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Total Hip Replacement

Medically reviewed by Last updated on Dec 2, 2022.

Total hip replacement (THR) is surgery to replace a hip joint damaged by wear, injury, or osteoarthritis. It is normal to have increased stiffness and pain after surgery. Your pain and stiffness should get better with exercise. You may be able to go home shortly after surgery. Your healthcare provider will talk to you about rehabilitation you can do at home.


Call 911 for any of the following:

  • You have chest pain when you take a deep breath or cough. You may cough up blood.
  • You suddenly feel lightheaded and short of breath.
  • You have a seizure or feel confused.

Seek care immediately if:

  • Your leg feels warm, tender, and painful. It may look swollen and red.
  • Your incision comes apart.
  • You urinate less than usual or not at all.

Contact your healthcare provider if:

  • You have a fever or chills.
  • Your wound is red, swollen, or draining pus.
  • Blood soaks through your bandage.
  • You have nausea or are vomiting.
  • You have more pain and swelling in your hip joint, even after you take pain medicine.
  • You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.


  • Use your assistive devices as directed. Examples include a walker, cane, and a reacher. These devices will help decrease your risk for falls.
  • Do your exercises several times each day. The physical therapist will teach you exercises to build strength and prevent blood clots.

Prevent dislocation of your hip implant:

Do the following for up to 8 weeks after your hip replacement:

  • Sit in a straight-backed chair. Use armrests to help you rise from a seated position. Do not sit on low chairs, sofas, rocking chairs, or stools.
  • Use assistive devices given to put on socks and shoes. Do not lean forward to put on pants, socks, or shoes. Do not lean forward or twist to pick items up.
  • Keep your knees apart. Do not cross your legs. You may need to put a pillow between your knees to remind you.


  • Blood thinners help prevent blood clots. Clots can cause strokes, heart attacks, and death. The following are general safety guidelines to follow while you are taking a blood thinner:
    • Watch for bleeding and bruising while you take blood thinners. Watch for bleeding from your gums or nose. Watch for blood in your urine and bowel movements. Use a soft washcloth on your skin, and a soft toothbrush to brush your teeth. This can keep your skin and gums from bleeding. If you shave, use an electric shaver. Do not play contact sports.
    • Tell your dentist and other healthcare providers that you take a blood thinner. Wear a bracelet or necklace that says you take this medicine.
    • Do not start or stop any other medicines unless your healthcare provider tells you to. Many medicines cannot be used with blood thinners.
    • Take your blood thinner exactly as prescribed by your healthcare provider. Do not skip does or take less than prescribed. Tell your provider right away if you forget to take your blood thinner, or if you take too much.
    • Warfarin is a blood thinner that you may need to take. The following are things you should be aware of if you take warfarin:
      • Foods and medicines can affect the amount of warfarin in your blood. Do not make major changes to your diet while you take warfarin. Warfarin works best when you eat about the same amount of vitamin K every day. Vitamin K is found in green leafy vegetables and certain other foods. Ask for more information about what to eat when you are taking warfarin.
      • You will need to see your healthcare provider for follow-up visits when you are on warfarin. You will need regular blood tests. These tests are used to decide how much medicine you need.
  • Prescription pain medicine may be given. Ask your healthcare provider how to take this medicine safely. Some prescription pain medicines contain acetaminophen. Do not take other medicines that contain acetaminophen without talking to your healthcare provider. Too much acetaminophen may cause liver damage. Prescription pain medicine may cause constipation. Ask your healthcare provider how to prevent or treat constipation.
  • Take your medicine as directed. Contact your healthcare provider if you think your medicine is not helping or if you have side effects. Tell your provider if you are allergic to any medicine. Keep a list of the medicines, vitamins, and herbs you take. Include the amounts, and when and why you take them. Bring the list or the pill bottles to follow-up visits. Carry your medicine list with you in case of an emergency.

Follow up with your healthcare provider as directed:

You will need to have your stitches or staples removed. Your healthcare provider may contact you weeks after your surgery. He or she may ask if surgery helped relieve your pain or stiffness. Tell your provider how well you are able to do your daily activities after surgery. Also tell him or her if you are having any problems with mobility or range of motion. Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.

Care for your incision area as directed:

Do not get the area wet until it is completely healed. Ask your healthcare provider when it is okay to get the area wet. Change your bandage as directed and if it gets wet or dirty.

Physical therapy:

A physical therapist teaches you exercises to help improve movement and strength, and to decrease pain. If you are not able to be safe at home, you may be admitted to a rehabilitation facility.

© Copyright Merative 2022 Information is for End User's use only and may not be sold, redistributed or otherwise used for commercial purposes.

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.

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