Skip to Content

Hip Abduction Pillow


A hip abduction pillow is a device used to prevent your hip from moving out of your joint. The pillow is placed between your thighs and attached to your legs with straps.


Call 911 for any of the following:

  • You feel lightheaded, short of breath, and have chest pain.
  • You cough up blood.
  • You have trouble breathing.

Seek care immediately if:

  • Your leg becomes larger than usual and painful.
  • You have severe pain.
  • You cannot move your leg.
  • Your hip or knee is twisted in or out.
  • Your foot, ankle, or leg is numb.

Contact your healthcare provider if:

  • You have a fever or chills.
  • The area of your skin that is touching the pillow is red, swollen, or painful. .
  • The skin on your buttocks or tailbone is red, swollen, or painful.
  • You have pain that does not go away after you take pain medicine.
  • You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.

How to place a hip abduction pillow properly:

Your healthcare provider will teach you how to place a hip abduction pillow. He may give you the following instructions:

  • Lie flat on the bed.
  • Place the pillow between your thighs. The pillow should touch each leg from your thigh to your ankles. Your legs will fit inside spaces on the sides of the foam pillow.
  • You will need a caregiver to attach the pillow to your thighs and ankles. A caregiver can be a family member or a friend that helps with your care. He will need to follow these steps:
    • Wrap the straps around your thighs and ankles and attach to the pillow.
    • Tighten the straps to prevent your legs from moving outward. He should be able to fit one finger between your legs and the straps.
      Hip Abduction Pillow

Self care:

Your healthcare provider will instruct you and your caregiver on how to do the following:

  • Care for your skin as directed. Your healthcare provider will show how to loosen the straps every 2 to 4 hours and check your skin for sore or red areas. Your skin can be washed around the pillow with soap and water. He may prescribe powders or lotions that will prevent skin damage.
  • Do exercises as directed. Your healthcare provider may instruct you to remove your pillow for exercise. He may instruct you to wiggle your toes once every hour. This will help prevent blood clots and improve blood circulation in your legs. Exercise may prevent you from losing movement and strength in your hip.
  • Change your position every 2 hours. Your healthcare provider will show you how to safely roll from side to side. This may prevent you from getting a bed sore on your buttocks or tailbone. It may also help you heal by moving blood through your legs. Before you move, check that your pillow is strapped to your thighs and ankles.
  • Wear your hip abduction pillow while in bed as directed. Your healthcare provider will tell you when it is safe to remove your hip abduction pillow.

Other self care tips:

  • Drink more liquids. Liquids help keep your body hydrated and prevent a blood clot in your leg. Ask how much liquid you should drink and which liquids are best for you.
  • Avoid sitting upright with your legs out in front of you. If you sit upright, you may place too much stress on your hip or cause your hip to dislocate.
  • Do not cross your legs or ankles. You may move your hip out of its joint.

Follow up with your healthcare provider as directed:

Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.

© 2016 Truven Health Analytics Inc. Information is for End User's use only and may not be sold, redistributed or otherwise used for commercial purposes. All illustrations and images included in CareNotes® are the copyrighted property of A.D.A.M., Inc. or Truven Health Analytics.

The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.