Post-Op Do’s & Don’ts After Hip & Knee Surgery

Older person with a walker

Hip replacements and knee replacements can help patients regain mobility and work towards a healthier state of being. However, while these surgeries are designed to address painful problems, you aren’t immediately better after you leave the operating room.

Medication and physical therapy will be required to aid in rehabilitation after surgery, not to mention some do’s and don’ts for life at home to prevent injury while you’re healing. Though the recovery process differs for different types of surgery, they all share the same goal: helping you get back to normal with as little risk as possible.

  • DO NOT lie on the affected side of your body. Give the affected area time to heal and remove pressure when possible.
  • DO lie with a pillow between your knees. The pillow will minimize twisting and help to keep your legs and knees straight, which is particularly important if surgery involved these areas.
  • DO NOT lean forward or bend down to pick up items. Use an assistive device if you need to reach something low to the ground, or have a family member or friend help you. This includes reaching down to grab bedsheets while lying down.
  • DO keep your legs straight with your toes pointed up towards the ceiling. You shouldn’t cross your legs or, if you’ve had a total hip replacement, you should not roll the surgical leg inward or outward.
  • DO NOT pivot on your affected leg. If you need to turn while walking, fully stop and lift your foot to change direction.
  • DO wear supportive shoes with rubber soles.
  • DO NOT neglect your walker or other adaptive equipment. Be mindful of bearing weight on the affected leg and only do so as advised by your surgeon. Remember to walk in a pattern: walker first, then your surgical leg, followed by your non-surgical leg; repeat.
  • DO sit in a firm chair, preferably one with a straight back and arm rests, after a total hip replacement. Keep your hips above your knees by avoiding deep chairs, or even adding a pillow to raise yourself up on low-sitting chairs.

All of these tips are focused on supporting your surgical leg or hip and minimizing injury through further irritation of the joint. Remember: recovery is different for everyone. Talk with your doctor to devise a recovery plan that works best for you.

Additionally, remember that Advanced Surgical Hospital’s joint replacement specialists can help in your hip or knee surgery and recovery. Contact us today to see how our doctors can help you as you prepare for surgery.