You may expect your life to be exactly the same after you have had your hip replacement--minus the pain. If you adhere to the exercise program and movement techniques your physician and physical therapist recommend, you may actually function even better than before, at least if you had severe arthritis that resulted in this operation. However, you need to be patient and cautious so that the hip heals properly. You will need to make certain lifestyle changes, especially when it comes to flexing--bending--the hip.
Proper Hip Flexing
Follow the list of actions allowed and not allowed that your orthopedic surgeon should have provided you with after surgery. According to the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons, "These precautions will help to prevent the new joint from dislocating and to ensure proper healing."
Don't ever bend all the way forward from the waist to pick something up from the ground or to paint or clip your toenails. Instead, use some kind of tool to pick the object up or ask someone else to get it for you. You do not want to flex your operated hip more than 90 degrees.
Do not use pain as an indicator of what you may or may not do. Your focus should be on never flexing the hip more than 90 degrees, such as bringing your knees up higher than the hip or bending forward from the waist when you are sitting down. Also make sure that you don't inwardly rotate the hip any time you bend it. For example, don't turn your feet outward or inward when you bend the hip. Lastly, for eight weeks, don't bring your knees past the midline of your body while sitting. In other words, do not cross your legs.
Focus on always keeping your knees pointing forward when you bend. The only time the knee of your operated leg should not point forward is when you kneel down. Always kneel on the knee of the operated leg rather than the other leg.
Tips & Warnings
- Stay away from driving a car for six weeks. It is hard getting in and out of a car. Sit on bar stools whenever possible. Use chairs with armrests so that you can use your arms to lower yourself into and push yourself out of the chair. Avoid overstuffed and very low furniture.
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