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Going home after hip replacement


You had a hip joint replacement surgery to replace all or part of your hip with an artificial joint. This artificial joint is called a prosthesis.

Activity when you go home

By the time you go home, you should be able to walk with a walker or crutches without needing much help. Use your crutches or walker for as long as you need them. Most people do not need them after 2 to 4 weeks.

You should also be able to dress yourself with only a little help and be able to get into and out of your bed or a chair by yourself. You should be able to use the toilet without much help.

Keep moving and walking once you get home. DO NOT put weight on your side with the new hip until your doctor tells you it is OK. Start out with short periods of activity, and then slowly increase them. Your doctor or physical therapist will give you exercises to do at home.

After a few days you may be able to do simple household chores. DO NOT try to do heavier chores, such as vacuuming or laundry. Remember, you will get tired quickly at first.

You will need to be careful that you do not dislocate your artificial hip, especially in the first few months after surgery. You will need to learn exercises that make your new hip stronger. You should also avoid low sofa or chairs during your recovery.

Over time, you should be able to return to your former level of activity. You will need to avoid some sports, such as contact sports like football and soccer and high-impact activities like jumping and running. But you should be able to do low impact activities, such as hiking, gardening, swimming, playing tennis, and golfing.

Getting the home ready and safe

Your home should be ready and safe for your return ahead of time. You will need to have someone with you at home for 7 to 10 days after you leave the hospital or rehab center. You will need help preparing meals, bathing, moving around the house, and doing other daily activities. If you don't have someone at home to help, you should consider getting in-home care.


Controlling your pain:

  • Your doctor will give you a prescription for pain medicines. Get it filled when you go home so you have it when you need it.
  • Take your pain medicine when you start having pain. Waiting too long to take your medicine will allow your pain to get more severe than it should.
  • In the early part of your recovery, taking pain medicine about 30 minutes before you increase your activity or before attending physical therapy can help control pain.

Your doctor will tell you when it is OK to start sexual activity again.

People who have a prosthesis, such as an artificial joint, need to carefully protect themselves against infection. Make sure your dentist and other health care providers know about your prosthesis. You may need to take antibiotics before any dental work or invasive medical procedures, this includes teeth cleaning.

Follow-up tests and visits may be scheduled before you leave the hospital. If not, call and schedule a follow-up with your orthopedic surgeon.

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Review Date: 12/31/2018

Reviewed By: C. Benjamin Ma, MD, Professor, Chief, Sports Medicine and Shoulder Service, UCSF Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, San Francisco, CA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.

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