In order to prevent the chance of a hip replacement dislocation, certain positions should be avoided. These positions place the implant in a position where dislocation is more likely. These restrictions are known as "hip precautions."
What positions should be avoided?
- Crossing your legs
You should not cross your legs after hip replacement surgery. When putting on socks and shoes, you should not cross your legs to bring your foot towards your body. Your therapist will instruct you on how to safely get dressed. You should not sleep on your side until instructed by your surgeon. Some surgeons may have you sleep with a pillow between your legs to prevent them from crossing.
- Forward bending
It is important not to bend your hip up more than 90 degrees. In general, if your knee is below your hip joint, you are in a safe position. Problems occur with deep cushioned seats or low seats (such as toilets).
What is the problem with these positions?As mentioned above, a hip replacement implant is not as stable as a normal hip joint. If a dislocation of the hip replacement occurs, the hip implant must be put back in place. This can usually be done in the emergency room, but may require additional surgery. Furthermore, hip replacement dislocations can damage the implant and decrease the chances of success after hip replacement surgery.
Soong M, et al. "Dislocation After Total Hip Arthroplasty" J. Am. Acad. Ortho. Surg., September/October 2004; 12: 314 - 321.