Sleeping Positions after a Hip Replacement

by Jsantos, July 8, 2013

Sleeping Positions after a Hip Replacement

After you have had a hip replacement, there are certain precautions you need to take in order to ensure there are no complications from the procedure. If you don’t follow your orthopedic surgeon‘s orders, your new hip could become dislocated. During your surgical procedure, the tissues that hold your hip in place had to be cut or stretched and they need time to heal. You will need to follow these special precautions for 6 to 12 weeks depending on your overall health and specific situation. When you sleep, make sure you choose the right positions.


The best position to sleep in is on your back as long as you keep a pillow between your legs. This will provide the best possible situation and ensure you don’t twist your leg in any way that could allow the hip to pop out of its socket. When you do sleep on your back, keep your toes pointed naturally upward. Do not turn your toes or whole leg inward on the operative side.

It’s best to lie directly on your back with toes pointed toward the ceiling. If you do feel like you need to bend a leg, then make sure you never bend your affected one or this will put too much pressure on your hip.


Unless you are told not to, you can sleep on your non-operative side as long as you line two pillows between your legs. Do not allow the affected leg to cross the midline of your body by using pillows. Never turn your toes downward and make sure you do not throw your leg forward in front of you. Make sure you continue sleeping with the pillow between your legs for at least six weeks.


You should not sleep on your stomach when you are recovering from hip replacement. This almost guarantees that you would turn your leg outward or twist at the hip, which would put you in danger of dislocation. Ask your surgeon to find out how long you need to wait before sleeping on your stomach, but it is recommended that you avoid this for at least six weeks.

General Sleeping Precautions

In addition to choosing the right sleeping position after hip replacement, here are some general precautions that will ensure you are able to heal properly without any unwanted issues.

  • Never lean forward from lying down in order to adjust your covers or for any other reasons.
  • When you place pillows between your legs, make sure that one is supporting your foot. This will keep you from dangling and twisting your foot and putting pressure on your hip.
  • Never turn your toes inward no matter which way you choose to sleep.
  • Never cross your ankles when sleeping on you back.
  • Avoid lying on your affected side for at least six weeks.
  • Do not bring your knee up toward your stomach past a 90 degree angle.

It is extremely important that you avoid twisting your toes inward at any time. While you may not realize it, this actually also twists your hip and could cause dislocation.

For several weeks after your hip replacement, you will need to take extra precautions to avoid dislocation. When you are sleeping, you need to be extra careful to avoid turning or twisting your leg inward in any way. The best position for sleeping is on your back, but you do have the option to sleep on your side if you are very careful of how you use pillows to keep your hip at the right angle. Do not sleep on your stomach unless your surgeon specifically says it is ok.



Surgeon’s Advice | Leon Mead MD Orthopedic Doctor | 730 Goodlette Road North, Suite 201  Naples Florida 34102 | Phone: (239) 262-1119

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