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

After hip surgery, you must ensure 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 afterward. 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 their medical condition and how long they will recover after surgery. The legs should not be left hanging for extended periods because this can cause swelling. Compression stockings are likely to be required if you suffer from swelling in your legs. 

Do not bend after hip replacement. You should not bend your hip more than the right angle (90°) while 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 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, a firm seat, and a 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.

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, depending on your surgery, you can sit on a standard chair anywhere from six to twelve weeks after hip replacement. Your doctor will likely give you specific instructions on when you can safely sit in a chair.

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. You may reduce your buttock’s pain by using a slightly forward tilt chair. 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!

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.  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 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 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

An 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.

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.

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. Several reasons account for this:

 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 foams.
  • 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 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

After comparing different materials, natural latex was determined to be the best seating material. 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 makes natural latex so vital for you after a hip replacement surgery.
  • Customizable.  Natural latex has allowed me to create many custom products, so I am very interested in such fields 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 foam derived from petroleum.
  • It is anti-microbial.  Because latex is naturally resistant to bacteria, mold, and dust mites, it prevents them from growing. The device maintains a healthy work environment since it is antibacterial and antifungal. 

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 improve posture and alleviate pressure on the spine, and they can also help to engage the muscles in your butt and thighs. Simply put, using a seat cushion is one of the best ways to counteract the adverse effects of sitting. And if you’re looking for the best seat cushion on the market, consider this (above) design I designed for my patients recovering from hip replacement surgery. It is made with high-density natural latex foam and features a contoured design. This cushion will provide you with the support and comfort you need to sit for hours on end without pain or discomfort.

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

In response to my research, I decided to create my seat cushion and test it out on my patients recovering from surgery or suffering from back pain. After trying different materials and designs, I eventually created a seat cushion that worked like a charm. My patients loved it! The secret to the success of my seat cushion is in the design. I wanted something that could facilitate spinal alignment and provide comfort and support, so I incorporated an ergonomic design. The result is a seat cushion that helps to relieve back pain and improve posture.

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 essential in engaging your buttocks muscles and relieving back pain. While working as a chiropractor, I saw many patients struggling with back pain after hip replacement surgery. I decided to create a seat cushion that would provide support and comfort while also helping to keep the spine aligned.

After testing many different prototypes, I finally found a cushion that met all of my requirements. The cushion is made of natural latex, which is more supportive than memory foam or polyurethane foams. It also has a higher density, which helps the spine remain aligned. The cushion is covered with a breathable fabric that helps to keep you cool and comfortable. The combination of these features makes the cushion ideal for relieving back pain and preventing further injury.

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, and at least two months afterward, 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. The upper knee tends to move toward the pillow slowly when you lie on your back. 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 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 upwards.  
  • 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.
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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