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Having a hip replacement

Getting around

This information will help you learn how to safely get around in a car when it’s safe to drive and travel.

Getting in and out of a car

Your therapist will tell you how to get in and out of your car safely based on the type of car you have or are travelling in. Try not to travel in small cars, use low bucket seats, or travel in vehicles that are high off the ground and hard to get into (like some trucks).

You may find it’s easier to get in and out of a vehicle if you:

  • sit in the front seat
  • get into a vehicle that’s parked about 1 metre (3 feet) away from the curb
  • have the passenger seat back as far as it will go
  • put a large plastic bag on the seat to help you slide in and out of the car
  • use a pillow on the seat to make it higher (if needed)

To get into a car:

  1. Back up slowly and carefully with your crutches or walker until you feel the edge of the car against the back of your legs.
  2. Hold the back of the seat and the car frame for support. Slide your leg that had the surgery slightly forward. Bend both of your knees and lower yourself onto the seat. Watch you don’t hit your head when you get in.
  3. Shift your body toward the middle of the car. Turn to face forward while lifting your legs one at a time into the car.

Follow steps 3, 2, and 1 (in this order) to get out of the car.

Driving

Your surgeon will tell you when it’s safe to start driving again. Most people can start to drive again 6 weeks after surgery.

To drive safely, your strength and reflexes need to be as good as they were before your hip surgery. If you’re in an accident, your insurance may not cover you if it’s not safe for you to drive.

Your healthcare team will give you information about transportation services to help you get around in your area (if you don’t have someone to take you places you need to go).

Travel

It’s best to wait 3 months after your surgery before you travel a long way by air or by car. This is because sitting for long amounts of time (like when you travel) can put you at a higher risk of blood clots.

When you travel by air, your new hip may set off the metal detectors at the airport. Before you go through the security check, tell the security agent you had a hip replacement and have metal parts in your hip.

Talk to your case manager or surgeon about any travel that you may need to do in the first 3 months after surgery.

Going back to work

When you go back to work depends on how well and how quickly you heal after surgery. It also depends on the kind of work you do.

Your surgeon will tell you when you can go back to work.​

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