When you leave the hospital, your recovery period has just begun. The success of your surgery hinges on how well you follow your surgeon's instructions during the first few weeks after surgery.

Exercise and Activity
Once you get home, you are not expected to stay in bed. Rest when you need to, but move about frequently with your cane or crutches, gradually increasing your activity level. Practice walking every day, first around your home and later taking strolls outside. Some discomfort with activity is common for several weeks, but activity will help your body heal and help you feel better. You should be able to resume most light activities within three to six weeks after surgery.

Your physical therapist will teach you exercises to perform several times a day for several months. It's important to follow this exercise program diligently to get the most benefit from your surgery. Following your exercise program will help your muscles regain mobility and strength, allowing you to walk normally again.

Self Care

Good nutrition is important after surgery to help your tissues heal and your muscles regain strength. Eat a balanced diet, take any vitamin or iron supplements your doctor recommends, and be sure to drink plenty of fluids.

Your incision should be kept clean and dry. About two weeks after surgery, you'll need to see your orthopedist to have the wound inspected and the stitches or staples removed. You should return to your orthopedist again at four to six weeks after surgery for x-rays and to discuss which activities you are physically ready to assume.
Call your surgeon if:
  • The wound becomes unusually red or hot
  • There is an opening or drainage from the wound
  • Your hip or knee pain is not relieved by rest, ice and elevation
  • You have unusual pain, swelling or redness in your calf
  • You develop a fever over 101 degrees F
  • You develop chest pain or trouble breathing
Precautions to Take
You'll need to carefully protect your new joint by sitting and moving the way your are taught in the hospital. Certain movements put too much stress on your new joint and should be avoided during the first weeks after surgery. Follow your doctor's instructions carefully.

Take extra precautions to avoid falls during your recovery, because a fall in the first few weeks could damage your new joint. Be particularly careful on stairs while you are still weak. Always use a cane, crutches, walker, handrails or someone to help you until you are stronger.