Surgery to replace a damaged and painful hip joint is only the first step in treating your hip. The success of your procedure depends largely on your recovery—starting with the days and weeks after surgery and how well you take care of yourself and allow your hip to heal.
- Going home from the hospital: Your doctor will see how you’re doing to decide when you’re ready to go home from the hospital. It may be between one and four days. Before you go home, your doctor will make sure that your pain is under control and that you’re ready for a few things—these include: getting in and out of bed by yourself; being able to eat, drink, and go to the bathroom; walking with assistance from a cane, walker, or crutches; and being ready to do prescribed exercises at home.
- Prepare your home for a safe, comfortable recovery. It will take some time before you’re ready for normal activity around your home. You’ll need a friend, family member, or caregiver to come stay with you as long as you need extra help. You’ll also need to be able to get around your home. Make sure you can easily reach the things you need—such medication, personal hygiene products, food, and water. You might need to move your furniture so that you can get around with your walker, cane, or crutches. Also remove anything on the floor that might cause you to fall or slip (such as rugs and cords). Make sure you have a comfortable chair to rest on during the day. You’ll also need to set up your bathroom with a shower chair, a bar to steady yourself, and a raised toilet seat.
- Know when to call your doctor or go to the emergency room: Your risk of complication after hip replacement is generally low, but you’ll want to know how to watch for serious problems, including infection and blood clots. Signs of infection include fever; shaking or chills; increasing redness, tenderness, or swelling around your surgical would; and increasing pain. Signs of a blood clot include pain in your leg that’s not coming from your incision; tenderness or redness above or below your knee; and swelling anywhere in your leg. There’s also a risk that a blood clot can travel to your lungs, so be sure to call your doctor if you experience shortness of breath, sudden chest pain, and chest pain with coughing.
To learn more about hip replacement surgery, visit our information page.
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