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Arthritis and Hip Replacement Surgery

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What Happens After Hip Replacement Surgery?

You will likely stay in the hospital for four to six days and may have to stay in bed with a wedge-shaped cushion between your legs to keep the new hip joint in place. A drainage tube will likely be placed in your bladder to help you go to the bathroom. Physical therapy usually begins the day after surgery and within days you can walk with a walker, crutches, or a cane. You will continue physical therapy for weeks to months following the surgery.

What Activities Should I Avoid After Hip Replacement Surgery?

For anywhere from six to 12 months after hip replacement surgery, pivoting or twisting on the involved leg should be avoided. You should also not cross the involved leg past the midline of the body nor turn the involved leg inward and you should not bend at the hip past 90 degrees. This includes both bending forward at the waist and squatting.

Your physical therapist will provide you with techniques and adaptive equipment that will help you follow any of the above guidelines and precautions while performing daily activities. Remember, by not following your therapist's recommendations you could dislocate your newly replaced hip joint and may require another surgery.

Even after your hip joint has healed, certain sports or heavy activity should be avoided. The replacement joint is designed for usual day-to-day activity.

What Can I Do at Home After Hip Replacement Surgery?

There are a few simple measures that you can take to make life easier when you return home after hip replacement surgery, including:

  • Keep stair climbing to a minimum. Make the necessary arrangements so that you will only have to go up and down the steps once or twice a day.
  • Sit in a firm, straight-back chair. Recliners should not be used.
  • To help avoid falls, remove all throw rugs and keep floors and rooms clutter free.
  • Use an elevated toilet seat. This will help keep you from bending too far at the hips.
  • Keep enthusiastic pets away until you have healed completely.

You should ask your doctor before returning to such activities as driving, sexual activity, and exercise.

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