Recovery Following A Total Hip Replacement
The success of your surgery will depend in large measure on how well you follow your orthopaedic surgeon’s instructions regarding home care during the first few weeks after surgery.
You will have stitches or staples running along your wound or a suture beneath your skin. The stitches or staples will be removed approximately 2 weeks after surgery.
Avoid getting the wound wet until it has thoroughly sealed and dried. A bandage may be placed over the wound to prevent irritation from clothing or support stockings.
Some loss of appetite is common for several weeks after surgery. A balanced diet, often with an iron supplement, is important to promote proper tissue healing and restore muscle strength. Be sure to drink plenty of fluids.
Exercise is a critical component of home care, particularly during the first few weeks after surgery. You should be able to resume most normal light activities of daily living within 3 to 6 weeks following surgery. Some discomfort with activity and at night is common for several weeks.
Your activity program should include:
- A graduated walking program, initially in your home and later outside
- A walking program to slowly increase your mobility and endurance
- Resuming other normal household activities
- Resuming sitting, standing, and walking up and down stairs
- Specific exercises several times a day to restore movement
- Specific exercises several times a day to strengthen your hip joint
- You may wish to have a physical therapist help you at home
To assure proper recovery and prevent dislocation of the prosthesis, you must take special precautions:
- Do not cross your legs.
- Do not bend your hips more than a right angle (90°).
- Do not turn your feet excessively inward or outward.
- Use a pillow between your legs at night when sleeping until you are advised by your orthopaedic surgeon that you can remove it.
The following is a list of home modifications that will make your return home easier during your recovery:
- Securely fastened safety bars or handrails in your shower or bath
- Secure handrails along all stairways
- A stable chair for your early recovery with a firm seat cushion (that allows your knees to remain lower than your hips), a firm back, and two arms
- A raised toilet seat
- A stable shower bench or chair for bathing
- A long-handled sponge and shower hose
- A dressing stick, a sock aid, and a long-handled shoe horn for putting on and taking off shoes and socks without excessively bending your new hip
- A reacher that will allow you to grab objects without excessive bending of your hips
- Firm pillows for your chairs, sofas, and car that enable you to sit with your knees lower than your hips
- Removal of all loose carpets and electrical cords from the areas where you walk in your home