Hip Replacement Wedge Pillow Recommended by PT
Sometimes, hip replacement surgery is necessary to improve your mobility! A hip replacement wedge pillow will aid in your recovery and improve your comfort and ability to rest.
Why use a wedge pillow after hip replacement
Sleeping after a total hip replacement (THA) can be uncomfortable, especially when you are trying to abide by the precautions your physician recommends. Initially, you almost certainly will not want to sleep on your side. Sleeping on your back is usually the most comfortable right after surgery.
This is where a hip replacement wedge pillow is helpful. Sleeping flat on your back overnight can cause back pain and stiffness. This can be avoided by resting your legs on an elevated knee pillow. With the weight of your legs supported, your low back will lie flat on the bed instead of arching. This ensures the muscles in your back are fully relaxed and able to rest.
An additional benefit of sleeping on a wedge pillow after hip replacement is its ability to help decrease leg swelling. With your legs propped up, gravity will assist the fluid out of your leg. You can even perform simple exercises (ankle pumps and ankle circles) atop your wedge pillow to further assist with swelling. Reducing swelling is a key component of reducing risk for deep vein thrombosis or DVT.
Side sleeping hip wedge
After a few months of recovery and after checking with your physician, many people want to switch back to sleeping on their side. When your doctor says this is okay, there are a couple of helpful wedge pillows that will aid this transition.
The first is a leg separator pillow that is long enough to support your leg from your groin all the way past your feet. Your top leg (most likely your surgical leg) needs to be fully supported and held parallel to the bed. There should not be a significant downward angle from your hip to your knee to your ankle.
Another tool you may consider is a side sleeper wedge. This small pillow supports your spine at the curve of your waist. It makes sure your spine is straight all night instead of curved incorrectly. If your low back is unsupported, it can pull on your hips and low back making side sleeping uncomfortable.
Sleeping with a leg separator pillow and a side sleeper wedge will relax the muscles in your hip and ensure that your leg muscles are not pulling on your back.
After checking with your physician, they will almost certainly agree, a hip replacement wedge pillow is key for your comfort after a THA!
-Hillary Blare, Doctor of Physical Therapy