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The following are some ways to incorporate movement after you have had hip replacement and knee surgery. Discuss these techniques with your physicians and orthopedist before attempting them. Your physical therapist may modify some of these techniques depending upon your situation (e.g., age, weight, and procedure). Only do the techniques that are recommended by your physician and/or therapist.
It is very important that you follow your surgeon’s instructions. The following suggestions should be discussed with your surgeon before your hospital discharge:
Once you can stand, you will use a walker to help you keep your balance. Initially you will be told to place only a small amount of weight on your operated leg as you walk. As you become stronger, your doctor will tell you when you can increase the amount of weight placed on your operated leg.
Step 1: Place the walker a few inches in front of you and hold on to the walker firmly with both hands. Keep you hip straight and step your un-operated leg into the center of the walker. To protect your hip, avoid rotating your hip or foot.
Step 2: Lean on the walker and let it support your weight. Step forward and through the walker with your operated leg. Be careful not to wrap your leg around the legs of the walker.
Step 3: Lift your walker straight up (if it doesn’t have wheels). Be sure to place all four of its legs down before stepping forward again.
Once your muscles are strong enough, your physical therapist and/or physician may recommend crutches instead of using a walker. Your therapist will give you guidelines on how far and how long you may walk. When using crutches, put your weight on your palms, not your armpits. Don’t twist to turn; take small steps instead. Your physician and/or therapist will tell you how much weight you can put on your operated leg.
Step 1: With the crutches firmly in place, keep the pressure on your hands, not on your armpits.
Step 2: Move the operated leg and both crutches forward at the same time.
Step 3: Looking up and straight ahead, first step through the crutches with the operated leg, followed by your un-operated leg.
With your crutches upright on the floor and firmly planted for support, lift your un-operated leg and place it on the step. Leaning forward on the crutches, lift yourself up. Use the crutches and your un-operated leg to support your weight. Now lift your operated leg onto the step.
You may want to have someone help you the first few times until you become comfortable with stairs.
Place your crutches and your operated leg on the lower step. Use the crutches for balance and lower yourself carefully down onto the step moving the crutches as you move the operated leg. Again, you may wish to have someone assist you the first few times you try this.
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