After going through total replacement surgery, it can be difficult to move around. Shortly after discharge, but before outpatient physical therapy begins, most patients will be seen by a home health nurse or physical therapist. Their visits with you will focus on making sure the wound heals properly and that you are able to perform essential functions around the home. This can include bathing, getting in and out of bed, and even walking up and down the stairs. In this article, we want to focus on how you can safely get in and out of a chair after surgery.
One of the easiest things you can do is to choose to sit in chairs that are at an appropriate height for you. Your thighs should be parallel to the ground and your hips should NOT be lower than your knees. Avoid low chairs and overstuffed sofas and couches as much as possible. The ultimate goal is to be able to go from sitting to standing, vice-versa with even weight distribution on both legs.
How to sit down in a chair after surgery
- Back up with your walker until you feel the chair with your legs
- Slide your surgical leg forward. Reach back for the arm-rests one hand at a time.
- Lower yourself using your arms and your nonsurgical leg.
- Scoot back into the chair using your arms to assist.
How to get up from a chair after surgery
- Avoid low chairs and chairs without armrests in your immediate post-operative phase.
- Scoot to the edge of the chair keeping your surgical leg in front of you.
- Push up using your arms and nonsurgical leg until you are standing. Do not pull up using the walker.
- Reach out and take hold of your walker.
- Make sure your balance is secure before you take your first step.
Whether you are working to safely get in and out of a chair after surgery, make sure you DO NOT pull up from the walker or sit down holding onto the walker.
The tips above will work in most cases, but not all. It is important to follow the advice and restrictions given to you by your health care provider. In our next post about how to safely manage movement after a hip or knee replacement, we will be covering the proper steps for getting in and out of chairs and the bed. We wish you all the best in recovery. If you are looking for an outpatient physical therapy clinic please stop by the Find a PT page.
More reading on total hip or knee joint replacement recovery: