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Precautions after Total Joint Replacement Surgery

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:

Precautions after total joint replacement surgery are safety measures. Safety measures are guidelines to help your joint heal properly and help you avoid injury after surgery.

DISCHARGE INSTRUCTIONS:

Return to the emergency department if:

  • You fall.
  • You have severe pain.
  • One or both of your legs are red, warm, and swollen.

Call your doctor or surgeon if:

  • You develop bruises.
  • You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.

Weight on the new joint:

Follow your healthcare provider's instructions on how much weight to put on your joint. You may need to use crutches, a cane, or a walker for a time after surgery. Your provider will increase the amount of weight you can put on the joint as you heal.

Climbing stairs:

Climb stairs one at a time. Step up with the same foot each time. Do not switch feet for each stair. You may need to use crutches or a cane to help you go up or down stairs. Always follow safety measures for climbing stairs.

Body positioning:

  • Sit in chairs that have seats at least as high as your knees.
  • Use a special seat extender to raise your toilet seat at least as high as your knees.
  • Do not cross or twist your legs.
  • Do not bend at your waist to pick things up. Use a tool to help you grab objects.
  • Do not sit for longer than your healthcare provider recommends. He or she may tell you not to sit for longer than 30 minutes at a time.
  • Follow instructions about using pillows to help position your body.
  • Your healthcare provider may tell you to keep 2 pillows between your legs while you sleep. He or she will also tell you if you need to avoid any sleeping positions, and how long to do this.

Activity:

Ask your healthcare provider when you can do your normal daily activities again. Ask when you can start to exercise and which exercises are best for you. Avoid activities and exercise that cause joint pain. You may need to see a physical or occupational therapist. These therapists teach you how to safely move with your new joint. They teach you activities and exercises that help make your bones and muscles stronger.

Follow up with your doctor or surgeon as directed:

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

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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.

Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.