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Bed Mobility After Hip Replacement – How to Get In and Out of Bed

Bed mobility after hip replacement, or more specifically, getting in and out of bed is a common place where we see some challenges maintaining hip precautions after surgery or injury.

Maintaining your hip precautions (no bending more than 90 degrees, no crossing your legs, no pivoting on surgical leg) during all daily activities following a hip replacement is vital for full and complication-free recovery.

Fortunately, with a few simple steps, you can ensure you are getting in and out of bed safely.

And I’ll show you how.

In this guide, I do not include an adult bed rail, but if you have significant challenges getting in and out of bed prior to your surgery, consider picking one up. It will provide some additional support during your recovery and may also reduce your fall risk.

If you need help installing and using a bed assist bar, I have a full post (with photos) of how to setup and use an adult bed rail.

Check out my video on my YouTube channel for a full demonstration of the technique for getting in and out of bed after hip replacement.

Supplies Needed:

Bed Mobility after Hip Replacement – Steps:

  1. Gather your equipment
  2. Place leg lifter over foot with surgical leg extended
  3. Lift non-surgical leg into bed
  4. Lift surgical leg into bed using leg lifter
  5. If planning on laying on side, place pillow between legs
  6. Place leg lifter over foot and prop on elbows and move surgical leg to edge of bed
  7. Retrieve your walker and stand

Bed Mobility after Hip Replacement – Step 1: Gather equipment

Gather supplies including a leg lifter (or alternative device if no leg lifter is available), 2-wheeled walker, and extra pillow for between legs.

If you struggled with bed mobility prior to your hip replacement, you may want to consider the addition of a bed rail too. Here’s an example of one below:

Adult bed rail with feet on floor
An adult bed rail

Bed Mobility after Hip Replacement – Step 2: Place leg lifter

Place the leg lifter over your foot while seated at the edge of the bed.

Bed Mobility After Hip Replacement - Leg Lift to Floor
Place leg lifter over your surgical leg. Important: Keep surgical leg extended as demonstrated in photo.

Your surgical leg should be extended and you should be slightly reclined in bed to ensure you maintain the 90 degree or greater hip angle.

Bed Mobility after Hip Replacement – Step 3: Lift non-surgical leg into bed

Pivot body to allow non-surgical leg to lift onto the the bed while maintaining surgical leg extended and pivoting your body so your head is towards the head of the bed. Use the leg lifter to assist with bringing the surgical leg towards the edge of the bed.

Bed Mobility after Hip Replacement – Step 4: Lift surgical leg into bed

While continuing to use your non-surgical leg to slide your body into bed, pivot while lifting your surgical leg into bed using the leg lifter. Throughout this process you should continue to be reclined with your surgical leg extended.

Bed Mobility After Hip Replacement - Leg Lift Over Side of Bed
Lift surgical leg into bed using leg lifter. Be sure to keep your surgical leg extended.

Bed Mobility after Hip Replacement – Step 5: How to lay on your side safely

If you plan to lay on your side while in bed, or you tend to roll in your sleep, you should place a pillow between your legs to prevent accidental crossing of your legs. This is very important because crossing your legs can cause dislocation following a hip replacement.

Bed Mobility After Hip Replacement - Lying on Side With Pillow
While lying on your side, use a pillow between your legs to keep your legs from crossing over.

The pillow you select should be long enough and thick enough to support a normal gap between your legs while also keeping your feet from crossing accidentally.

Bed Mobility after Hip Replacement – Step 6: Place leg lifter over surgical leg and shift towards edge of bed

When getting out of bed, place the leg lifter back over your surgical leg and begin moving towards the edge of the bed. You will need to prop yourself up on your elbows at this time. Use your non-surgical leg to push you towards the edge of the bed.

Bed Mobility After Hip Replacement - Wrap Foot with Leg Lift
Place leg lifter over surgical leg to get out of bed. Prop yourself up on your elbows and use your non-surgical leg to push yourself to the side of the bed.

Once your heal is off the edge of the bed you will need to begin sitting up an continue to pivot using gravity to assist with the transition to the seated position at the edge of bed.

Bed Mobility After Hip Replacement - Leg Lift Over Side of Bed
Once your surgical leg heal is over the side of the bed, you can begin to transition to a sitted position. Ensure you keep your surgical leg extended the entire time.
Bed Mobility After Hip Replacement - Leg on Floor
Use gravity and your leg lifter to allow your surgical leg to drop to the floor while maintaining an extended position.

Bed Mobility after Hip Replacement – Step 7: Retrieve walker and stand

Once both feet are on the floor, retrieve the walker and place it in front of yourself.

Bed Mobility After Hip Replacement - Pulling Walker Into Walker Place
Try to keep a walker nearby to ensure you can reach it from the side of your bed. Then position the walker in front of you while keeping your surgical leg extended.

When attempting to stand, make sure not to reach forward and break your 90 degree angle. Instead, keep your surgical leg extended and place your hand on the non-surgical side behind you and your non-surgical leg squarely underneath you. Push up from the bed with one hand while resting your surgical hand on the walker for balance.

Bed Mobility After Hip Replacement - Standing Up With Walker

That’s it. We have now covered how to get in and out of bed safely after a hip replacement. Hope this was helpful!

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