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Transitioning Home

You’ll be ready to go home once you’re able to walk safely and perform your exercise program, and your surgeon or physician assistant determines that you are ready for dismissal. You must arrange for someone to stay with you when you go home or you will not be released from the hospital in a timely manner.

You’ll be ready to go home once you’re able to walk safely and perform your exercise program and your surgeon or physician assistant determines that you are ready for dismissal. You must arrange for someone to stay with you when you go home or you will not be released from the hospital in a timely manner.

Before you go home, we will make sure that all your discharge needs are met. Your surgeon may order the following based on your individual needs:

  • Norco or other medication for pain
  • Celebrex to decrease inflammation
  • Lyrica for nerve pain
  • Aspirin or Coumadin to thin the blood
  • Keflex or another antibiotic to prevent infection

These prescriptions will be given to you at your preparation appointment.

Equipment when you leave the hospital

The following is a list of common equipment used after a total hip replacement. Your therapists will assist you in evaluating the type of equipment you will need following your surgery. Equipment recommendations are based on the individual needs of each patient. Case Management Services can assist you in ordering equipment during your hospital stay.

  • Front-wheeled walker/cane/crutches
  • Raised toilet seat/bedside commode

The Trip Home

If you are going home by car, you will need to arrange for your coach, family member, or friend to drive. To make your ride more comfortable, slide your seat back and recline the seat slightly.

Recovering at Home

Medications Be sure to take your pain medications by mouth with a meal or snack. Avoid drinking alcohol or driving while taking prescribed pain medication. Consider taking pain medication 1/2 hour prior to performing the prescribed physical therapy exercises. It is normal to experience a deep ache in the hip and thigh area after surgery. Some people experience constipation while taking pain medication. You may consider drinking prune juice daily (as long as you are not taking Coumadin or are not diabetic), drinking more water, adding fiber to your diet, or taking an over-the-counter stool softener to prevent this. Sometimes laxatives or enemas are necessary to relieve constipation. Exercise and walking also help prevent constipation. Resume your home medications as instructed by your physician.

Activity

Continue your hip exercises as instructed by your physical therapist three times every day. You may bear weight as tolerated on the surgical leg unless instructed otherwise by your surgeon.

Get up and walk every hour for 10 minutes using your front-wheeled walker for support and safety. Continue to use your walker for 5-7 days following surgery, or longer if needed.

You may resume driving when you have regained complete control of your leg (usually within 7-10 days after surgery) and are no longer taking narcotic pain medications.

Avoid resistance training or swimming until cleared by your surgeon.

Managing swelling

It is normal to have bruising around your hip and down to your groin and inner thigh area. You may also experience swelling of the upper and lower leg down to the foot and ankle. Swelling usually peaks around 7 days after surgery. Elevate the leg and apply the ice machine wrap, using a towel underneath, to help decrease pain and swelling, for no more than 60 minutes 3 times daily. Make sure to have a supply of ice available.

Incision care

Keep your incision clean and dry. You may shower when your incision is dry and no longer draining, typically 48-72 hours after surgery and sometimes up to 1 week after surgery.

Use regular soap but do NOT use creams or lotions on your incision until cleared by your surgeon.

Avoid soaking your incision in a tub bath, hot tub or participating in any water activities until the incision is completely healed, closed and no longer draining. This typically occurs within two to four weeks after surgery.

Change your dressing as needed or whenever it becomes soiled or wet. Wash your hands, remove the soiled dressing and replace with clean gauze.

You may leave your incision open to air when there is no longer any drainage.

Diet and rest

Eat a healthy diet to promote healing. You may experience decreased appetite after surgery. This is normal and should gradually resolve. Take rest breaks as needed during the day and get a good night’s sleep to support the healing process. However, it is common to have difficulty sleeping after surgery. This will gradually improve. You may sleep on your back or on your side with a pillow between your legs for comfort if needed.

Life After a Joint Replacement

Traveling

When traveling long distances, you should attempt to change position, or stand or walk about every hour. Some of the exercises, like ankle pumps, can also be performed should you need to sit for long periods of time.

Because your new artificial hip contains metal components, you will likely set off the security systems at airports or shopping malls. This is normal and should not cause concern.

Exercises and Activity

Exercise and maintaining an active lifestyle are important parts of health. Most patients with artificial joints are able to enjoy many activities, though some should be avoided. In general, high impact exercises, such as running, jumping, heavyweight lifting, or contact sports, are not recommended. Participating in these activities, or activities like them, may damage your joint or cause it to wear down much more quickly. Low impact activities such as swimming, walking, gardening, and golf are encouraged.

Reducing Risks of Infection in Your New Joint

To reduce your risk of infection, antibiotics may need to be administered prior to any invasive test, procedure or surgery. The physician or surgeon performing the test, procedure, or surgery should prescribe antibiotics if indicated.

Follow-up Care

You will see your surgeon or physician assistant for a follow-up appointment 3-6 weeks after surgery, and then at 3 months, 6 months and 1 year. Joint replacements are monitored thereafter every 5 years for life.

Click here to download a pdf on home exercises and mobility

Stop joint pain and get back to life!

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The Coon Joint Replacement Institute values your privacy and handles your personal information with care. Your email address and information is secure, confidential and will not be sold to any third party sources.

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To talk with someone immediately, call 877.747.9991

The Coon Joint Replacement Institute values your privacy and handles your personal information with care. Your email address and information is secure, confidential and will not be sold to any third party sources.

AHI Rebrand