How To Sit After Hip Replacement Surgery | Doctor’s Sitting Guide

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How to Sit after Hip Replacement Surgery

Having a hip replacement is one of the most common surgeries. They’re usually pretty easy cases if everything goes as planned, but there’s always a risk following any operation – don’t take anything lightly when surgery day comes around! I often get asked about how patients should sit down after surgery because doctors recommend different things for sitting depending on which type of hip replacement you had.

As a general rule, if you had hip replacement surgery, make sure you have strong armrests and that your seat is firm, and make sure your hips are higher than your knees and adjusted to a more significant 90-degree angle. Follow your doctor’s or therapist’s weight-bearing instructions.

Having treated postsurgical patients who had hip replacements for thirty years, I’d like to help you learn how to avoid potential pain or dislocation while sitting and how the right seating can protect you from low back pain.  I’m also a trained ergonomist and have published a book on posture; I also have a 10K+ subscriber YouTube Channel on posture, so I know a thing or two about maintaining healthy alignment. Not to mention, I successfully launched a Kickstarter campaign for a posture-correcting device. In short, I’m confident that I can provide you with some helpful advice and tips. Keep reading to learn more!

hip replacement x-ray

It is important to be mindful of your seating positions after surgery on your hip. To avoid any potential issues, it may be helpful to consult with your doctor for specific guidance and recommendations based on the type of surgery you had and your recovery. It is important to be aware of any potential movements or positioning that may cause discomfort or potential complications.

Dislocation of the hip artificial joint occurs because the joint is positioned awkwardly. Most artificial joint dislocations are caused by an excessive thigh bend or medial rotation.

Your doctor may vary these recommendations depending on what type of surgery is done and how well it will heal afterward. Make sure to coordinate this information with them:

Bedrest of hip replacement surgery. It may be possible to return to sitting for extended periods after a period of rest, however, the length of time required for recovery can vary depending on the individual and their specific situation. It is important to be aware of any potential issues or complications that may arise and to consult with your doctor for guidance. Additionally, it is important to be mindful of the position of your legs during this time to avoid discomfort or swelling.

Avoid certain movements.  After a hip replacement, it is important to be mindful of certain movements and positions that may cause discomfort or potential complications. It is important to consult with your doctor for guidance on what movements to avoid and what positions are safe. In particular, it is important to be aware of the angle at which you are sitting, as certain positions may increase the risk of joint dislocation.

Refrain from certain types of seating.  After hip surgery, it may be helpful to be mindful of the type of seating you are using. Certain types of seating may increase the risk of discomfort or potential complications. It is important to consult with your doctor for guidance on what type of seating is safe and what to avoid. Additionally, it is important to be mindful of the position of your body while sitting, as certain positions may increase the risk of discomfort or potential complications.

Sitting at the toilet. It is generally recommended to use a raised toilet seat after hip replacement surgery. Additionally, when using a toilet seat, it is important to ensure that the knees are at the same level as the pelvis.

raised toilet seat for hip replacement patientsIt may be more comfortable to use a raised-seat chair after surgery. When sitting, it is generally recommended to keep the knees lower than the hips.

When Can You Sit on a Normal Chair After Hip Replacement

It is essential to wait until your body has healed before sitting in a chair after hip replacement surgery.

As a general rule, there is a general guideline that after hip surgery, one can sit on a standard chair after a certain period of time. The specific timing will vary depending on the surgery and it is best to consult with your doctor for personalized instructions.

It is generally recommended that you avoid sitting for long periods during the healing process. This helps to prevent blood clots and other complications. If you need to sit for an extended period, take frequent breaks and move around as much as possible.

Once your doctor gives you the green light, you can slowly start incorporating sitting into your daily routine. Start with short periods and gradually increase the time you spend sitting each day. With time and patience, you will eventually be able to sit in a chair just like before your surgery.

Best Sitting Position After Hip Replacement

Ensure that you are seated correctly. For maximum comfort, adjust your seat height, depth, forward light, and lumbar support. Here are four things to consider about your chair after hip replacement surgery:

Seat Height. You should choose a seat height that is comfortable for you. Your chair should be at the highest level while your feet remain flat on the ground. 

Forward Seat Tilt. It may be beneficial to use a chair with a slight forward tilt to reduce pain in your backside. This can help alleviate stress on the spine and promote blood flow to both legs while sitting for extended periods. Additionally, maintaining a good posture while seated can also help prevent muscle strain throughout the day.

If you are into super easy and inexpensive alternatives to office chairs, I wrote a fantastic article on how and why you should consider these options for back pain, and I encourage you to read it!

 Ideal Seat Pan Depth.  From my experience, I have found that adjusting the depth of the seat on an ergonomic chair can be beneficial for comfort. The surface area of the seat plays a key role in providing comfort, having more surface area can reduce pressure points.

  • Short seat depths may aggravate SI joint pain. If you sit for too long, your legs and feet will not receive sufficient blood flow.
  • How to get the correct seating depth: Place your backrest firmly against your back. Your knees and seat edge should be separated by three to five centimeters.

