sit on a Normal Chair After Hip Replacement?

For the first 6 weeks, try to sit in a chair with a straight back and stay away from low sofas, recliners, and zero-gravity chairs.

Are There Lifelong Restrictions After Hip Replacement?

There aren’t many things that can’t be done. After three months of recovery, patients can start hiking, biking, or swimming. Running is the only physical activity that people should be careful with.

Replacement joints work well, but they’re not the same as your natural joints, and they’re not made for marathon running. If you stay mindful, you may have them for the rest of your life.

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