An orthopedic surgeon provides guidelines to crossing legs after total hip replacement surgery.

For many, crossing the legs is second nature. The tendency to want to do this will be strong even after a cross-legging person undergoes a total hip replacement surgery.

If this is a strong habit for you, and you plan on having a total hip replacement — or have just had one — you’re going to have to give up this habit for a while.

How Long to Refrain from Crossing Legs After a THR

“Some surgeons will limit leg crossing after total hip replacement for six weeks,” says Marc W. Hungerford, MD, Chief of Orthopedics at Mercy Medical Center and Director of Joint Replacement and Reconstruction at Mercy.

Six weeks — yes. That may seem like along time to abandon a habitual seating position. But you really should do this.

Dr. Hungerford explains, “Bringing the hip across the body midline and rotating it could cause the hip to dislocate.

“The restriction is usually in place for six weeks until the tissues around the hip have healed.”

This guideline applies whether a person has an elective THR due to degenerative joint disease (osteoarthritis in the hip) or due to a fractured hip from an accident.

And it doesn’t matter if you’re a man or a woman. The new hip needs a chance to settle in.

What about crossing the legs after a total knee replacement?

“There is usually no restriction to crossing the legs after TKR,” says Dr. Hungerford.

However, after a TKR, you should not do deep squats or sit on your heels (common positions for gardening). And this rule is in place for all time following the surgery.

The need for elective total hip (and knee) surgery is caused by the reduction of cartilage between the bones.

In some cases there is no cartilage; the X-ray shows bone-on-bone contact. Crossing one’s legs does not cause the hip cartilage to wear down.

Dr. Hungerford was the first orthopedic surgeon in Maryland to perform MAKOplasty, a minimally invasive partial knee procedure powered by the RIO® Robotic Arm Technology.
Lorra Garrick has been covering medical, fitness and cybersecurity topics for many years, having written thousands of articles for print magazines and websites, including as a ghostwriter. She’s also a former ACE-certified personal trainer.  
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