What not to do after a hip replacement

January 18, 2022 Post-Hospital Care

What not to do after a hip replacement

A hip replacement is a common operation to replace a damaged hip joint. It replaces the joint with an artificial one. According To the NHS: “Adults of any age can be considered for a hip replacement, although most are carried out on people between the ages of 60 and 80.”

This guide will take you through the dos and don’ts of recovery. If you need advice on respite care or general post-surgery advice, we have two other articles below that you might find helpful:

  • Respite care
  • Post-surgery care

If you are caring for someone and would like to talk through your options for getting professional support, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us here at Cavendish Homecare.

What is hip replacement surgery?

When mobility is reduced, or the hip joint is worn or damaged, it may be necessary to replace it with a prosthesis (artificial joint), known as hip replacement surgery. The new joint will last for around 15 years, and often greatly reduces pain as well as increases mobility. Hip replacement surgery is considered major surgery and therefore can have a longer recovery time. It is carried out under either general anesthetic (you’re asleep during the procedure) or an epidural when your lower body is numbed but you remain awake.

What is an artificial hip joint made from?

An artificial hip joint is made of a metal alloy or, in some cases, ceramic. The surgery to replace your hip joint with an artificial one usually takes around 60-90 minutes to complete. To read more about the materials and process of this operation, the NHS has a guide.

Who might need a hip replacement?

According to the NHS, most hip replacements are provided to people between the ages of 60 and 80. There can be conditions that affect the hip joint, including:

  • Ankylosing spondylitis – affecting mostly teenagers and younger adults, the spine and other areas become inflamed and or stiff
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • A hip fracture – through wear or accident
  • Disorders that cause unusual bone growth such as bone dysplasia

Other reasons a person may require a hip replacement include:

  • Severe pain, swelling and stiffness in the hip joint and reduced mobility
  • Pain so severe that it interferes with quality of life and sleep
  • Everyday tasks have become difficult or impossible (shopping or bathing)
  • Depression caused by the pain and/or lack of mobility
  • An inability to work or have a normal social life

What should I do to recover from hip replacement surgery?

Before the surgery, you can do a few things to help aid your recovery. These include:

  • Staying as active as possible to strengthen the muscles around the hip joint. This can include exercises like swimming, which is gentle but thorough, certain yoga positions, or physiotherapy. Walking is also recommended.
  • Reading up on your operation with the information provided by your GP – the more you know about your surgery and recovery, the better prepared you can be.
  • Arrange travel as you will be unable to drive after your surgery.

It will be around 6 weeks before you can return to light activity or go back to work (depending on your occupation). After surgery, you will be given specific instructions on how to care for your hip. This might include:

  • How to use crutches and/or mobility aids (a walking frame is usually provided)
  • Physiotherapy exercises
  • Suggested light exercises such as yoga or strengthening poses
  • Medications and how often you can take them (usually for pain relief)
  • A plan for resting and allowing the operation site to heal
  • Dressings to wear

Following the advice of your doctor and a well-planned recovery, the document is key to a full recovery. Make sure to rest when you are tired and not rush to recover any quicker than you have been told it will take.

What should I not do after hip replacement surgery?

You must follow the advice from your doctor. An individual care plan will be provided to help you tailor rehabilitation to your specific needs and mobility. It will cover everything from the medications you can and can’t take, to exercises to help strengthen your new hip joint. You may also be enrolled in a physiotherapy course.

Some things you should not do after hip replacement surgery:

  • Drive (speak to your doctor about when you can do so again)
  • Shower or bathe until 24-48 hours post-surgery
  • Heavy lifting
  • Excessive exercise
  • Walking without aid for at least the first 1-3 weeks (follow your doctor’s advice)
  • Miss medications
  • Skip rehabilitation exercises
  • Forget to keep wounds clean and dressed properly

It is also advisable to not sit for long periods, getting up and moving gently in between periods of sitting. You should try to get plenty of rest and maintain a healthy, balanced diet to help your body to heal.

Contact Cavendish Homecare

Are you looking for home care for yourself or a loved one? Don’t hesitate to get in touch with Cavendish Homecare using our contact page.

At Cavendish Homecare we can provide professional and efficient care to bespoke requirements. We show compassion in everything we do and truly understand the needs of our clients.