Total Hip Replacements Early Limitations

By Katie Trumble DPT/ATC

Early Limitations following total hip replacement surgery

JOI Hip Pain

Film x-ray normal pelvis and arthritis both hip

A total hip replacement (THR) is a major surgical procedure performed to relieve individuals suffering in pain due to arthritic changes in the hip. With this surgery there are specific post- operative precautions to help prevent complications and allow for optimal recovery. The two most common surgical techniques for a THR are the anterior approach and the posterior approach, and with these two different surgeries there are different precautions.
The posterior approach is a technique that is performed through the back of the hip with the precautions being:

  • No hip flexion past 90° – no bending forward to tie your shoes or sitting on a low chair height
  • No crossing the leg past mid-line – no crossing your legs or laying on the opposite side
  • No turning the toes inward past mid-line – no turning towards the same side when walking

The anterior approach is a technique that is performed through the front of the hip with the precautions being:

  • No extending your leg past neutral – no stepping down stairs with the opposite leg and limitations with sleeping on your stomach
  • No turning your toes out excessively – no turning to the opposite side when walking and being careful with sleeping positions
  • No crossing the leg past mid-line –no crossing your legs or laying on the opposite side

With both of these techniques, the precautions are in place to keep the hip from dislocating following surgery. Typical functional limitations for both surgical types are as follows:

  • No driving for 2-4 weeks
  • No dancing for 4-6 weeks
  • No golfing for 6-12 weeks
  • Off work for approximately3-6 weeks
  • Using an elevated toilet chair/sitting on elevated surfaces for up to 3 months

As with all surgeries, return to daily activities is dependent upon tissue healing time, restoration of functional strength and mobility. Often time participation in a formal physical therapy program can ensure that you recover in a safe and efficient time frame. For further discussion on hip replacement recovery call JOI-2000


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