Planning ahead for after your hip surgery If you're due to have hip surgery plan ahead to aid your recovery
1. Round up supporters:
If you live alone, organise support in advance from family and friends. In the first few days after you leave hospital they can help with shopping, driving or lifting heavier items. Just having someone around for company to encourage you and keep your spirits up really helps.
2. Make basic items accessible: After surgery, excessive bending is discouraged and can be difficult, so move food and clothes you’ll be needing on a daily basis to a comfortable height which is easy to reach.
3. A walking tea trolley: When recovering from hip surgery walking is encouraged and you will progress from walking with the support of a physiotherapist in hospital, through to walking with a stick at home for two to six weeks after the operation. A walking tea trolley is a good investment so you can carrying things around the home while you still need a walking aid. It is one of the most practical recovery aids to have ready at home, helping you keep a normal, mobile routine.
4. Stop smoking: Ideally, you should do this prior to surgery but, at least, by not smoking for two weeks beforehand and for the time you are recovering, you will start to improve your circulation and your breathing which is beneficial to the overall healing process.
Recovering well from hip surgery
1. Healthy diet: A healthy balanced diet will ensure your body has all the nutrients it needs to heal. Getting plenty of fibre while recovering will also help to keep your bowels moving regularly.
2. Build up gradually: Try and do some of the things you’d normally do, but build up gradually. You may feel more tired than usual doing these activities; if so, stop and rest until your strength returns.
3. Sex: This is an important milestone for many people, and it is down to each individual when they feel comfortable about having sex again after surgery. After a hip replacement, it may be most comfortable for the recovering patient to lie on their back. Also, remember not to put your 'operated leg' in a position where it could become dislocated; your surgeon and/or physiotherapist will explain this to you.
4. Driving: Don’t try for the six weeks after surgery; if you have an automatic car you may be able to drive earlier but discuss the possibility with your surgeon first. Travelling as a passenger is also best avoided for the first three weeks, except for essential journeys, as getting in and out of a car can risk straining the hip and stretching the healing tissues. Before resuming driving you will need to be fully recovered from your operation and be free from the distracting effect of pain or side effects of any pain relief medication.
Further advice about making a speedy recovery after total hip replacement can be found at: www.rcseng.ac.uk/getwellsoon.
Read the next page for more advice about recovering after operations...