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Did you know that preparing for your hip replacement is really more about preparing for after your hip replacement?

Take it from those who have gone before you (and there are a lot of them). Approximately 7 million Americans are living with artificial joints. Here is a list of don’ts for making life easier right after your surgery.

Things to avoid after hip replacement surgery:

1) Certain movements. There are certain movements that can cause your new joint to dislocate during the initial healing process. The general don’ts for the first 6 to 8 weeks are as follows, but always follow your doctor’s orders: don’t cross your legs at the knees; don’t lean forward as you sit down; don’t pick up something from the floor from a sitting position; don’t turn your feet inward or outward while bending down; don’t reach down to pull up blankets while lying in bed; don’t bend at the waist past 90 degrees.

2) Low chairs. Low or soft chairs will make it too difficult to get up and down. Taller, firmer chairs and bar stools are good substitutes.

3) Throw rugs. Pretty as they are, these and anything else in your path that might cause you to slip need to go away for the time being. Electrical cords should also be run along walls so they don’t cross your path.

4) Vitamin K. If you are on certain blood thinners, your doctor will have you avoid Vitamin K supplements and foods high in Vitamin K. These include broccoli, cauliflower, brussel sprouts, soybeans, soybean oil, green beans, garbanzo beans, lentils, liver, spinach, kale, lettuce, cabbage, turnip greens, and onions.

5) Too many narcotics. Yes, you are going to need pain medication. But heavy narcotics can wreak havoc on your body, especially your G.I. tract, causing uncomfortable constipation. While your doctor can make recommendations to counteract this unpleasant side effect, it’s a good idea to limit your dependence on these types of drugs. In fact, the medical community itself is making this a priority for the same reasons.

6) Letting the lack of mobility get you down. Going from an independent, mobile person (albeit one in pain), to someone who needs a special toilet lift and someone to hand you the remote control can take its toll. Some people can actually become depressed. Keep telling yourself this is temporary, and in the end you will get your mobility and independence back.

7) Regret. I’m talking about all of the preparations you were supposed to make to your home environment before your surgery. If you were the grasshopper who did not store up enough seed for the winter, get your laptop and your credit card and make arrangements for a friend or family member to help you make those adjustments now rather than suffering in silence.

8) Skipping the exercises. Just like you need to work to make the money, you’ll need to do the exercises to make the full recovery. There’s a good chance you’ll also need to correct some bad habits your body got itself into while compensating for the pain before your hip replacement.

9) Ignoring signs of complications. Complications such as infections and blood clots can be serious. High fever; redness, tenderness or swelling; shaking and chills; drainage from the wound or pain in your leg or calf unrelated to the wound are all signs that warrant a call to your doctor ASAP.

10) Wild sex. Sorry to tell you this, but your new joint is going to limit your ability to assume certain (ahem) positions. The hospital will provide you with details so we don’t have to do that here. Just be sure to follow them. You don’t want to wind up back in the hospital with a dislocated hip joint and have to explain to the ER nurse how you got it!

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