How to Sleep on Your Side After Hip Replacement

Group of surgeons working in operating theatre

There are numerous restrictions after a major surgery, and hip replacement surgery is no different. From not being able to cross your legs to not being able to drive a stick-shift, it certainly is debilitating at first. Sleeping requires some adjustment.

Listen To Your Doctor

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Listen to your doctor's recommendations for the first few months, as you probably will be limited to sleeping on your back with pillows between your legs. Some doctors might even recommend a special hip abduction pillow, which keeps the hips stable and prevents dislocation overnight.

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Once cleared, you can sleep on the "good" side, or the side that was not operated on, still with a firm pillow between the legs (hip to ankle length).

Man with back pain

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Sleeping on the operated side might not ever be resumed, according to Dr. Thomas Youm, an orthopedic surgeon at NYU's Langone Medical Center. "Most patients find this position too uncomfortable to rest well at night," he says.

Doctor with patient

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Contact your doctor or surgeon if any complications arise from sleeping, regardless of the position.


The University of California-San Diego Medical Center warns patients of sleeping on the stomach following a total hip replacement: "If you sleep on your stomach, you must be careful getting into this position, keeping your hip precautions in mind while you turn."