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Care After Hip Replacement Surgery

Updated: Dec 19, 2023




What is Hip Replacement Surgery / Hip Transplant Surgery?


In this surgery, your hip (or part of the hip) is replaced with a manmade implant. It’s usually performed on adults after other treatments like using a cane or walker, weight loss, medicines and other non surgical physical therapy have failed to help.


During hip replacement, a surgeon removes the damaged sections of the hip joint and replaces them with parts usually constructed of metal, ceramic and very hard plastic. This artificial joint helps reduce pain and improve function.


Hip replacement surgery also called total hip arthroplasty, might be an option if hip pain interferes with daily activities and nonsurgical treatments haven't helped or are no longer effective. Arthritis damage is the most common reason to go forward with hip replacement.


Conditions that might cause hip replacement :

Conditions that can damage the hip joint, sometimes making hip replacement surgery necessary, include:

  • Osteoarthritis: It damages the slick cartilage that covers the ends of bones and helps joints move smoothly.

  • Rheumatoid arthritis. Caused by an overactive immune system, it produces a type of inflammation that can erode cartilage and occasionally underlying bone, resulting in damaged and deformed joints.

  • Osteonecrosis. If there isn't enough blood supplied to the ball portion of the hip joint, then it might result into a dislocation or fracture, the bone might collapse and deform.

What symptoms may indicate that you need a hip replacement?

Some of the following symptoms may be related to conditions that hip replacements address. They include:

  • Pain in the anterior hip or groin.

  • Pain in the buttock and trochanteric region.

  • Pain that gets worse when you put weight on the leg.

  • Stiffness/tightness of the hip.

  • Loss of motion.

  • Difficulty sleeping.

  • Difficulty walking.

  • Difficulty putting on shoes and socks.

  • Pain while performing activity and at rest.

What are the types of hip replacements?

There are two major types of hip replacements:

  • Total hip replacement : It is a total hip replacement that switches both the femoral head and the acetabulum with a prosthesis.

  • Partial hip replacement: It is a partial replacement that substitutes the femoral head only. This is typically done for patients with certain types of hip fractures.

Dos and Don'ts to Protect Your New Hip

Getting a hip surgery can be scary enough. We tried to curate a handy list of activities you should do and those you should avoid - when it comes to after hip surgery.


After the surgery, your doctor will provide you with a list of dos and don'ts to take care of your new hip. These precautions will help in the healing phase after hip replacement surgery. Some of the most common precautions are listed below. Ask your doctor if these precautions apply to you.

The Don'ts of Care After Hip Replacement

  • Don't cross your legs at the knees for at least 6 to 8 weeks.

  • Don't bring your knee up higher than your hip.

  • Don't lean forward while sitting or as you sit down.

  • Don't try to pick up something on the floor while you are sitting.

  • 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.

  • Don't bend at the waist beyond 90 degrees.


The Dos of Care After Hip Replacement

  • Do keep the leg facing forward.

  • Do keep the affected leg in front as you sit or stand.

  • Do use a high kitchen or barstool in the kitchen.

  • This step should be done only after asking your doctor. Do use ice to reduce pain and swelling, but remember that ice will diminish sensation. Don't apply ice directly to the skin; use an ice pack or wrap it in a damp towel.

  • This step should be done only after asking your doctor. 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.


How to safely sit down and stand up after a hip replacement?

  1. Take support from your bed/chair until the backs of your knees are touching it.

  2. Reach your hands back for the armrests. Hold your weight still.

  3. Lower your body slowly into a seated position. Avoid bending forward at your trunk.





How to safely ride in a car and on a plane after a hip replacement?

Make sure to avoid sports cars / cars with bucket seats because of the low seat height. When riding in a car, make sure to stop every 45 to 60 minutes to get out and do some walking. Also, do ankle pumps in the car while riding. If you’re flying, request an aisle seat and keep the operative leg extended in the aisle. Request to be boarded last on the plane.


How to get into a car after a total hip replacement?

  1. The front passenger car seat should be pushed all the way back before you enter the car.

  2. Have the driver park on a flat surface and/or near the driveway ramp.

  3. Walk toward car using the appropriate walking device.

  4. When close to the car, turn and begin backing up to the front passenger car seat.

  5. Reach with your right hand and hold the door frame or headrest. Place your left hand on the car seat or dashboard.

  6. Slowly lower yourself to the car seat.

  7. Slide yourself back onto the car seat.

  8. Swing your legs into the car. Try to move one leg at a time. Keep your toes pointed upward. Don’t cross your legs.

  9. Reverse these steps to get out of a car.



How to safely up and down stairs after a hip replacement?

Your physiotherapist will teach you the correct way to go up and down stairs using handrails and/or crutches. Remember to use your good leg first, followed by the crutches and the surgery leg. When going down stairs, the crutches and surgery leg go first, followed by the good leg.





How to safely use the bathroom and bathe after a hip replacement?

Keep a portable toilet (or a urinal) if a bathroom is far from your bedroom. Don’t try to get into the bathtub or to use an overhead shower. Use a walk-in type shower or take a sponge bath until 11 days following your surgery.

Medical Equipments you may need for Hip Replacement:

  • Hospital Bed : Hospital Beds provide the elevation and support that patients need. Hospital beds can be broadly categorised in two types - manual or motorised.

Hospital Beds come also be divided according to their functionality:

1 Function : Head Elevation

2 Function : Head Elevation, Foot Elevation

3 Function : Head Elevation, Foot Elevation, Bed Height Adjustment

5 Function: Head Elevation, Foot Elevation, Bed Height Adjustment, Trendelenburg, Reverse Trendelenburg


  • Wheelchairs : For easy movement - either self propelled or attendant pushed. Needed for mobility and carrying out everyday routine tasks. Can be dived based on if it is motor driven or not motor driven. Commode wheelchairs, Transfers wheelchairs, and special bariatric wheelchairs also come in handy for hip replacement patients.


  • Oxygen Machines: BiPAP, CPAP, Oxygen Concentrator - all are required in different situations for the patient. If the oxygen level isn't stable - your doctor might prescribe one of these machines to maintain oxygen levels.


  • Suction Machine : A suction machine is used to remove gases or liquids such as mucus, vomit, serum, blood, saliva or other secretions from a patient’s body cavity. The cavities include the lungs, mouth or the skull.


For comprehensive insights into hip surgery and recovery, browse through our related articles.


To read more about surgery you can read following more articles related to these issues on further blogs




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