The new joint has a limited range of movement. You will need to take special precautions to avoid displacing the joint, including:
Avoid crossing your legs or ankles even when sitting, standing, or lying.
When sitting, keep you feet about 6 inches apart.
When sitting, keep your knees below the level of your hips. Avoid chairs that are too low. You may sit on a pillow to keep your hips higher than your knees.
When getting up from a chair, slide toward the edge of the chair and then use your walker or crutches for support.
Avoid bending over at the waist. You may consider purchasing a long-handled shoehorn or a sock aid to help you put on and take off your shoes and socks without bending over. Also, an extension “reacher” or “grabber” may be helpful for picking up objects that are too low for you to reach.
When lying in bed, place a pillow between your legs to keep the joint in proper alignment.
A special abductor pillow or splint may be used to keep the hip in correct alignment.
An elevated toilet seat may be necessary to keep the knees lower than the hips when sitting on the toilet.
Always place a pillow between your legs when turning onto your side while in bed. You should use the pillow for about 3 months following surgery.
Do not sleep on your operated side for 6 weeks.
Use your crutches or walker to assist you while walking.
Continue to wear your TEDs for about 6 weeks after your surgery.
Continue your anticoagulation for 6 weeks after your surgery.
Keep feet/toes pointed straight ahead when walking.
The following tips can make your homecoming easier.
In the kitchen (and in other rooms as well), place items you use frequently within reach so you don’t have to reach up or bend down.
Rearrange furniture so you can get about on a walker or crutches. You may want to change rooms (make the living room your bedroom, for example) to stay off the stairs.
Get a good chair, one that is firm and has a higher-than-average seat. This type of chair is safer and more comfortable than a low, soft-cushioned chair.
Remove any throw rugs or area rugs that could cause you to slip. Securely fasten electrical cords around the perimeter of the room.
Install a shower chair, grab bar and raised toilet in the bathroom.
Use assistive devices such as a long-handled shoehorn, a long-handled sponge and a grabbing tool or reacher to avoid bending too far over. Wear a big-pocket shirt or soft shoulder bag for carrying things.
Set up a “recovery center” in your home, with a phone, television remote control, radio, facial tissues, wastebasket, pitcher and glass, reading materials and medications within easy reach.
Activities at home
Keep the skin clean and dry. The dressing applied in the hospital should be changed as necessary. Ask for instructions on how to change the dressing if you are not sure.
If you have stitches that need to be removed, your surgeon will give you specific instructions about the incision and when you can bathe. X-rays will be taken later to ensure that the joint is healing properly.
Notify your doctor if the wound appears red or begins to drain.
Take your temperature twice daily and notify your doctor if it exceeds 100.5°F.
Swelling is normal for the first 3 to 6 months after surgery. Elevate your leg slightly and apply an ice pack for 15 to 20 minutes at a time, a few times a day.
Calf pain, chest pain and shortness of breath are signs of a possible blood clot. Notify your doctor immediately if you notice any of these symptoms.