This information will help you learn how to care for yourself after your surgery and once you get back home.
When sitting on a chair:
- Choose a sturdy chair with a firm seat and armrests.
- You can raise the seat height by adding a firm cushion.
- Don’t sit on low or soft chairs and couches.
- Don’t use chairs that have wheels or that rock or swivel.
When sitting on a toilet:
- You may need a raised toilet seat and toilet armrests.
- Make sure the toilet paper is within easy reach before you sit down.
To sit on a chair or toilet:
- Back up until you feel the chair or toilet touch the back of your legs.
- Move your leg that had the surgery slightly forward (so you're not bending your leg too much).
- Bend both knees and lower yourself slowly onto the chair or toilet. Use the armrests, countertop, or sink for support.
When you’re done sitting on a chair or toilet, follow steps 3, 2, and 1 above (in this order) to stand back up. Don’t use your walker to raise yourself. Always push up with your hands to get up from where you’re seated.
You may find it hard to get into bed on the same side as you usually do.
For your comfort:
- Make sure the top of the bed is above your knees.
- Stay away from low beds, very high beds, and soft mattresses.
- Don’t reach forward to pull up the covers. Use a reacher instead.
- When you’re lying on your side, support your leg that had surgery with a pillow between your legs.
- Use 1 or 2 pillows to keep your legs apart when lying in bed, if this helps make you more comfortable.
To get into bed:
- Back up until you feel the bed behind your knees. Move your leg that had surgery slightly forward.
- Hold onto the crutches with one hand. Reach behind with your other hand to find the top of the bed. If you’re using a walker, reach for the bed with both hands.
- Sit and slide your backside (buttocks) onto the bed.
- While sitting, shift your body as you lift your legs onto the bed. You can support the leg that had surgery with your other leg or a leg strap to help lift your leg onto the bed. Keep your legs apart and don’t twist.
- Use a pillow to keep your legs apart when lying on your back (as needed).
When you’re ready to get out of bed, follow steps 4, 3, 2, and 1 above (in this order).
You can use equipment to help you get dressed, such as a reacher, long-handled shoehorn, dressing stick, or a sock aid. You may also find it helps to:
- Choose loose-fitting clothing, including socks.
- Wear low-heeled shoes with elastic laces.
- Dress your leg that had surgery first and undress it last.
It’s important to make your shower and tub safe for you to use. You may find it helpful to have someone help you with bathing and reaching the faucet until you can do this safely on your own.
You likely won’t be able to sit at the bottom of a bathtub to bathe for about 3 months. You should bathe from a sitting position at the sink, in the tub, or in a walk-in shower using a chair for the first 3 months.
The following tips will help keep you safe when you bathe:
- Put a wooden chair or sturdy stool in the bathroom so you can sit when you dry yourself.
- Put a non-slip mat in the bathtub.
- Use a rubber-backed bathroom mat.
- Remove any scatter rugs from the bathroom.
- If you have a tub with a shower door, take off the door and put up a shower curtain instead.
You may find it’s easier to bathe if you use:
- a long-handled bath sponge
- a hand-held shower head
- soap on a rope
Getting into a bathtub
- Stand in front of the tub. Turn, then back up slightly with your walking aid so that you can feel the tub against the back of your legs. Hold onto the tub rail for support. With your other hand, reach back for the bath seat.
- Move your leg that had surgery slightly forward. Slowly sit down on the bath seat.
- Turn so you’re facing the faucet. Lift your legs one at a time up and over the side of the tub.
Start at step 3 and work your way back to step 1 to get out of the tub.
It’s best if you have a grab bar to hold on to as you get into the shower. If you don’t have a grab bar, hold on to your walker or have someone help you get into the shower and keep your walker steady.
To get into the shower:
- Walk to the edge of the shower. Turn away from the shower stall.
- Hold onto the middle of the horizontal bar on your walker with 1 hand. Use the other hand to reach for the back of the chair in your shower.
- Move your leg that had surgery forward.
- Slowly sit on the chair.
- Lift your legs over the edge of the shower stall, then turn to sit facing the faucet.
Start at the last step and work your way back to step 1 to get out of the shower.
If you’re steady on your feet and don’t have enough room in your shower for a chair, you can stand in the shower. Install grab bars and use a rubber-backed bathroom mat to prevent you from slipping.
Talk to your surgeon or case manager before you take antibiotics (to prevent an infection) before you have any dental work.