Lumbar Support. The lumbar support should be placed around the middle of the lower back (lumbar), depending on the width of your backrest. 

lumbar support SI joint pain

Improperly fit lumbar support can exacerbate the curve in the spine (lordosis) if it is placed too high. Sciatica or Back pain may result from inadequate lumbar support since the spine can be overloaded. 

I’ve written a complete hands-on review about the best sitting position for sciatica, and here is what I tested best with my sciatica patients.

People may have differing opinions on how supportive lumbar support should be, but regardless, there is a wide variety of lumbar support available.  You can use a towel rolled up or a small cushion in place of lumbar support. Here’s an opportunity to put your creativity to good use.

Best Seat Cushion Following Hip Replacement Surgery For Recovery

seat wedge for hip replacement surgery

The types of cushions I do not recommend will be discussed first. Foams include memory foam, polyurethane foam, and gel foam. I will highlight the problems that I found in the various types of cushions in the next few paragraphs below:

 Seat Cushion Made of Memory Foam for Hip Replacement Surgery

wrong memory foam for hip replacement

I’ve written a complete hands-on review about memory foam, and here are some of the shocking issues I ran into in this post!

Several factors make memory foam an inappropriate choice for seating cushions after hip replacement:

  • Response time is too slow.  Responsive cushions will reduce the pain in and around your hips. Foam has characteristics such as response time and responsiveness. Memory foam is ineffective for hip region pain due to its inherent inflexibility.
  • Heat-retaining. Memory foam retains heat, so those who sit on it may feel uncomfortable. You don’t need this after hip replacement surgery!
  • Chemicals!  The chemical polyurethane is made from crude oil after it has been refined. You’ll find PVC, antimony trioxide, polyurethane, and formaldehyde in memory foam.
  • Overuse of fire retardants.

Seat Cushion Made of Gel Foam for Hip Replacement Surgery

memory foam seat cushion with gel cooling cushion

Gel Cushions.  Polymer cushions are flat or contoured and can be made from polymer or foam. They won’t be damaged if their plastic container ruptures since they do not flow like liquid gels.

No liquid gel flows like a slab of gel and no product absorbs shocks or reduces pressure like the slabs currently on the market.

gel seat cushion with red cross on top of it

Our patients tested hundreds of gel cushions, but these Gel cushions did not provide as much comfort or pressure point relief that we expected. Gel cushions shaped like honeycombs did not seem to be comfortable for many of our patients. 

Seat Cushion Made of Natural Latex Foam for Hip Replacement Surgery

correct latex seat cushion

After comparing different materials, natural latex was determined to be a suitable seating material for certain preferences. The reasons for this may include:

  • Its ability to provide consistent support and distribute pressure evenly
  • Natural latex has incredible durability and resilience
  • Fantastic potential for customization.
  • Natural latex is made from natural materials and may be considered non-toxic and eco-friendly
  • Provides good air circulation.
  • It is resistant to bacteria, mold, and dust mites.

Seat Cushion to Use After a Hip Replacement Surgery

Many seat cushions are not designed to make you comfortable or healthy. Engaging your core muscles after surgery is essential, so choosing the right seat cushion can make a huge difference in your life. 

I’ve written a complete hands-on review of why memory foam seat cushions don’t work, and here are some of the shocking issues I ran into in this post!

before and after seat wedge

It’s no secret that sitting for long periods is terrible for your health, especially after hip replacement surgery! Studies have shown that too much time spent sitting can lead to various problems, including back pain, weight gain, and an increased risk of early death. However, a simple solution can help offset the adverse effects of sitting: using a seat cushion.

Ergonomic seat cushions are designed to provide support and comfort while sitting. They may help to distribute pressure evenly and promote good posture. If you’re looking for a seat cushion, one option is a design made of high-density natural latex foam with a contoured design. This cushion is designed to provide support for sitting for extended periods of time.

Also, if you are into inexpensive alternatives to office chairs, I wrote a fascinating article on how and why you should consider these options for weak buttocks muscles. I encourage you to read it!

seat cushion for better posture

I decided to create a seat cushion based on my research and testing it with different materials and designs. After testing, I found that this design provides comfort and support and my users were satisfied with it. The design is ergonomic and intended to provide spinal alignment and support. The end result is a seat cushion that aims to improve posture and provide comfort while sitting.

I’ve written a complete hands-on review about the best sitting position HERE for sciatica, and here is what I tested best with my sciatica patients.

thespinery.com seat cushion

An ergonomic seat cushion can be beneficial in providing support and comfort while sitting. As a result of my experience as a chiropractor, I created a seat cushion that aims to provide support, and comfort and promotes good posture while sitting.

After testing many different prototypes, I found a cushion that met my preferences. The cushion is made of natural latex, which is more supportive than other types of foam. It also has a higher density, which helps to promote good posture while sitting. The cushion is covered with a breathable fabric that helps to keep the user cool and comfortable. The combination of these features makes the cushion suitable for providing support and comfort while sitting.

I explain the concept of my design on a TV show HERE!

