If you find yourself facing hip replacement surgery, you’ve likely been living with pain and immobility for some time. Your surgery can give you a new lease on life, but you have to get through the recovery process first.
To make the days and weeks following your surgery more comfortable and more conducive to healing, our team of expert orthopedic surgeons at The Woodlands Sports Medicine Centre in The Woodlands, Texas, have developed this checklist so you can set up the best healing environment at home.
The following are general guidelines that you may need to tweak a bit for your home and your lifestyle, but they give you a good idea of the proper mindset for prepping your space to promote a positive recovery.
Picture your journey from the car to your door on the day you come home from your hip replacement surgery. If you enter the house from the garage, make sure there’s enough room to use a walker or wheelchair. If there’s uneven ground to the front door, repair it, smooth it, or flatten it out with a wide sheet of plywood.
Plan for a comfortable sleep
After surgery, you need rest — it’s one of the most important aspects of the healing process. So you want to make sure your bed is comfortable and at a height that’s easy to get into and out of. If your bedroom is on the second floor, consider setting up temporary sleeping quarters on the main floor.
Set up a bedside table for everything you may need during the night within your reach: water, tissues, lip balm, reading material, and phone.
The main goal post-surgery is to avoid falls, and the restroom is where most falls occur, even for people who haven't undergone hip replacement surgery. Extra attention to prepping your bathroom can mean the difference between a smooth recovery and frustrating setbacks.
Lowering yourself onto the toilet and getting back up again is one of the most challenging parts of recovering from hip replacement surgery. You can make it easier by adding a raised toilet seat that allows your knees to stay even with your hips when you sit. It also helps to have a grab bar next to the toilet to help you get up.
The ideal shower is a walk-in style with a low threshold. If you only have access to a tub-style shower, practice your technique for getting in and out before you have surgery so you can minimize the risk of falling. Have a grab bar installed in advance of your procedure.
A bench is a good investment for inside the shower. It allows you to sit and shower without balance concerns or the fear of falling.
We recommend preparing a few meals ahead of time that you can freeze now and reheat later to save yourself the chore of moving around the kitchen to cook, at least during the first week or two after surgery.
When you do need to work in the kitchen, avoid bending or reaching. Think ahead and place the things you use most in plain sight at hip or waist level — think tea kettle, coffee grounds, cereals and snacks, bowls, and glasses.
Make a path
For the first few weeks after your surgery, you’ll use a walker to get around, so make sure your home is ready for one. Typical walkers are about 24-28 inches wide. We recommend getting one prior to your surgery so you know the exact width and make sure it fits through all of the doorways in your home.
Then, clear the way. Remove all clutter throughout your home that might interfere with your movement — this includes loose throw rugs.
During your recovery from hip replacement surgery, you may need to accept a little help from others.
- Ask friends and family to bring meals
- Arrange for someone to walk and feed your pets
- Ask our team about in-home caretakers
- Hire a gardener
- Enlist a neighbor to bring in your mail
Accepting assistance after your surgery gives your body a chance to rest and regenerate.
How long is the recovery period?
Although recovery time depends on many factors, including the procedure performed, your age, and your overall health, you can expect about 4-6 weeks with a walker.
At The Woodlands Sports Medicine Centre, we perform minimally invasive arthroscopic surgery, which means your incisions are small and there’s little damage to surrounding tissues. That means your recovery is generally quicker than for those who have traditional open surgery.
To find out more about our minimally invasive hip replacement procedure and how to set yourself up for a fast and complete recovery, contact us today by phone or online to book an appointment.