How to Sit after Hip Replacement Surgery

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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! One thing I get asked about often is 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 greater than a 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, as well as how the right seating can protect you from having low back pain.

hip replacement x-ray

After hip surgery, you need to make sure that your seating positions aren’t too strenuous and damaging. You don’t want your new hip joint to move out of place!

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.

You can avoid sitting problems of your hip joint. Your doctor may vary these recommendations depending on what type of surgery is done and how well it will heal afterwards. Make sure to coordinate this information with them, but you should consider the following points:

Bedrest of hip replacement surgery. You can usually sit all day in a chair after about one week of bed rest. It depends on the individual patient and his or her medical condition and needs how long they will recover after surgery. The legs should not be left hanging for long periods because this can cause swelling in them. If you suffer from swelling in your legs, compression stockings are likely to be required. 

Do not bend after hip replacement. You should not bend your hip any more than the right angle (90°) while you are sitting. In other words, it is the angle between the trunk and the thigh. The risk of joint dislocation increases if the thighs are bent beyond this limit.

Refrain from using a sofa.  Your pelvis will be lower than your knees level on sofas, especially those with low seats. In this position, a considerable amount of force is applied to the artificial joint, increasing the chance of it dislocating. You should choose a chair with two arms and a firm seat and back.

Sitting at the toilet.  You should always use raised toilet seats after hip replacement surgery. If you use a toilet seat, your knees should be level with your pelvis, not higher.

raised toilet seat for hip replacement patients

The correct way to use a chair after hip replacement surgery.  A raised-seat chair will likely be more comfortable for you after undergoing hip replacement surgery. In the sitting position, the knees should be lower than the pelvis.

How to Sit Properly After Hip Replacement Surgery

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 you can while your feet should remain flat on the ground. 

Forward Seat Tilt. You may reduce your buttocks pain by using a chair with a slight forward tilt. Tilting the chair in front of you, will relieve strain on your spine and make sure that blood flow is never cut off to both legs while sitting for long periods when seated. Plus if you use an ergonomic posture when seated, this seat also helps keep strained muscles from getting worse throughout the day!

 Ideal Seat Pan Depth.  Based on my clinical experience, I have found that adjusting the seat pan depth on an ergonomic chair is one of the most beneficial adjustments for helping you avoid problems after a hip replacement surgery. The surface area plays a key role in providing comfort. In other words, the more surface area that you are sitting on, the fewer 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 right seating depth: Place your backrest firmly against your back. Your knees and seat edge should be separated by three to five centimetres.

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

lumbar support SI joint pain

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

Since the differences in people’s preferences for lumbar support are unlikely to be great, it does not matter what resistance the lumbar support provides. Various designs of lumbar supports are 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.

Choosing the Best Seat Cushion After Hip Replacement Surgery

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. Several reasons account for this:

 Seat Cushion Made of Memory Foam for Hip Replacement Surgery

wrong memory foam for hip replacement

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

  • Response time is too slow.  The use of 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 as a result of 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. In memory foams, you’ll find PVC, antimony trioxide, polyurethane, and formaldehyde.
  • 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 they 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.

There is no liquid gel that flows like a slab of gel and no product that 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

Natural latex was determined to be the best seating material after comparing different materials. The reasons are as follows:

  • A Natural Latex Mattress is Better for Spinal Alignment.  Keeping your heavier parts in latex while leaving your lighter parts in alignment will keep your lower body in line. Latex cushions increase blood circulation by evenly distributing pressure across your muscles and ligaments.  
  • Relieve pressure. Further, natural latex can improve spinal alignment and reduce pressure points.
  • Resilient.  In contrast to synthetic seat cushions, natural latex cushion deflects your weight and prevents sinking after some time. That’s what makes natural latex so important for you after a hip replacement surgery.
  • Customizable.  Natural latex has allowed me to create so many custom products, so I am very interested in fields such as ergonomics and chiropractic. 
  • We use it because it’s non-toxic/eco-friendly.  Contrary to memory foam, natural latex seats consist of natural materials and are chemical-free. 
  • Good air circulation.  Latex foam is more comfortable than most traditional memory foams that are derived from petroleum.
  • It is anti-microbial.  Because latex is naturally resistant to bacteria, mould, and dust mites, it prevents them from growing. Additionally, the device maintains a healthy work environment since it is antibacterial and antifungal. 

The Correct Way to Sleep after Hip Replacement Surgery

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

Back sleepers.  Make sure that 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, and at least two months afterwards, you should be very careful about sleeping. In the first month following surgery, you should avoid sleeping on your affected side, as this can cause the dislocation of any joints in that area, which could become permanent or worsen over time. Ensure that you sleep with a pillow between your knees so they are both stabilized, but ensure that the pillow does not move during the night. Whenever you lie on your back, the upper knee tends to move toward the pillow slowly. A condition like this can cause joint dislocations and can be very dangerous. Because of this, it should be prevented as much as possible.

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 moulds to the body, distributing weight evenly. Moreover, they are resilient, which means they offer excellent spinal support. Natural latex mattresses are extremely comfortable because of these properties.

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

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
  • Make sure the front passenger car seat is fully retracted before you enter 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 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, make sure you do so slowly. Slowly move each leg into the car. Make sure your toes are facing upwards.  
  • Place both hands on top of either armrest while you’re sitting in 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. One thing I get asked about often is how patients should sit down after surgery because doctors recommend different things for sitting depending on which type of hip replacement you had. For the most useful guidance of ergonomic information visit our blog, or check out some helpful tips in this post below!

 

 

**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.
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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