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.
What do I need to know about putting weight on the new joint?
Right after surgery, your new joint is not able to hold your weight. Your caregiver will tell you how much weight you can put on your joint. Over time, your caregiver will increase the amount of weight your joint can bear. Your joint can loosen and move out of place if you put too much weight on it. Follow your caregiver’s instructions on how much weight you should put on your joint. Use crutches, a cane, or a walker to help you move around more easily and help prevent a fall.
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 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 1 hour at a time.
- Do not lie on the side of your body that had surgery.
- Follow your caregiver’s instructions about using pillows to help position your body.
What do I need to know about activity?
Ask your caregiver when you can resume your normal daily activities. Ask when you can start to exercise and what 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 move safely with your new joint. They teach you activities and exercises that help make your bones and muscles stronger.
When should I seek immediate care?
Seek care immediately or call an orthopedician if:
- You fall.
- You have severe pain.
- One or both of your legs are red, warm, and swollen.
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 caregivers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment.