Hip Resurfacing Surgery, Home Care Instructions
Surgery can cause you to feel weak and tired. In most cases, common sense will tell you when you are doing too much. On the other hand, too little activity can delay the return of your strength and stamina. You may be able to speed up your recovery by doing the steps listed below.
- Follow the home exercise program your therapist has shown you. This includes the instructions for weight bearing.
- The correct use of your crutches or walker will promote healing and prevent injury to your hip. You will work with your physical therapist to decide when you are ready to move from crutches or walker to a cane. You may need to use a cane until you can walk without a limp (6-12 weeks).
- Walking is important. Set a time to walk, at least twice each day. Let pain be your guide. As you get stronger, increase the distance you walk each day.
Sitting It is fine for you to sit in a recliner or other comfortable chair as long as your knees stay lower than your hips and your legs are not crossed. You may wish to use chairs with side arms or a pillow on the seat to make it easier to get out of the chair. Avoid sitting for more than 1-2 hours.
Sleeping You will be given a wedge-shaped pillow to place between your legs for six weeks while sleeping. This helps to avoid crossing them. After six weeks, you can sleep with just a pillow between your legs. We suggest that you sleep on your back for the first six weeks.
Lifting Avoid heavy lifting more than 30 pounds for the first 6 weeks. After the first 6 weeks, some heavy lifting is allowed, but not on a daily basis.
Housework You may vacuum when you are bearing full weight and not using crutches, a walker, or a cane. Do not squat.
Sports Due to the risk of fracture, it is safest to return to non-impact sports such as swimming and biking. If you wish to return to impact sports, it should be done under the care of your physical therapists. They will help you slowly progress back to your sport in a way that is safe for you. Patients should not attempt any impact activities until after 6 months.
Sexual activity Your hip will need protection for the first 6 weeks. Choose positions that do not cause you to sit with your knees raised higher than your hips. Do not let your knees touch each other. Do not allow your foot and leg to roll inward. After 6 weeks, you will work with your therapist to slowly stop these precautions.
Care of Your Incision
- Proper care of your incision is important to prevent infection.
- In most cases, a dry dressing will cover your incision. If you have a cast or brace, you will also be given instructions for the care of these.
- Keep the dressing clean and dry. Change your dressing every other day and as needed. You may leave it open to air when the incision is dry.
Sponge bathe for about 2 weeks to avoid getting the incision wet. Two days (48 hours) after your staples are removed, you will be allowed to shower.
As you are up more, you may notice some swelling in your leg or foot. There are some things you can do to prevent or decrease this swelling.
- Increase your activity slowly.
- Elevate your leg between periods of walking, above the level of your heart is best.
- Keep doing your ankle pumps and quad sets. (See physical therapy exercise sheet.)
You will need to wear elastic stockings for 6 weeks. You should remove them 2 times each day for one hour. You should always sleep with them on.
You may need to use pain medicine at home. Do not drive if taking this. Use it as needed and only as directed. The pain medicine can cause you to be unsteady on your feet. It may also cause constipation. Eat plenty of bran, oats, fresh fruits and vegetables; drink 6 – 8 (8 oz.) glasses of fluids. Your doctor may order a stool softener or you can use MetamucilÒ. A medicine to thin your blood will be prescribed for you at the time of discharge from the hospital. You will be given instructions about how long to take it.
Driving and Travel
Most people need to wait 2 weeks before driving. At your 2-week check up, your surgeon will let you know when you can drive. It is all right to travel over 2 hours after 6-8 weeks. Stretching every hour will decrease stiffness as you travel. Metal joint implants may trigger metal detectors in airports. You will receive a joint replacement card at your first clinic visit. This card will allow you through airport security.
Future Medical or Dental Treatment
You will need to have antibiotics to help protect your hip joint from being infected before certain procedures for the rest of your life. Tell your doctor or dentist before the day you go in for treatment.
- Dental care, including routine cleaning
- Major or minor surgery
- Colonoscopy or endoscopy
If needed, the clinic staff can provide you with a temporary permit at your first clinic visit.
When to Call the Doctor
If you have infections in other areas (such as your bladder, throat, lungs), call your local doctor right away. These infections can “travel” to the hip and cause problems.
Check your hip and leg twice a day. Be alert to changes.
Call the Orthopedic Clinic or the doctor on call with the symptoms listed below.
- Increased tingling or numbness
- Increased pain, swelling, or redness in your incision area
- Increased swelling of your foot or calf that is not relieved by elevation
- Increased coolness to touch
- Drainage from your incision. Be ready to describe what the drainage looks like, how it smells, and how much there is.
- A temperature above 100ºF for two readings taken 4 hours apart
- A sudden "popping" feeling in your hip
- Sudden increase in pain or pain not relieved by medicine
- You cannot move your hip
- A “new” chest pain, “new” problem with breathing, or a red tender area on your legs
Always Remember (Hip dislocation Precautions)
For the first 6 weeks after surgery, you will need to avoid certain movements and activities in order to protect your new hip. After 6 weeks, you will work with your physical therapist to slowly progress past these precautions. If you have ANY questions or concerns with moving in certain directions, including if a movement is safe or not, ask your physical therapist.
- Do not cross your thigh over the midline of your body at any time.
- Do not bend your hip more than 90 degrees.
- Do not let your hip turn inward (pigeon-toed).
- Avoid heavy lifting of more than 30 pounds for the first 6 weeks. After the first 6 weeks, occasional heavy lifting is allowed, but is not recommended on a daily basis.
If you have questions or concerns, please call the Orthopedic Clinic, on weekdays between 8:00 AM and 5:00 PM. (608) 263-7540
After hour the clinic number will be answered by the paging operator. Ask for the “orthopedic resident on call”. Leave your name and phone number with the area code. The doctor will call you back.
If you live out of the area, call 1-800-323-8942.
The information provided should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed physician should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Call 911 for all medical emergencies. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.
Last Updated: 04/13/2010
Copyright © 04/13/2010 University of Wisconsin Hospitals and Clinics Authority. All rights reserved. Produced by the Department of Nursing. HF#6591
Print Health Fact For You