If you have had total hip replacement surgery, you will need to take certain precautions during your recovery. This is especially true if your surgery is done through the posterior approach (at the back of the buttocks, close to the buttocks).
These precautions are important to avoid hip replacement dislocations. When this happens, the artificial ball in the thigh (femur) slips out of the artificial hip socket.
This article will explain the three precautions you need to take after surgery and for how long.
According to the University Hospital of Cologne, about 2% of total hip replacement patients will experience a dislocation within a year, while 28% of patients with a second hip replacement will experience the same.
This video has been medically reviewed by Oluseun Olufade, MD.
There are three movements that should be avoided after posterior incision total hip arthroplasty to prevent dislocation of the artificial hip. Until you are fully recovered and your orthopaedic surgeon has fully evaluated your mobility and range of motion, you should avoid:
- Hip flexion more than 90 degrees: This means you shouldn’t bend your hips too far or lift your knees too high. For example, when you are sitting in a chair, your thighs should be parallel to the floor. Sitting in a low chair or putting socks on with your knees and hips bent can break the 90-degree rule and put you at risk of hip dislocation.
- Cross your operated leg over the other leg: You should not cross your new hip over the other leg. You may need to sleep with a special wedge called an abduction pillow to help keep your legs apart.
- Pigeon Toe Walking (Internal Hip Rotation): You should not internally rotate your hip joint after posterior total hip arthroplasty. This means that when walking, sitting, standing, or lying down, your toes should remain straight forward or slightly rotated outward.
Sometimes the exercises you may perform as part of a physical therapy program after hip surgery can be risky. Your physical therapist can show you what to do so that it doesn’t lead to a dislocation.
When to call your healthcare provider
Call your healthcare provider if you have signs of a hip replacement dislocation, including:
- Severe pain in the hip and groin
- Popping sound when moving
- Difficulty walking or being unable to walk
- Feel the hip “grab” movement
- inability to move the hip
- Notice that the leg with the prosthetic hip is suddenly shorter than the other leg
Duration of preventive measures
Most people need to follow precautions for about 90 days after surgery. Some healthcare providers may want you to follow precautions for about six months. Others may only let you follow them for 60 days. It all depends on your health and mobility prior to surgery and the complexity of the surgery. It also depends on the intensity of your recovery and recovery after surgery.
Your healthcare provider will tell you when you no longer need to follow total hip precautions.
A 2011 study Journal of Orthopedics and Sports Physical Therapy According to reports, most people experience rapid recovery within the first three to four months after total hip arthroplasty. After that, improvements continue at a slower pace for up to a year.
How long does hip replacement surgery last?
After total hip replacement surgery, you will work with a physical therapist for rehabilitation. You also need to avoid certain movements in your daily life to avoid the possibility of dislocating the ball and socket of your new hip.
Remember that everyone heals differently after total hip replacement surgery. Working with your physical therapist is the best way to ensure a safe and quick recovery.
Frequently Asked Questions
How to avoid dislocating hip replacement?
Many risk factors are beyond your control. For example, underlying neuromuscular disease played a role. Surgical errors such as incorrect placement of the prosthesis can also lead to displacement. However, you can reduce your risk by not pushing the range of motion: don’t bend too far forward from the standing position, and avoid internal rotation of the bent hip.
Need immediate repair of a dislocated hip replacement?
Yes. The hip joint should be treated within 6 hours of displacement using a technique called reduction to avoid permanent complications or the need for additional or invasive procedures.