Replacement Returning Home Guide

General Considerations

  • Your surgeon will tell you about any specific positions/activities to avoid. Please follow those rules to minimize the risk of falling, dislocation, etc.
  • If you used a pillow ("abduction pillow") between your legs in the hospital, generally continue to use it at home when lying in bed until your surgeon says you do not need it anymore


  • Avoid sitting surfaces that are so low that your knee is higher than your hip in the seated position
  • Use pillows if you have to raise the height of the seat of the chair to achieve this position


  • Avoid bending at the hip to pick up objects
  • Use a reacher to pick things up off the floor


  • Avoid rotating your upper body on your operated leg

Sitting/Crossing Your Legs

  • Avoid crossing the leg of your operated hip over your other leg

Sleeping/Getting Out of Bed

  • When sleeping,
    • If your surgeon had you use a pillow in the hospital to keep your legs separated, continue to use it at home until your surgeon tells you that you can sleep without it
    • If you did not use a pillow between your legs in the hospital, consider using a pillow between your legs, especially when sleeping on your side

Getting Into Your Car

  • Consider using a pillow on the car seat to keep your knee below your hip when sitting
  • Sit down on the edge of the car seat
  • Swing one leg over into the car, then the other
  • Pivot in seat to face forward, buckle seat belt

Getting Out Of the Car

  • Reverse the above process

Opening A Door

  • When door swings away: Walk up as close to the door as possible, while holding onto your walker/cane with one hand, open the door fully and then walk through
  • When door swings toward you: Stand to the side of the door, open the door then walk through.

Home Environment: Safety First!

  • Pick up throw rugs and tack down loose carpeting. Cover slippery surfaces with carpets that are firmly anchored to the floor or that have non-skid backs
  • Be aware of all floor hazards such as pets, small objects, electrical cords or uneven surfaces
  • Provide good lighting throughout. Install nightlights in the bathrooms, bedrooms and hallways.
  • Keep extension cords and telephone cords out of pathways. DO NOT run wires under rugs; this is a fire hazard
  • DO NOT lift heavy objects for the first three months, and then only with your surgeon's permission
  • DO NOT wear open-toe slippers or shoes without backs. They do not provide adequate support and can lead to slips and falls
  • Stop and think. Use good judgment


  • In general, you can shower approximately 3 days after surgery if the wound is dry. Limit the amount of time water is exposed to the incision site. Pat the incision dry when finished
  • Do not immerse the incision in a tub or Jacuzzi for at least 3-4 weeks after surgery
  • Use long handled brush to clean lower legs

Daily Activities

  • Remember, you just had major joint surgery. Your joint needs time to heal and has to be eased back into daily activities
  • Slowly increase your daily activities to a level similar to your normal daily activity level
  • Use a sock/pant aide to pull up your socks and pants

Other Sensations

  • Due to your surgery, you may notice that the skin around the incision site may feel numb. This usually decreases over time
  • Your muscles might get sore after exercise or performing daily activities. This is a normal response and muscle soreness should not last more than an hour or so after exercise/activity. If it does last longer, do not start another bout of exercise or strenuous activity until the discomfort has gone away


  • When traveling, stop and change position frequently to prevent your joint from tightening.
  • Your physician will tell you when you can travel in planes
    • Your total hip replacement has metal components that may cause the setting off of alarms at security checkpoints in airports and other public travel areas
    • Advise the authorities before you are screened that you have a total hip replacement. On airplanes, request a bulkhead seat so you have more room
    • Wear your support socks (TEDS) and do ankle pumping frequently
  • In general, persons with a total hip replacement can begin driving themselves at approximately 4-6 weeks after surgery providing:
    • You no longer are taking narcotic medication for pain
    • You have regained your strength and reflexes
    • We recommend testing your driving ability by driving in an open parking lot with a friend

Return to Work

  • Persons with more desk/administrative type jobs can return to work in a matter of a few weeks
  • Persons with more physically demanding jobs usually return to work in 3 to 6 months. Discuss with your surgeon the impact of your job on your total hip replacement


  • Some forms of sexual relations can be resumed 4-6 weeks after surgery. Discuss with your doctor for more information


  • Call your Doctor if you experience any of the following:
    • Marked increase in pain in your hip above normal discomfort experienced when exercising or walking
    • Increased swelling, warmth or redness around the hip
    • Red, raised areas along incision line
    • Drainage from the incision site
    • Fever/Productive cough
    • If either of your calf muscles become swollen, painful or tender to touch
  • Discuss with your Doctor /Dentist about the need to take antibiotics before you are having dental work or other invasive procedures for two years after total joint surgery.