 

The Correct Way to Sleep after Hip Replacement Surgery

Following hip replacement surgery, you should consider the following when sleeping:

Back sleepers.  Make sure you keep your thighs slightly apart when sleeping on your back. Place a pillow under your knees if you are on your back. You should continue this practice for six weeks at a minimum. 

Side sleepers. After surgery, it is important to be cautious about sleeping habits. In the first month following surgery, it is recommended to avoid sleeping on the affected side, as it may cause joint displacement. It is recommended to sleep with a pillow between the knees to stabilize them and make sure the pillow does not move during the night. It’s important to prevent any movement that may cause joint displacement.

The best mattress after hip replacement surgery.  Natural latex mattresses are generally highly pressure-relieving and supportive for patients after hip replacement surgery. The natural latex foam molds to the body, distributing weight evenly. Moreover, they are resilient, which means they offer excellent spinal support. Natural latex mattresses are incredibly comfortable because of these properties.

The better the weight distribution, the fewer pressure points form on your body, especially on your hips. You will sleep better and deeper because you won’t feel hip pain overnight.

What Is the Best Way to Get Into a Car After Undergoing Hip Surgery?

Getting into your car:

  • When it’s time to get into the car, use a cane or crutch to support yourself
  • Ensure the front passenger car seat is fully retracted before entering the car.
  • You should park the car on a flat surface or near a curb.  
  • Back up to the passenger seat as you approach the car. Do not enter a car by stepping forward.  
  • Grab the frame of the door or the headrest with one hand. Grasp the car seat or dashboard with the other hand  
  • As you lower yourself to the car seat, ensure you do so slowly. Slowly move each leg into the car. Make sure your toes are facing upward.  
  • Place both hands on top of either armrest while you’re sitting on the seat 

Getting out of your car:

  • Gently swing your legs over and make sure that you are holding onto something for balance before getting out of the car 
  • Use a car ramp if possible so that you don’t have to step down from such a high height
  • If there is no ramp available, use your cane or crutch as leverage when stepping down off of the vehicle’s running board

Takeaway

There are a lot of considerations when you have hip replacement surgery. I often get asked about how patients should sit down after surgery because doctors recommend different things for sitting depending on which type of hip replacement you had.

Hip replacement surgery is a big decision, but if you are sure it is the best option, following your doctor’s post-operative instructions will help ensure a successful recovery. Make sure to have sturdy armrests and a firm seat to make sitting more comfortable, and adjust your chair so that your hips are higher than your knees.

Remember to avoid putting weight on your new hip until your doctor or therapist instructs you. Taking these precautions will help make the healing process go as smoothly as possible.

 

 

 

Sources:

  1. Kalron, A., Tawil, H., Peleg-Shani, S. and Vatine, J.J., 2018. Effect of telerehabilitation on mobility in people after hip surgery: a pilot feasibility study. International Journal of Rehabilitation Research41(3), pp.244-250.
  2. Galea, M.P., Levinger, P., Lythgo, N., Cimoli, C., Weller, R., Tully, E., McMeeken, J. and Westh, R., 2008. A targeted home-and center-based exercise program for people after total hip replacement: a randomized clinical trial. Archives of physical medicine and rehabilitation89(8), pp.1442-1447.
  3. Majewski, M., Bischoff-Ferrari, H.A., Grüneberg, C., Dick, W. and Allum, J.H.J., 2005. Improvements in balance after total hip replacement. The Journal of bone and joint surgery. British volume87(10), pp.1337-1343.
  4. Talis, V.L., Grishin, A.A., Solopova, I.A., Oskanyan, T.L., Belenky, V.E. and Ivanenko, Y.P., 2008. Asymmetric leg loading during sit-to-stand, walking and quiet standing in patients after unilateral total hip replacement surgery. Clinical Biomechanics23(4), pp.424-433.
  5. Majewski, M., Bischoff-Ferrari, H.A., Grüneberg, C., Dick, W. and Allum, J.H.J., 2005. Improvements in balance after total hip replacement. The Journal of bone and joint surgery. British volume87(10), pp.1337-1343.
**As a service to our readers, Axial Chairs provides access to our library of archived content. Please note the date of the last review or update on all articles. No content on this site, regardless of date, should ever be used as a substitute for direct medical advice from your doctor or other qualified clinicians.

Medical Disclaimer: This website is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of a qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.

Product Disclaimer: The seat cushion is designed by a chiropractor, but results may vary and are not guaranteed. The product is not intended to diagnose, treat, or cure any medical condition.

Dr Lawrence Woods DC

Dr Lawrence Woods DC

Founder

My goal is to create the highest quality ergonomic office chairs and accessories for unmatched comfort.

With 30 years of spinal healthcare experience in Ireland as a chiropractor, I learned the value of high-quality sitting for living a happy and healthy life.

I have a Chiropractic Degree from Life Chiropractic College West and I am NBCE Physiotherapy certified.

 

Dr Lawrence Woods

My goal is to create the highest quality ergonomic office chairs and accessories for unmatched comfort. With 30 years of spinal healthcare experience as a chiropractor, I learned the value of high-quality sleep for living a happy and healthy life. I have a Chiropractic Degree from Life Chiropractic College West and am NBCE Physiotherapy certified.

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