Tips for Sleeping Better After Hip Surgery
More than 300,000 hip replacement surgeries are performed each year in the United States, according to the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. As surgical techniques and technology continue to improve, this figure is expected to increase even more in the coming years.
Nearly every patient who undergoes hip replacement surgery has questions about how to sleep afterward. It is not uncommon for patients to have difficulty sleeping after their surgical procedures. I want to make sure my patients get the best sleep possible in the weeks following hip replacement surgery, not just for their own comfort, but also because adequate sleep is necessary for optimal healing and recovery.
Make sure to stick closely to the pain management plan that your surgeon laid out prior to your procedure. Appropriate pain medications can help minimize the discomfort that makes sleeping difficult following surgery. However, you should always make sure to follow your surgeon’s prescribed plan carefully.
I recommend establishing new sleeping arrangements before the day of your surgery. In-home sleeping areas should not be more than a short distance away from the “recovery zone,” which is where you will be spending your waking hours. If you normally sleep upstairs, you may want to consider arranging a temporary place to sleep downstairs until you are able to comfortably navigate stairs again.
My best advice is to give it time and be patient. The hardest time to sleep after hip surgery will be in the first four to six weeks. Sleeping becomes much easier as you continue through the recovery process.
One thing I do not recommend after hip replacement surgery is sitting or laying with your legs crossed. Sitting with your legs crossed increases the risk of dislocation after hip surgery, and it should be avoided. The height of the hip joint should be higher than the height of the knee joint whenever you are in a seated position.
I also want my patients to avoid “positions of danger” in the weeks following surgery. The most common scenarios when patients would be in these positions is when rising from a bed or chair, or when bending down to the floor, possibly to pick up something that’s been knocked off a bedside table. If your surgeon used a posterior approach during your surgery, then you should avoid bending your hip past 90 degrees, bringing your leg inward, or internally rotating your hip.
Your surgeon can tell you when it is safe to sleep on your affected side. Usually, we recommend waiting at least six weeks before sleeping on your operative side.
Dr. Troy Miles is an orthopaedic joint replacement specialist in Redding, California. He has advanced training in a variety of approaches to joint replacement, including direct anterior hip replacement and minimally invasive techniques. These techniques allow him to minimize pain post-surgery, and perform some joint replacement procedures in an outpatient setting. Dr. Miles is committed to providing the highest level of orthopaedic care to his patients. For all appointments and inquiries, please call (530) 246-2467.