Promoting Safer Activities after a Total Hip Replacement Procedure
Adjusting with the new hip joint is a challenge, if you happen to be one of the recipients of hip replacement devices. There are certain lifestyle changes and activity modifications that you may need to follow after this kind of highly invasive procedure, orthopedic experts say, emphasizing the importance of promoting safer activities and preparing an environment conducive to patient’s recovery.
During the first few days after your operation, you may need to use mobility devices such as walkers, canes, crutches, or a wheelchair to help you to move about around the house. Early ambulation is essential in keeping your hip and leg muscles strong and flexible. This is important in your recovery period since you will need a stronger base of support for your new hip joint implant. Let your physical therapist assist you in progressive exercises.
During ambulation, turning the foot inward or to the sides, pivoting the affected leg, and bending or twisting at the waist are highly discouraged. Doctors often recommend keeping the toes both facing straight toward the intended direction of movement when walking. Standing with majority of the body weight directed at the affected leg and lifting the knees higher than the hips while climbing the stairs need to be prevented as well. When turning, position both the legs toward the intended direction first before taking another step.
While on a sitting position, make sure the knees are always lower than the position of your hips. For this, it is necessary not to sit on low-raised chairs. You may use pillows or a portable chair raiser to maintain an elevated position while sitting. Moreover, crossing the legs, bending over at an angle lesser than 90 degrees, and sitting for longer periods of time may also need to be avoided. Patients are highly encouraged not to remain in one position while sitting. When standing up from a sitting position, it might be safer to use your arms to support you weight other than your legs. You may also need to avoid squatting, kneeling, and stooping.
When it comes to sleeping, there are various positions that may provide safety for the operated hip. Just remember not to lie on the affected side of the hip. When lying on the unaffected side, make sure your affected leg is parallel to and supported by your unaffected leg. You may also use a pillow in between your legs while sleeping to avoid crossing your legs or turning your affected leg in an inward position. Lying on your back may also be safer just as long as you do not roll to the sides.
With all your activities, it is important to keep the body in proper alignment. If you are unsure of your position or if it affects the safety of your hip replacement, refer to your physical therapist’s instructions or call your surgeon for more guidance.
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