Activities You Should Avoid After Hip Replacement Surgery
Doctor David Miller recommends that you take very specific and careful precautions after you undergo surgery to replace your hip. That includes limiting the amount of activity and reducing or avoiding entirely certain actions that could injure the hip or prevent you from making a full recovery.
You don’t want to sustain a hip replacement dislocation where the ball and socket of the artificial hip separate from one another. Unfortunately, too many patients will attempt to resume their normal daily lives a little too soon which can put them at a significantly higher risk of hip replacement dislocation, resulting in corrective action to fix the problem.
That is why it’s critical that you are extremely careful about what you do and how you do it once you have hip replacement surgery of any kind. After an operation your mobility and range of motion are both severely diminished and forcing yourself to do even the simplest things like flex, walk, even sleep and drive the way you normally do can be very damaging.
So consider where you are in your recovery and do not attempt the following activities until your doctor has determined that you have regained all mobility and range of motion.
The most basic tenets of our ability to get around is being able to walk. But it can be very difficult to move after your hip replacement procedure, especially if your surgery was performed through a posterior approach replacement. In cases such as these, you must be careful about how you walk and avoiding any internal rotation of the hip.
Walking should be done slowly and with your toes facing straight forward or even slightly pointed outwards never rotated internally. Doing so can increase your risk of a dislocation. Keep this in mind for every activity you perform including walking, sitting, standing, and lying down.
Although you may not always be cognizant of your position while you are asleep, you can take precautions to ensure that you don’t injure or damage the hip replacement when you lie down. To ensure you keep everything safe from harm, you will want to sleep on your stomach or, if you must sleep on your back do so with your legs positioned apart from each other. You don’t have to spread them entirely, just keep them slightly separated away from one another.
You may also sleep on your side, but do so only with a pillow either in between your knees or lie down with an abduction pillow. Anything that immobilizes the knee will be useful in preventing your hip replacement from being negatively affected.
Much the same with walking and sleeping, sitting is not really an activity you can avoid but there are certain actions and movements you can and should refrain from doing. Where sitting is concerned, you should avoid taking a seat in any chair, couch, sofa, or similar furniture that is too low to the ground. Recliners are also a bad idea.
In both cases, there can be too much strain placed on the hip replacement area causing discomfort and possible dislocation. When you are sitting and standing back up, choose seats that only have armrests as these will give you some place to shift your weight and provide you with the necessary assistance to get into and out of a seated position.
Taking the Stairs
For the first few weeks, you may want to avoid them all times opting instead for an elevator or escalator when possible. However, you may still need to go up a set or two of stairs, and when you do, stick to a specific routine in which the good leg moves first followed by the leg that was operated on, and then your crutches.
When you are going back down the stairs use the crutches first, then move the leg with the replacement, followed by your good leg. In either case, always be slow and deliberate with your movements.
Driving an Automobile
For the first month or two you should avoid driving a vehicle entirely. Have someone else do the driving for you. After that initial four to eight week period, you can resume driving if your car has an automatic transmission. That’s because you only need to operate two pedals, the brake and the accelerator.
For those of you who drive stick-shift and had the hip replacement on the right side, you should refrain from driving until your doctor tells you that it’s okay to do so again.