Here are the complete guidelines specifically for housework following a hip replacement surgery – from an orthopedic surgeon.
“After a joint replacement, you can return to almost any reasonable activity of daily living,” begins Barbara Bergin, MD, board certified orthopedic surgeon at and co-founder of Texas Orthopedics, Sports & Rehabilitation Associates.
“So housework would be included in those activities.” However, a very noteworthy component of housework activity needs to be mentioned.
And that is proper biomechanics. Housework, like lifting weights at a gym, can be done with improper biomechanics, leading to an injury – most notably the so-called “throwing out of the back.”
Lugging around heavy items is not required to throw out one’s back or cause a low back strain.
Furthermore, the back isn’t the only body part that’s at risk for injury or strain from performing household tasks. The knee and hip joint, too, can end up in trouble.
Housework Guidelines After Total Hip Replacement Surgery
“Now, I would recommend that you figure out how to clean your house without getting down on your hands and knees,” says Dr. Bergin.
“Deep squatting can cause you to dislocate your total hip replacement, and most people who have total knee replacements are never able to get full flexion back in their new knee.”
“But mopping, sweeping and dusting are all fine. Try to find implements to help you reach difficult, low and high places.”
You should find more efficient ways of doing the chores that people with healthy hip and knee joints would think nothing of getting into a deep squat to do.
For instance, a deep squat is often done when one wants to reach towards the back of a low cabinet to pull out a pot.
People do deep squats to clean things close to the floor such as baseboards. Even very brief tasks, such as catching a spider low to the floor, should not be done with a deep squat by a person with a hip (or knee) replacement.
The proper way to reach things close to the floor is to keep an arch in the lower back (don’t round the back, as this can put the small lumbar muscles at risk for strain), bend at the legs (but don’t squat) and simply reach to catch the spider or pick up the dirty socks, etc.
Extension tools are on the market to grasp items that you’re unable to reach.
As for a sustained reach, such as wiping baseboards – again, there are products that will extend to make the reach, eliminating the need to squat or uncomfortably maintain a bent trunk position.
The various tools that can eliminate straining to reach are “safer and better for the aging body,” says Dr. Bergin.
“You’ve had a hip or knee replacement. You don’t want to turn around the next year and have a rotator cuff repair.”
Dr. Bergin is a general orthopedist, surgically and conservatively treating all manner of bone and joint conditions. She enjoys educating patients so they can emerge stronger than they were before their orthopedic injury or surgery.
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.