Will I Have Lifetime Precautions After Hip Replacement?

Permanent Restrictions After Hip Replacement

You likely understand the hip precautions you will have after your upcoming total hip replacement surgery.  Included in these precautions are don’t cross your legs, don’t bend over 90 degrees at the waist and don’t twist on that leg.

So does this mean you can never ever do these motions again?  You will get varying opinions on what you will be able to do again in the future.  Luckily, most of your early precautions will get lifted again at some point.

extreme yoga pose
Extreme Yoga Pose – Not Allowed

After hip replacement you will have permanent lifetime precautions but they include only specific activities.  You will never be able to position the hip in extreme rotation or bending positions like those in advanced yoga poses.  You will not be able to participate in contact, jumping or plyometric activities including football, basketball, hockey, volleyball and soccer.  Prolonged bending and kneeling should be avoided permanently as well.

Can You Ever Bend Over After Hip Replacement?

As you know initially you will not be allowed to bend at the waist greater than 90 degrees for the first 8-12 weeks after surgery.  This will affect basic activities such as tying your shoes, picking objects off the floor and getting dressed.

If you had an anterior hip replacement approach you will likely be able to bend over at the waist immediately after surgery.  Please check with your surgeon regarding this.

For standard posterior approach surgeries, you will likely be able to freely bend forward at the waist again after 3 months.  To be safe you may want to avoid this motion for an extra 2-3 months and avoid the extreme bending positions like the yoga pose in the picture shown.  Please check with your surgeon on their specific rules.

Will I Ever Be Able to Twist On My Leg After Hip Replacement?

For the first 8-12 weeks after hip replacement you will not be able to twist or pivot on your surgery leg to avoid possible dislocation.  This twisting hip precaution is the most important of all to maintain as twisting places a lot of strain on the new hip.

Luckily you will be able to twist and pivot on your new hip leg after a period of 3 months.  Again, you may want to avoid this motion for an extra month or two just to be safe and make sure your new hip is solidly in place.   Check with your surgeon on this precaution and the rules associated with it.

Can You Ever Cross Your Legs After Hip Replacement?

We all take crossing our legs for granted when we are sitting comfortably. After hip replacement you are not allowed to do so. This will limit the chances of hip dislocation for the first 8-12 weeks.

Good news for you is that crossing your legs is not a lifetime precaution.  You will be allowed to cross your legs once again roughly in the range of 3-4 months after surgery depending on your symptoms.

Crossing your legs involves hip internal rotation which is a movement that is forbidden in the early rehab phase.  I recommend to my patients to continue and avoid these types of motions for quite some time, 4-5 months to be safe.  

Rotational motions of the hip place the new artificial joint in the most vulnerable positions where a dislocation can happen the easiest.  Because of this, I advise extreme caution when attempting to return to these activities.

Can I Ever Sit in My Favorite Old Sofa Again After My Hip Is Replaced?

There’s a difference between can and should when it comes to sitting in a low soft unsupportive sofa after surgery.  Clearly you cannot sit in any low surface for the first few months after getting a new hip.

old man in sofa

Let’s discuss what is best for you in the longer term as far as the proper sitting surfaces for the best outcomes.  I would highly recommend not sitting in that same old sofa that likely caused your hip issues in the first place.

Sure, you might miss that old couch because that’s what you’ve been used to sitting in for many years.  However, you need to be smart in terms of maximizing your future and keeping your new hip in shape.

Bottom line:  Its probably time to get a new sofa with better support and a higher sitting surface for your hip.  Sitting hours and hours in your old beat up sofa is not a good idea and something I would strongly recommend getting rid of.

Can You Kneel After Hip Replacement?

Hip replacements are not designed to be knelt on for prolonged periods of time. You can kneel for short timeframes however this is not a recommended activity.

Final Thoughts on Lifetime Precautions After Hip Replacement

  • Lifetime Precautions Are Only for Jumping and High Impact Activities
  • Activities You Should Never Do Again Include Competitive Basketball, Football, Soccer, Volleyball and Hockey
  • You Can Return to Yoga However Avoid Extreme End-Range Positions Forever

Many people are concerned that once they get their new hip they will no longer be able to do many things.  For the most part you will be able to return to most of those activities with no long term limitations.

If you are expecting to return to the extreme sports such as football, basketball or jumping activities you need to reevaluate your expectations.  Getting a new hip does not mean getting a fresh new leg but rather providing relief in that joint itself.

Don’t forget, the muscles and tissues around your new hip joint are still the same age as you.  You are not finding the fountain of youth and should be realistic in your goals after surgery.

About Jeffrey Roth MPT

Owner and operator of Roth Therapy Services in Pittsburgh, PA focusing on in home rehabilitation physical therapy services.

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