How Long After Hip Replacement Can I Mow the Lawn? —
Getting back to doing yard work including cutting grass is a goal of many after hip replacement surgery. Hopefully you understand there will be a break from mowing your lawn after surgery but how long you might ask?
If you are using a push lawn mower, you can return to cutting grass on a modified level around 8 weeks after surgery. Those using a riding mower also need to wait at least 6-8 weeks to comfortably return to cutting grass while riding.
These timeframes are set to allow proper healing of the new hip joint into your femur bone. You also need to regain additional strength and balance to safely cut grass with any slope or unsteady ground.
Don’t Forget: In this 6-8 week timeframe you are still under hip precautions. When you are starting the mower, you cannot bend forward at the waist > 90 degrees. Do not twist or pivot on your new hip either.
I would suggest if you do not already have a self propelled mower and still use a full push model to purchase one. The days of being able to use your legs to help propel a lawn mower should be long gone at this point.
Below are some 6 things to consider if you are planning to return to cutting grass after your hip replacement:
1. Size of Your Yard
If you have a small size yard under 1/3 acre then you should have able to comfortably handle the return to lawn mowing. Normally this size of lawn would take anywhere from 60-90 minutes to complete which would be at the top of your tolerance after 6 weeks.
For those with yards greater than 1/3 acre using a self propelled mower, you may need to space out your mowing. Anyone with over 3/4 acre of yard area should consider either taking multiple breaks or possibly purchasing a riding mower for this area of grass.
Your new hip will eventually regain its strength and endurance after ~6 months and you will return you to normal grass cutting.
2. Terrain of Your Yard
If your yard is flat as a pancake then your return to grass cutting after your new hip will be much simpler. Walking on flat ground will be much more tolerated by your new hip replacement.
For those with a hilly or more sloped yard, you first need to consider if you can even return to safe grass cutting. If you are constantly walking uneven hilly terrain for your yard, it might be time to have someone else cut your grass.
If you feel you are able to cut your hilly yard, be extremely careful with your steps. Because of the uneven terrain you will always be at an increased risk of slip and fall. At the early stage of your recovery you cannot afford a fall as it can lead to dislocation.
3. Bagging vs. Mulching
After a hip replacement I would highly suggest in the first year to avoid bagging your grass. Why? There are a couple of reasons.
First off, the weight of the bag as it starts to collect grass will add stress to the turns and general handling of the lawn mower.
Second, when removing a full bag of grass then dumping into a trash bag, the act of doing this usually involves twisting and pivoting. These are motions that should avoided for many months after surgery
Third, you will need to drag all of the heavy bags from the grass once the cutting is completed unless you have someone else do it for you. This is 100% not something you should be attempting within the first 6 months of surgery.
4. Grass Type
Depending on your climate and location, your grass may be easier or more difficult to cut. Grass types vary from region to region and this can affect the difficulty level of your grass cut.
Those in the more damp humid locations tend to have thicker grass making mowing more difficult. Never cut wet grass as this not only makes the grass heavier but also makes the footing under you less steady.
Depending on your grass type, you may want to wear more sturdy shoes when cutting the grass with your new hip. Some of my patients with prior hip replacements mention they wear golf shoes when they cut the grass.
Golf shoes contain spikes on the sole which provide a better grip and steadier footing. This can be especially useful on slopes or hills while cutting your grass.
5. Weather & Climate
As I’ve emphasized before, you cannot afford to fall while cutting your grass. In order to be prevent a fall, only cut your grass in good dry weather conditions.
Do not ever cut grass in the rain or when the grass in wet or damp after your hip replacement. The chances of slipping on wet grass especially if there’s a slope or hill involved is much greater. This is especially the case for you when your hip is not completely healed or strong at this stage of your recovery.
6. Pull Start vs. Push Button Mower
We all have been there trying to start a stubborn lawn mower that takes 10 hard pulls on the starter cord. If you just had your hip replaced and have one of these mowers, think twice about putting that amount of stress on your leg.
Pulling with a planted leg with strong force repeatedly could be too much for your hip to handle in this early stage. If you are using a pull start and notice some fatigue setting in, be smart and lay off of this activity.
Alternative options include having someone else start the mower, getting a new easy start lawn mower or simply avoiding cutting grass altogether.
Final Thoughts on Cutting Grass After Hip Replacement
- Possible Return to Grass Cutting 6-8 Weeks After Your Hip Replacement
- Factors Include Lawn Size, Terrain, Mower Type and Weather Conditions
- Avoid Heavy Lifting Including Bagging Grass During Mowing