Joint Replacement Recovery

When you leave the Olmsted Medical Center (OMC) Joint Replacement Center, your care team will give you instructions on how to heal safely and comfortably at home.

Sleep Well After Surgery

Right after surgery, sleep on your back. Follow your doctor's recommendations to prevent injury.

After Knee Surgery

If you had knee surgery, don't put pillows under the back of your knee to help your knee to stay bent. Try to rest, whether sleeping or just sitting throughout the day, with your knee straight as much as possible.

You’ll be able to try sleeping on your side shortly after surgery. It may help to have a pillow between your knees, as the inside of your knee may be tender when it touches your other leg. Your therapist and your doctor will help you determine when you’re ready to try sleeping on your side.

After Hip Surgery

When you sleep on your back, keep your toes pointed upward. Try not to twist or bend your leg in a way that could pop the hip out of its socket. 

Unless you’re told not to, you can sleep on your non-operative side as long as you line two pillows between your legs. Sleep with the pillow between your legs for at least six weeks. Follow these guidelines:

  • Avoid lying on your affected side for at least six weeks.
  • Avoid turning or twisting your leg inward.
  • Don't bring your knee up toward your stomach past a 90-degree angle.
  • Don’t sleep on your stomach unless approved by your orthopedic surgeon.
  • Don’t twist or point your toes inward or downward at any time.
  • Never cross your ankles when sleeping on your back.
  • Never lean forward from lying down to adjust your covers or for any other reason.
  • Never turn your toes inward no matter which way you choose to sleep.
  • Place pillows between your legs and make sure one supports your foot. This will keep you from dangling and twisting your foot and putting pressure on your hip.

When Can I Take a Shower?

Your surgeon will usually let you shower starting the day after surgery. When you return home, you may need special equipment, like a bath mat, hand-held showerhead, or shower seat. Don't soak your incision in water for six weeks after your surgery.

When Can I Drive Again?

Don't drive a car or other motor vehicle until your surgeon says it's okay to do so. Don't drive while taking pain medications. In most cases, patients are able to start driving again between four and six weeks after surgery.

How Long Will My New Joint Last?

Your new artificial joint will last 10 years at a minimum. But it may last up to 20 or more years because of new technology. It depends on your age, weight, and activity level.

Your artificial joint will be more likely to last longer if you're at a healthy weight and if you avoid certain high-impact activities like running and jumping.