What Equipment Will I Need At Home After Surgery by Patricia Walter

What Equipment Will I Need At Home After Surgery?

Everyone has slightly different needs. There are some basic items almost everyone needs and then there are things that some people want and others just don’t need.

Must Haves:

Crutches  – Normally crutches are supplied by the hospital.  I used elbow crutches and they are much easier to use than normal under the arm crutches.  Overseas hospitals use elbow crutches while US hospital still normally use old fashioned under the arm crutches.  If you have to be on crutches for a long time, I would suggest getting a pair of elbow  crutches or at least a pair of the more modern underarm crutches available from many internet shopping stores.

Walker – some people that have bi-lateral surgery or special hip problems are required to use a walker.  Whether you use crutches or a walker is up to your orthopedic surgeon.

Elbow Crutches Millenium Crutches Walker

Cane – Canes are often used after a crutch is no longer needed. A cane is a handy method of still having support if required.  People often get tired on long walks and find it easy to carry a cane with them to offer assistance.  A cane offers much less assistance than a  crutch, but it does take weight off the operated leg. It is estimated that a cane will take almost 60% of the weight off the operated leg when used properly. A cane is used on the opposite side of the operated leg, is moved forward with the operated leg as it takes a step and planted about the same position in front of your body as your step.

Canes Toilet Riser Potty Chair

Toilet Riser – a toilet riser or potty chair with arms is a must after hip resurfacing surgery.  Most patients are required to follow the 90 degree rule and sitting or rising from a normal height toilet seat will break the rule.   Inexpensive toilet risers that look like big life savers are available at any drug store or discount store for about $20.  Fancier versions or the potty chair with arms are much more expensive.  The one problem with the plastic, inexpensive risers is they are not very big.  A large man sitting on a toilet riser does not have much room to do his business.  The inner diameter of the toilet risers is very small. They are fine for women, but often a problem for men.  Men should check out their options before surgery to make sure they can comfortable use the toilet adapter.

Reacher Many people like to have one or two reachers in case they need to pick something up from the floor.  If you have a helper at home, you might not need one.  You can also bend down and pick something up from the floor by placing your operated leg behind you and bending the other leg.  I did that quite often when I had to feed dogs or pick anything up.  Of course, you need to be careful not to lose your balance. The reason you need to place your leg in back of you when bending is to prevent yourself from breaking the 90 degree rule.

Sock Putter On-er Some people find the sock putter on-er a great help. If you have a helper, you can probably get away without one. If you don’t go sockless and don’t have a helper, you will find the sock helper useful because again you are not to break the 90 degree rule.  It is impossible to reach down to your feet to put socks on without breaking the 90 degree rule.

Grab Bar By Toilet – I had my husband install a grab bar on the wall next to my toilet.  I found it to be a great help in getting on and off the toilet. This is not required, but I am glad to have it installed.  I have back problems and it helps to have a nice grab bar by the toilet.

Grab Bar by Shower or Tub – I found myself to be very unsteady for a few weeks after surgery. Getting in and out of the shower without help was a problem. I was 61 and not a spry as a younger person, but felt I needed to be very careful not to fall. A Grab Bar by the shower or tub would be a great help for most people, even if they have not recently experienced surgery.

Raised Bed – If you have a low bed, you will want to consider a way to raise your bed.  Many of the newer beds and mattresses are fairly high and you can get in and out of bed without breaking the 90 degree rule. If your bed is low, raising your bed with special risers or just bricks or wood blocks, help getting in and out of the bed without breaking the 90 degree rule. Be careful that your risers are secure and your bed won’t slip off of them.  Test them out before your surgery.

Silky Sheets – These are certainly not required, but some ladies like to use them because they are slippery and it makes sliding on and off the bed much easier. Some ladies just wear silky PJs to allow them to rotate easily when getting in and out of bed. Men sometimes like to wear nylon warm up pants so they can rotate or slide in and out of bed easily.

Ice Packs

Foam Mattress Pad


Ice Packs –Ice packs are often used by many hip surgery patients. Ice helps reduce swelling and also pain. There are many varieties of commercial ice packs available that you can freeze in your freezer.  Some people just use ice cubes in a plastic bag while others have
used frozen bags of peas since they conform to your hip. The peas can be frozen over and over – Just don’t eat them after they have been thawed and frozen too many times!

Plastic Garbage Bags – Sitting on a plastic garbage bag when getting in and out of the car or bed makes it easier to rotate you body after surgery. It is often difficult to move your operated leg and body shortly after surgery.

Lazy Boy Type Recliner-Lounge Chair – Most people have a difficult time sleeping after hip surgery. Many people need to lie on their backs and it is often difficult to sleep in that position for days at a time. Many people find sleeping or napping in a nice recliner is a great help after surgery. I slept many nights in my Lazy Boy and took many naps in my favorite chair after surgery.  Many people like the La Fuma recliner chairs after surgery.  It is a personal choice as to which chair works best, but having some type of recliner is a define help to most people.

Slip on Shoes – Many people find it much easier to use slip on shoes after surgery. You don’t have to worry about getting a helper to put them on and tie them for you.

Stool Softener– A stool softener or similar product is a must after surgery.  Many people start to take them just before surgery. The anesthesia and narcotic based pain meds often cause severe constipation.

Nice To Have Items

PillowsExtra pillows to put under your legs while you are lying in bed. Extra pillows under your legs make lying on your back feel much better.  Also many doctors suggest you keep your legs elevated while laying down to help circulation and prevent blood clots. Dr. De Smet always suggests “toes above your nose when lying down.”

TEDS – An extra pair of TEDS comes in handy if you doctor suggests you wear them.  An extra pair allows you to wash one pair while you are wearing the other pair. You definitely need a helper to put TEDS on. Some people are able to use the sock putter oner to put them on, but I have heard it is quite a struggle.

Foam Mattress Pad – Foam mattress pads on top of your mattress help make lying on your operated side and even your back much more comfortable.  The closed cell foam tends to be too hot for many people, while others like the neoprene type egg carton foam.