A total hip replacement surgery (THR) is a major surgery that is performed to replace the hip joint. During the surgical procedure, the ball (femoral head) and the socket (acetabulum) are removed and replaced with smooth artificial surfaces, which assist the affected person to walk and perform routine activities. However, certain exercises should be performed and precautions should be taken to speed up the recovery process. Given below are a few precautions that need to be taken for a full recovery.
- Do not raise your knee to a level higher than your hips.
- Do not sit for more than 30 to 40 minutes at one place. Also, while sitting on a sofa or low chair, place cushions on it to raise the level. One should preferably sit in chairs that are higher than knee height.
- While getting up from the chair or even from a bed, keep your affected leg (side that had the surgery) in front of the other.
- Do not sit cross-legged. In fact, one of the most important precautions to be taken after surgery is, not to twist your legs in or out.
- Do not bend far too forward, avoid moving the knee beyond 90º.
- While lying down, lie flat on your back in the bed. While sleeping on the sides, keep a pillow between your thighs to prevent your knees from touching. Also, use a special abductor pillow to keep your hips in correct alignment.
- When sitting on a chair, always ensure that it is firm with a straight back and has arm rests. Avoid sitting on soft and cushioned chairs, rocking chairs, sofas, low chairs, or on stools.
- Do not sit cross-legged, and always take the support of the arms of the chair or walker to get up.
- Use your walker, crutches, or a walking cane, to avoid stress on the legs. Also, while walking, wear well-fitting shoes with soles that prevent skidding.
- Go for short and frequent walks. Try to move around in such a way that there's no post-surgical damage to the hip.
- Avoid walking on wet and uneven surfaces. Also avoid pivoting on the leg which is on the operated side. Take small steps when taking a turn or changing directions.
- While bathing, do not try to bend or reach for tub controls. Also, do not bend or squat while washing your legs or feet. Instead use bathing accessories which have long handles, so that you can reach all the parts of your body without bending too much. This is to prevent any hip pain. Use a rubber mat on the shower or tub floor.
- When doing household chores, make sure you use a long handled mop or broom, to avoid bending too far.
- Do not drive until the doctor says it is okay. When sitting in a car, enter the car from a step on the sidewalk. Even when sitting in the car, ensure that the seats are not very low. Use a pillow to raise the level of the seat.
- Use crutches to walk, until the doctor instructs you to stop using them.
- When climbing stairs, take one step at a time. While climbing up, step first with your leg on the side which is not operated, then pull the other leg up. Similarly, while getting down, step with your leg on the operated side first, and then put the other leg down.
These aforementioned steps will help you achieve a full recovery after the surgery. If these instructions are followed religiously, you will be back on your feet in no time!
Disclaimer: This article is for informative purposes only and does not in any way attempt to replace the advice offered by an expert on the subject.