Frequently Asked Questions about After Surgery

Will the surgery affect my abilities to care for myself?

Yes. You will have limited mobility initially after surgery and will be using an aid to walk with for at least 6 weeks. You may need assistance after surgery with transportation, meals, bathing, etc. Please click here for more information.

When can I drive? I know the book says I can't drive for at least 6 weeks but can I drive anyway since it is my left leg?

Normally for all patients who have hip and knee replacement surgery your surgeon will advise no driving for 6 weeks post-operatively. Your insurance company may not cover you during these 6 weeks no matter which leg was operated on.

How mobile will I be after my surgery?

After surgery, you will be allowed to bear some weight on the surgical leg and use an aid to walk with for at least 6 weeks. Many people are able to walk at least 30 metres when they leave the hospital and generally have no problems walking a few blocks, if not more, at 6 weeks.

Do I really need to use a standard walker?

Follow physiotherapist’s instruction to ensure walking safely. Your therapist will progress your ambulation as ordered by your surgeon and as your ability improves.

Can I use my crutches instead of the walker?

Again your physiotherapist will determine when you may do this.

When will I be able to walk normally again?

Many people stop using walking aids between 6-12 weeks after surgery and walk with no difficulties. Some people may still need to use a cane for up to a year after surgery. Others may always have a limp after surgery. How well you do many times depends on the severity of your hip or knee problems before surgery and how well the muscles and soft tissue heal after the surgery.

Who will take care of me after I leave the hospital?

Please click here for more information.

How will I use the restroom after the surgery?

After surgery, you may have movement restrictions that will prevent you from sitting on low seats. As a result, most patients are strongly encouraged to purchase a raised toilet seat with arms and/or a versaframe to make using the toilet easier. Please click here for more information.

How will I be able to bathe myself after the surgery?

Yes. Please click here for more information.

When can I shower? 

Each surgeon has their own preferences. Check with your surgeon before your discharge and call surgeon’s office if unclear.

Will the surgery affect the way I sleep?

Yes. Many times patients find it difficult to find a comfortable position when they first return home after surgery. It is generally recommended that you sleep on either your back or side rather than your stomach for the first 6 weeks and that you place a pillow between your knees when on your side. Never sleep with a pillow underneath your leg.

Will my surgery decision affect my social life?

When you first return home after surgery, you may not feel like leaving the house. By the first or second week home, you should start to feel better and venture outside, not only for appointments, but to walk out on the driveway and sidewalk. By six weeks, many people are able to do short trips to the grocery store or mall. By twelve weeks, most people are back to their normal social life activities.

Will I be able to do household chores or work on the garden after the surgery?

When you first return home, we strongly advise having help within your home to assist you with household chores and yardwork. After 12 weeks, you should feel strong and well enough to resume most of your household duties. You will be able to work in the garden again, but we advise you to use a stool and long handled tools to do so. Please consult with your physio or occupational therapist.

When can I go back to work?

Normally 12 weeks post-operatively you may return to work. Each patient is different depending upon individual circumstances. Check with your surgeon before discharge and call the surgeon’s office if unclear.

Will the surgery affect my sexual functioning?

No. But because of surgery, you will be need to be aware of any movement restrictions you may have after surgery and how you can safely participate in sexual activity. Please click here for more information.

Can I kneel on my new knee?

If you find kneeling difficult or it causes you pain, you should avoid doing so. If you are able to kneel, you should do so on soft surfaces like pillows or foam padding. You should avoid prolonged and repetitive kneeling.

Will I have difficulty sleeping after surgery?

Difficulty sleeping is a very common complaint after surgery. Over the counter remedies may be effective. If sleeping continues to be an issue, please consult with your pharmacist, family physician or surgeon.

How will I cut my toenails after surgery?

Prior to surgery, it is recommended you trim your toenails. After surgery you may have movement restrictions that will prevent you from bending forward to touch your toes. If a family member or friend is unable to assist you, there are various foot care services available.  Please visit for a list of services or for more information, please call your local Community Care Access Centre.

What should I do if I am constipated when I return home?

Please click here for more information.  If you are not experiencing relief call your family doctor.

What should I do about a loss of appetite and nausea?

This may be caused by pain medications or constipation. Click here for information on managing constipation. Make sure you are drinking lots of fluids.  Eat smaller frequent meals. Take your medications, especially pain pills with food. Contact your family doctor if symptoms continue.

For more information and additional questions, visit the Frequently Asked Questions web page