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Avoid hip dislocations

Avoid hip dislocations following hip surgery with these precautions. New surgical methods such as the direct anterior approach to total hip replacement, advanced technology, and improvements to hip implants have combined to reduce the number of hip dislocations following hip replacement surgery. The risk of dislocating the hip following surgery has not been entirely eliminated, however, therefore it is wise to take some precautions during your recovery from hip surgery.

Avoid hip dislocations with these precautions

These precautions focus on keeping your hip in a safe position while the soft tissues of the hip joint heal. You will want to avoid bending the hip back, turning your hip and leg out or spreading your leg outward.

  • Walk with short steps to avoid stretching your hip back
  • Use both knees when you kneel done to avoid stretching the hip back
  • To keep your leg from turning or rolling out while lying on your back in bed, place a pillow next to your hip
  • Keep the toes of your affected leg pointing forward when you sit, stand or walk
  • Prevent your leg from bending up and out when getting in or out of the bathtub by lifting it straight up and over the edge of the tub
  • Consider using a raised commode, grab bars and an adjustable tub or shower bench in the bathroom
  • You may need to elevate your couch, chair or recliner to a height of at least 20” off the floor, in order to avoid bending your hip beyond 90 degrees
  • Arrange your shelves and cupboards so that frequently used items are between waist and shoulder height; avoid bending over too far at the hip by using a grabber tool to retrieve items on lower shelves

In most cases, hip replacement patients are able to work with a physical therapist before having hip surgery performed and will continue for up to 3 months afterward, keeping precautions in place. Your orthopaedic surgeon will advise you as to when it is safe to extend your range of motion.

The direct anterior approach to hip replacement, which Dr. Zehr prefers for primary hip replacement, is far less restrictive and you may find that these precautions are unnecessary. Call the Zehr Center today at 239-596-0100 to discuss the benefits of the direct anterior approach to hip replacement.

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