When can I return to activities like showering or driving a car?

  • Showering: As soon as the wound has no more drainage (generally 3-5 days after surgery)
  • Tub bath or Jacuzzi: At 4 weeks if wound is completely dry and healed with absolutely no opening. (Be careful getting in and out of the tub so as not to violate the dislocation precaution.)
  • Leaving the House: It is perfectly acceptable to leave your house for short walks, or to go on short outings (dinner, visiting neighbors) as soon as you feel comfortable. Remember, your comfort should dictate your activity level. If your hip swells and is uncomfortable after activities, you have probably overdone it. Be patient, you will be comfortable doing more and more each week.
  • Driving: Left hip-approximately 1-2 weeks; right hip-approximately 2-4 weeks. Be sure that you feel comfortable driving and that you are safe. Go out with a friend or spouse the first time, and drive only short distances initially. If you both agree that you are safe, you may continue driving. Be sure to observe the dislocation precautions when getting in and out of the car.
  • Putting shoe and sock on without assist device: As soon as your hip mobility allows (in the figure-4 position or with knee rolled outward)
  • Traveling: You can begin taking trips, either by car or airplane, as early as 2 weeks post-operatively, although waiting 6 weeks will be more comfortable for you. Move your ankles up and down frequently, and get up to walk around every hour or so to prevent blood clots. For flying, you may want to book a seat in bulkhead so that you have more legroom.
  • Airport Security: Most total hip replacements will set off the metal detectors at airports, courthouses, etc. Although we used to give everyone ID cards to show security personnel that you have had a hip replacement, it now makes little difference whether you carry a card or not. Simply inform the security personnel that you have an artificial hip joint, and let them run the metal detector over your hip. That is all that is usually required to pass the security checkpoint. However, you may want to allow yourself an additional 5-10 minutes travel time for this screening.
  • Sexual relations: In general, common sense must be utilized when resuming sexual relations. Some form of sexual intimacy can be resumed as early as a week after surgery. However, your comfort is of highest importance. Do not do anything that causes discomfort to the hip or that puts the hip in a position where it could dislocate. At 6 weeks post-op, a normal sexual life may be resumed, always keeping the dislocation precaution in mind.
  • Early post-op sexual positions

  • Returning to work: Most patients return to work 3-5 weeks after surgery. Patients with sedentary (sitting) jobs can often return to work at least part-time within 1-2 weeks. Those with more active, standing, or manual labor jobs may require 3-4 weeks. You may be required to make some modifications to your job description if your job requires prolonged standing, walking, climbing, or repeated heavy lifting throughout the day. Dr. Swanson’s Physician’s Assistant will assist you with the paperwork to supply to your employer outlining the appropriate return to work date and any required job modifications.
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