Follow your doctor's specific instructions about the use of a cane, walker, or crutches and when you can put weight on the leg. Full weight bearing may be allowed immediately or may be delayed by several weeks depending on the type of hip replacement you have undergone and your doctor's instructions.
In most cases, it is safe to resume driving when you are no longer taking narcotic pain medication, and when your strength and reflexes have returned to a more normal state. Your doctor will help you determine when it is safe to resume driving.
Please consult your doctor about how soon you can safely resume sexual activity. Depending on your condition, you may be able to resume sexual activity within several weeks after surgery.
Depending on your surgery, your doctor may ask you to avoid certain sleeping positions or to sleep with a pillow between your legs for a length of time. Ask your doctor which sleeping positions are safest and most appropriate for you.
Return to Work
Depending on the type of activities you do on the job and the speed of your recovery, it may be several weeks before you are able to return to work. Your doctor will advise you when it is safe to resume your normal work activities.
Sports and Exercise
Continue to do the exercises prescribed by your physical therapist for at least 2 months after surgery. In some cases, your doctor may recommend riding a stationary bicycle to help maintain muscle tone and keep your hip flexible.
As soon as your doctor gives you the go-ahead, you can return to many of the sports activities you enjoyed before your hip replacement:
- Walk as much as you would like, but remember that walking is no substitute for the exercises prescribed by your doctor and physical therapist.
- Swimming is an excellent low-impact activity after a total hip replacement; you can begin as soon as the sutures have been removed and the wound is healed.
- In general, lower impact fitness activities such as golfing, bicycling, and light tennis, put less stress on your hip joint and are preferable over high-impact activities such as jogging, racquetball and skiing.
Pressure changes and immobility may cause your hip joint to swell, especially if it is just healing. Ask your doctor before you travel on an airplane. When going through security, be aware that the sensitivity of metal detectors varies and your artificial joint may cause an alarm. Tell the screener about your artificial joint before going through the metal detector. You may also wish to carry a medical alert card to show the airport screener.
Dos and Don'ts To Protect Your New Hip
Dos and don'ts (precautions) vary depending on your doctor's surgical technique. Your doctor and physical therapist will provide you with a list of dos and don'ts to remember with your new hip. These precautions will help to prevent the new joint from dislocating and ensure proper healing. Here are some of the most common precautions:
- Don't cross your legs at the knees for at least 6 to 8 weeks.
- Don't bring your knee up higher than your hip.
- Don't lean forward while sitting or as you sit down.
- Don't try to pick up something on the floor while you are sitting.
- Don't turn your feet excessively inward or outward when you bend down.
- Don't reach down to pull up blankets when lying in bed.
- Don't bend at the waist beyond 90 degrees.
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- Do keep the leg facing forward.
- Do keep the affected leg in front as you sit or stand.
- Do use a high kitchen or barstool in the kitchen.
- Do kneel on the knee on the operated leg (the bad side).
- Do use ice to reduce pain and swelling, but remember that ice will diminish sensation. Don't apply ice directly to the skin; use an ice pack or wrap it in a damp towel.
- Do apply heat before exercising to assist with range of motion. Use a heating pad or hot, damp towel for 15 to 20 minutes.
- Do cut back on your exercises if your muscles begin to ache, but don't stop doing them!
American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons
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"Terminal" breast cancer survivor channels recovery through writing
With National Cancer Research Month approaching in May, as well as National Women's Health Week from May 10-16, millions of people in the United States affected by cancer will be reflecting on this life-threatening illness.
After doctors diagnosed her advanced-stage breast cancer as terminal, San Francisco Bay-area author Alice Salerno started writing as a means of channeling a life parallel to the seemingly shortened one she was currently living. Following her diagnosis and throughout planning for inevitable hospice care, Salerno maintained a positive outlook on life and her continued personal interest investigating hopeful intimations of quantum physics, which ultimately developed into a new fantasy novel, "Jennifer Arthur and All the Gone."
Salerno’s masterfully created world in "Jennifer Arthur and All the Gone" reaches out to readers with a subtle invitation for them to color their own worlds with creatively positive thought patterns. Aiming to alleviate the alarming rate among young people toward destructive relationships and even near-epidemic suicides, she hopes to counteract the overwhelmingly dystopian trend in much of today’s literature.
“It appears more and more certain that we create, both in our personal worlds and our entire world, what we give our attention to,” Salerno said.
Despite forgoing radiation and chemotherapy treatment in hopes of a better quality of life, Salerno is in her 80s and miraculously living out her senior years cancer-free. She is now in three research programs with doctors to determine how she beat the odds.