Important points to remember the first few weeks after surgery

Your first few weeks

For the most successful recovery – and the fastest return to normal everyday life – there are some important dos and don’ts for your first few weeks after surgery. Check with your surgeon how long you should follow these precautions.

Two weeks after surgery your activity level will be limited, but you should be able to start to resume the normal activities of daily living. Following joint replacement, it’s important to:

  • Follow your surgeon’s advice on caring for yourself after surgery.
  • Continue your rehabilitation program, day to day activity and walking, but remember not to overdo it and take time to rest.
  • Learn about any movements that you need to be mindful of during the months following joint replacement.

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DO’s

Two weeks after surgery your activity level will be limited, but you should be able to start to resume the normal activities of daily living.  Following joint replacement, it’s important to:

  • Continue your rehabilitation program, day to day activity and walking, but remember not to overdo it and take time to rest. 
  • Care for your wound and avoid getting it wet until your surgeon advises you can. 
  • Look out for any potential complications as you recover and contact your hospital or surgeon with any concerns. Find out more (link to risks and complications).
  • Learn about the movements such as bending that you should avoid during the months following joint replacement.  
  • Expect to use a cane or walker for several weeks.
  • Don’t drive until your doctor says it’s okay – usually four to six weeks, but sometimes longer. 

DON’Ts

Precautions following hip replacement 

There are some movements that you should avoid for approximately 3 months following hip replacement. Check with your surgeon how long you should follow these precautions.

  • Don’t bend forward or lift your knee. Keep the bend at your hip greater than 90 degrees (a right angle). Use long handled aids to dress and pick objects up. Ensure you sit in an appropriate height chair with armrests and use an over toilet frame.
  • Don’t cross your legs or feet when sitting, lying or standing. Stand with your feet slightly apart. Ensure you sit and lie with your legs and feet uncrossed.
  • Don’t twist your body or your operated leg. Take small steps when turning. When sitting, reach with the arm closest to the object you need.

Watch a short video on precautions following hip replacement

Precautions following knee replacement 

There are a few movements that you may be encouraged to avoid in the first few months following knee replacement. Check with your surgeon for their recommendation, and how long you should follow these precautions

For more detailed information, and for tips and hints on settling in at home, ask your surgeon to give you a login to Strykercare Patient Resources.

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Next Steps

Contact your GP or health professional to discuss your options