The first six weeks


An artificial joint must be treated with some respect. In the first few months, the tissues around the joint will be recovering from the surgery and so extra precautions need to be taken after the operation to obviate the risk of the new joint dislocating, and this is particularly important for the first 6 weeks. The basic rule is to avoid bringing the knee of the operated side and the opposite shoulder towards each other.

Chair: The Occupational Therapist will advise you about the correct height of chair required.

Sitting down/ standing up: Walk to your chair, slowly step back until you feel the back of your legs touching the seat.  If you are using crutches, take your arms out of them and hold the handles in one hand. Place your operated leg in front of you and put your one or two hands onto the chair arms. Take your weight through your arms and un-operated leg, then ease yourself down onto the chair. Once you are sitting, you can bend the knee on your operated leg, so your foot rests on the floor.  Sit with your heels together, knees apart and toes turned out. Don’t cross your legs. To get up from the chair- reverse the process


Bed: The Occupational Therapist will advise you about the correct height of chair required and how to get in and out safely– see the Hip tip booklet for further information.

Sleeping position: You may lie in any position as comfort allows. If you wish to lie on your side it is preferable to lie on the operated side with a pillow between your legs. If you lie on your unoperated side, it is essential to place a pillow between your legs to prevent the hip falling into a position of potential dislocation

Sex:This can resume as soon as the wound is healed, and it is comfortable. Avoid positions which risk dislocating the hip, particularly in the first few weeks. The missionaries knew best!

Bathing, washing and dressing: You will not be able to have a bath for the first 6 weeks but once the wound is healed you may have a shower provided it is the ‘walk in’ type. The Occupational Therapist will advise you further on bathing, washing and dressing.

Toilet: The Occupational therapist will usually arrange for a raised toilet seat to be fitted and this should be used for the first 6 weeks after your operation.

Walking: Short frequent walks are good exercise. It is helpful to wear shoes with thick cushioned soles. As you turn around- take small steps and don’t twist on the operated leg. Most people can progress from crutches to sticks or a single crutch as soon as confident and steady enough to do so. When able, you may discard walking aids in the home but should use a stick out of doors until your first out-patients review at 6-8 weeks post surgery (unless instructed otherwise).

Stairs: When going up stairs, put the unoperated leg up first, followed by the operated leg and crutch (‘the good leg goes up to heaven’).

When going down, put the crutch and operated leg down first, followed by the unoperated leg (‘the bad leg goes down to hell’)

Lifting: Avoid lifting anything heavy for the first 6 weeks, and take care as you bend and straighten. Do ask someone to help with heavy activities such as shopping, laundry, vacuuming, making beds and washing floors.

Picking up objects from the floor If you drop something on the floor, don't bend to pick it up. Use a ‘helping hand’ or a lump of blue tack at the end of a stick to pick up small objects

Car: Driving is not usually advisable for the first 6 weeks but di ask your surgeon. Travelling as a passenger is also discouraged for 6 weeks although essential journeys such as visits to the hospital or GP are permitted.