What To Expect When You Get Home From Total Hip Surgery

26 March 2015
 Categories: Health & Medical , Blog


You'll be busy in the hospital for the first few days after your total hip joint replacement. You'll learn how to get in and out of bed and chairs, how to walk with crutches or a walker, and how to do a number of exercises to strengthen the muscles in your hip. When you're discharged from the hospital, you'll be ready to complete your recovery at home. Here is what you can expect for the next few weeks and months at home with your new hip joint.

Focusing on Muscle Strength

For several weeks after you get home, you'll be doing physical therapy often to build up the muscles in your hip. During the joint replacement surgery, the muscles were disrupted and weakened. To regain the full range of motion in your hip, physical therapy and exercise strengthens the muscles and makes them flexible again. Whether you're working with a physical therapist or doing your own exercises, some tips to get the most from these workouts include:

  • take your pain medication before the routines to reduce the pain experienced during and after the movements
  • do each movement slowly and only to the point of discomfort - do not overwork your hip joint
  • immediately report any unusual sensations in your hip joint to your orthopedic surgeon or physical therapist

Weight Bearing Rules

Your doctor will instruct you before you leave the hospital as to how much weight you can put on your leg and hip. This can vary depending on the particular technique used during surgery:

  • If the joint implants were put in using a special bone cement, you'll put some weight on your leg immediately while using a walker, cane or crutches. The cement holds the implants in place while new bone grows over them and secures them permanently.
  • If the joint implants were put in using the friction-only technique, which uses no cement, you'll remain off of your leg for a few weeks while the new bone growth secures the implants. After a few weeks, you'll be able to put a little weight on your leg.

Precautions to Take at Home After Your Hip Surgery

Until the muscles in your hip have become stronger, there is some risk that the joint implants can separate and become dislocated. This is rare and only happens as a result of the hip being forced into an extreme angle, outside of the normal range of motion. Don't bend at your waist and don't bring your knee toward your chest so your hip is at more than a right angle. Your doctor will give you a number of instructions to prevent this from happening such as:

  • don't sit in soft couches or low chairs
  • don't lean far forward when sitting down or getting up
  • don't lean forward to pick something up from the floor while you are sitting

Other movements that your doctor will have you avoid include:

  • don't turn your hip excessively inward or outward
  • don't cross your legs
  • don't stand with your feet and toes point inward
  • don't kneel on the leg with the hip replacement

As your hip muscles become stronger, these precautions will become unnecessary. Follow your doctor's instructions fully while recovering at home to strengthen your muscles quickly, get back the full range of motion in your hip, and begin walking again without assistance.

For more information, contact Richmond Orthopedic Associate Inc. or a similar organization.