Joint Replacement Recovery

After joint replacement surgery at North Mississippi Medical Center, you'll spend about an hour in the Recovery Area, and then be transferred to the Joint Replacement Center. After surgery, our team will make sure your pain is managed through the use of pain medications when needed. They will lead you through deep breathing and coughing exercises to help your lungs stay healthy. You will wear support stockings and do ankle pump exercises to help prevent blood clots. Sometimes blood thinning medications are used as well.

You may get out of bed with a physical therapist or nurse the day of surgery depending on what time you arrive on the unit.

Daily Schedule


Occupational therapy (assists with dressing and transfers to recliner in room)

OT may assist with car transfer and tub/shower transfer if able

Physical therapy (assists with walking and stair training)

Group exercise class – please have your coach attend.

Lunch – You will remain sitting in your recliner during lunch.

OT (assists with car transfer and tub/shower transfer) or PT (assists with walking and stair training)

Group exercise class – please have your coach attend

You may ask for assistance back to bed when you are ready.

Hourly Activities

  • Ankle pumps
  • Deep breathing exercises

Your physician and therapists will send you home with a book that includes all the exercises you should perform at home. These exercises will help strengthen the muscles around your new joint and will ensure that you gain maximum mobility.

Why do I have to wear elastic stockings (TEDS) and how long do I have to wear them?

You will need to wear the TED stockings to help prevent blood clots in your legs. These are long, tight fitting socks that keep mild pressure on the legs. Your surgeon will specify how long you should wear them, but typically they are worn four to six weeks after surgery. If you have a history of poor circulation, you may be required to wear them for a longer period of time.

What are hip precautions and how long do I need to maintain them?

Hip precautions are instructions about which positions the leg should be kept in order to prevent the artificial hip from becoming dislocated. Your surgeon will advise you on how long you need to maintain hip precautions, but it is typically six to eight weeks after surgery. Further instructions will be given during your educational classes. Hip precautions do not apply if your surgeon uses an anterior approach to surgery. Your physician will determine if you are a candidate for the anterior approach.

When can I start driving?

Your surgeon will advise you on when you will be able to drive. Typically, you will be able to drive six weeks after surgery. You should never operate a motor vehicle if you are taking pain medications.

How long should I continue to do the exercises?

The exercises should be done until you have met the goals set by you and your physical therapist. Regular exercise should be a lifetime commitment for everyone.

When can I go home?

Your length of stay in the hospital will depend on what surgery you have and how quickly you recover in the hospital. Most patients go home in 1-3 days.

You will be able to go home safely when you:

  • Can get in and out of bed.
  • Can get up and down from a chair and toilet.
  • Can get in and out of the shower by yourself.
  • Can walk with a walker on a level surface for 250 feet.
  • Be able to go up and down stairs.
  • Understand all hip precautions (does not apply for anterior surgery).
  • Get in and out of a car.
  • Perform your exercise program independently.
  • Have a range of motion in your knee of 0-90 degrees.

When you are discharged home, you may need to continue with outpatient rehabilitation services or home health.

Outpatient rehabilitation can help you continue to work on your exercises and walking. Home Health services may be needed to remove stitches, manage medications or provide wound care.

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