- Taking the right precautions after hip replacement surgery can help promote a smoother recovery and encourage the best possible outcome.
- Steps like preparing your home, slowly reincorporating daily activities, and caring for your incision site will go a long way toward supporting your recovery.
- Your provider will often recommend precautions like light exercise, using support devices, and avoiding heavy chores while you recover.
- Always follow the advice and post-operation plan provided by your surgeon and care team.
Hip replacement surgery is a surgical procedure where an orthopedic surgeon removes the diseased parts of a hip joint and replaces them with new, artificial parts. The goal of hip surgery is to reduce pain in the hips and improve mobility. The best candidates for hip surgery are those who have tried holistic methods like physical therapy, have found little to no relief, and are in need of a last-resort option.
Visiting an experienced surgeon matters, but many people undervalue the importance of also having a post-surgery recovery plan for influencing the best possible outcome. Once you complete your surgery, sticking to a strong recovery plan will help you get back to your daily activities sooner, promote a smoother recovery, and encourage long-term success.
From preparing your home to properly managing your daily activities, it’s important to understand the right precautions to take so that you can maximize the outcome of your procedure. This guide covers the precautions that your medical provider will often recommend you take after hip surgery.
Precautions To Take After Surgery
With advanced surgical methods, hip replacement surgery requires minimal downtime and allows you to get back to the activities you enjoy sooner. Still, surgery aftercare is a crucial part of the process, and the post-surgery period does require taking several precautions to manage the load placed on your hip and promote the best possible outcome.
Prepare Your Home
One of the most important things to know before hip replacement surgery is the value of preparing your home, which can go a long way toward ensuring your comfort and minimizing setbacks. Taking steps to prepare your home beforehand will ensure that you can comfortably move throughout the space and easily access all the important things you need as you rest.
Some steps you can take to prepare your home include:
- Rearranging furniture so you can easily navigate your home with a cane or crutches
- Removing tripping hazards from around the home, like loose cords, throw rugs, or other objects
- Creating a recovery area that is on the first floor so you don’t have to walk up stairs
- Arranging your space so that you can easily access frequently used items
- Placing important items in easy-to-reach places so that you don’t have to bend or reach
- Considering adjustments and accommodations for areas around the home, like a shower chair or non-slip mat in the shower
Manage Your Daily Activities
Determining the proper level of activity after surgery requires finding a bit of a balance. On one hand, you don’t want to overexert yourself and prolong your recovery. On the other, remaining stationary and engaging in minimal activity throughout your recovery won’t allow you to rebuild strength and restore mobility in the hip.
During the recovery process, it’s important that you adapt your activity levels to your capabilities and slowly work your way up from there.
Your surgeon will be able to provide you with more specific guidance on how to manage your daily activities, but they will usually recommend some of the following precautions:
- Exercise as recommended – Because light activity can strengthen the area of your surgery and promote blood flow, your surgeon will often recommend staying active and exercising. Be sure to stick to your surgeon’s recommendations on what level of activity is appropriate so that you don’t overdo it. This may include light resistance exercises or gentle swimming.
- Stay mobile – Even as you recover, you shouldn’t sit too long. Your surgeon may recommend getting up and walking around every 45 minutes or so. Remember that this movement should be light.
- Use recommended support devices – Your surgeon may recommend using mobility devices like a cane, crutches, or a walker. Be sure to follow your surgeon’s advice, and don’t attempt to push yourself too quickly.
- Avoid certain sleeping positions – Sleeping in the wrong position can aggravate the joint. Your surgeon may recommend avoiding some sleeping positions or sleeping with a pillow in between your knees for extra support.
- Sit in a comfortable position – Avoid sitting too low in a chair or on a toilet seat, by doing so, it may require you to put too much weight on your hip and make it difficult to get back up.
- Avoid heavy chores – Stray away from chores that involve a lot of movement, lifting, or prolonged standing, like vacuuming or doing laundry, until your surgeon advises you that it’s okay to do so.
Care for the Incision Site
Although the priority goal of hip surgery is to restore function and mobility to the joint, it’s important not to overlook aftercare for the incision site as well. Improper care can lead to potential infection or discomfort before the incision has a chance to heal.
To promote a healthy healing process, follow these tips:
- Keep the incision site clean and dry – Avoid exposing the incision site to water, dirt, and other elements. Be sure to follow your surgeon’s instructions for showering and bathing so that you do not irritate the area.
- Clean and replace the dressing of the site – Clean and replace the dressing periodically, in line with your surgeon’s recommendations. Always wash your hands before changing your dressing, and only apply recommended medications or ointments when cleaning the wound.
- Monitor for signs of an infection – If you notice drainage, severe swelling, or severe redness, then contact your surgeon. Some redness is normal, but extensive redness accompanied by warmth and abnormal pain can be a sign of an infection.
Know When To Contact Your Surgeon
After your surgery, you will have consistent contact with your surgeon—you can expect to have follow-up appointments with your provider at regular intervals to monitor your progress and discuss your recovery. However, there are some instances when you may need to contact your surgeon outside of these appointments.
If you notice any serious health complications, you should notify your surgeon as soon as possible. Incidents where you should contact your surgeon include:
- A sudden increase in pain
- Chest pain or shortness of breath
- Increased redness or pain around your incision site
- Drainage coming from the incision
- A fever over 100 degrees
- Pain or swelling in one of your legs
- Pain in your calf
- Incidents where you fall or injure your leg on the side of the surgery
When you contact your surgeon, they will provide information on next steps. They may be able to provide advice on how you can address the issue from home. However, in serious cases, they may recommend you visit the emergency room for urgent treatment.
Experience Long-Term Hip Relief at JRCS
Taking precautions following hip surgery promotes a smoother recovery and minimizes the risk of complications. The above steps will position you for the smoothest possible recovery. Of course, you should always listen to the advice of your doctor first and foremost.
At The Joint Replacement Center of Scottsdale, we use advanced technology combined with a caring and compassionate team to provide you with the best possible outcome. Our team will help you manage your recovery process by developing a personalized treatment plan.
Contact us today to learn more about how our surgical options can benefit you while restoring your confidence and mobility.