Your consultant and physiotherapist will advise you on what you should and shouldn’t do when looking after your new hip. These precautions help preven the new joint from dislocating and ensure proper healing. Here are a few of the most common:
Do not bend at the hip more than 90 degrees
- Don’t reach down to pick something up from the floor – get someone else to pick these up for you or a long-handled grabber aid should be purchased.Don’t lean forward while sitting or as you sit down.
- Don’t reach past your knees to put on socks, tights etc or wash from your knees down – you will need help from someone else or long handled aids may be purchased to help.
- Don’t bring your knee up higher than your hip.
- Don’t sit on low sofas or chairs.
- Don’t lean too forward when standing up from your chair.
Do not cross your operated leg across middle of your body
- Don’t cross your legs at the knees when sitting, standing or lying down for at least 6 weeks.
- Don’t turn your feet excessively inward or outward when you bend down.
- Don’t reach down to pull up blankets when lying in bed.
- When getting in/out of bed try to move operated leg out, away from your body to avoid crossing in middle.
Do not twist your operated leg
- Do not twist operated leg inwards or outwards when sitting, standing or lying down – put pillows either side of leg when in bed to stop it rolling either way.
- When sat, do not twist your body to reach for something – reach without twisting, ask for help or use a long-handled grabber instead.
- When stood do not twist your body to reach for something. Instead move your feet so that the item can be reached without twisting.
- Never swivel on the spot when stood – instead use small steps around the spot.
- Keep the affected leg facing forward.
- Keep the affected leg in front as you sit or stand.
- Use a high kitchen or barstool in the kitchen.
- You may use ice to reduce pain and swelling, but remember that ice diminishes sensation. Apply ice using an ice pack or wrapped in a damp towel – never apply ice directly onto the skin.
- Do apply heat before exercising to assist with range of motion. Use a heating pad or hot, damp towel for 15 to 20 minutes.
- Do cut back on your exercises if your muscles begin to ache, but don’t stop doing them!
Getting In/Out of the Car
- Ensure passenger seat pushed all the way back.
- Recline seat a little.
- With walking aid in front of you, back up to car seat.
- Sit in the car seat – use cushions/blankets to raise seat height if it is too low.
- Move your legs gently into the car – a carrier bag can help under your bottom to allow you to slide more easily without twisting force on your hip.
- If using plastic bag slide it/pull it from under you when ready to travel.
- When getting out, lift your legs out, lean back, if you need help to clear your feet.
- Place walking aid in front of you and stand up – placing weight on UNAFFECTED leg.
Climbing Up Stairs
- Use the handrail or 2 crutches.
- Lead with your non-operated leg first, then operated leg – finally using crutches or stick.
- Family member/helper should stay on the step below, on the side of operation site if helping you to climb upstairs.
Coming Down Stairs
- Use the handrail or 2 crutches.
- Lead with your crutch or stick followed by your operated leg then your non-operated leg.
- Family member/help should stay one step below, standing on operated side, when helping you downstairs.
Article by Rhonda Herring for Lynden Hill Clinic Patient Information Series