Skip to main content

Precautions after Total Joint Replacement Surgery

Medically reviewed by Last updated on Aug 31, 2022.

What are precautions after total joint replacement surgery?

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

What do I need to know about putting 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.

What do I need to know about 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.

What do I need to know about body positioning?

  • Sit in chairs that have seats at least as high as your knees.
  • Use a 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 your healthcare provider's 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.

What do I need to know about 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.

When should I seek immediate care?

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

When should I call my doctor?

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

Care Agreement

You have the right to help plan your care. Learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your healthcare providers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment. 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.

© Copyright IBM Corporation 2022 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 IBM Watson Health

Further information

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