Is It Ok To Sit In A Recliner After Hip Replacement Surgery?

Hip replacement surgery is a major procedure that requires utmost care and precautions post-operation. Imagine getting a major part of your body replaced and the list of precautions you would have to follow post-surgery. One of the most common questions patients ask post-operation is, “Is it ok to sit in a recliner after hip replacement surgery?” If that is the same question you had in mind, you have come to the right place.

Please note all recommendations in this article are purely for informational purposes, and you should always get your doctor’s opinion before taking any decision post-operation.

Patients who undergo hip replacement surgery require extensive physical therapy, so they can start moving about normally and become used to the replacement of their hip. The question mentioned above is mostly addressed to a physical therapist who helps the patients get back on their feet.

Recliners are the most comfortable piece of furniture to relax on in anyone’s home, but since a patient has gone through major surgery, they want to be extra careful about what they do.

Sitting in the recliner after hip replacement surgery

Recliners are the go-to choice for patients who have undergone hip replacement surgery to sit on post-operation. However, there are a couple of things patients should keep in mind. Surgeons often restrict the patients for certain movements and give them a range of motion restrictions they need to follow. These restrictions are commonly put on patients who undergo lateral and posterior total hip replacement surgeries.

Most patients are restricted from allowing hip movement beyond 90 degrees. Certain movements can cause stress to the surgical site of the joint capsule before the patient can reach a functional range of movements. Thus, the restrictions are important as they prevent movements that could cause the capsule to stretch, which had to be cut to get a better look at the hip joint to replace it.

It is important to have a recliner with a side lever to recline with ease using your hand. However, if a recliner requires leg power to put the footrest back in place, this might be a huge problem for patients with hip replacement surgery.

A side lever control action is the easiest and safest option since it works regardless of your surgeon’s choice to replace your hip. It could be lateral, anterior, or posterior, but the side lever action would work in any of these cases.

Movement restrictions for post-operation patients

The surgeons instruct their patients to restrict certain movements by implementing the following common movement restrictions:

  • The patients should not, in any case, internally rotate
  • The patients should not cross their legs
  • The patient should not flex their hip at an angle greater than 90 degrees

Movement restrictions for anterior total hip replacement surgery

Patients with anterior total hip replacement surgery have an advantage over patients with lateral and posterior hip replacement surgeries because they have almost no movement restrictions. The only movement restriction put on them by their surgeons is not having any external rotation with extreme extension.

This movement could only be possible if the patient gets up to do a kneeling lunge, which is very dangerous for their anterior hip replacement surgery.

How does a recliner help post-operation patients?

A recliner is ideal for hip replacement surgery patients because it allows them to get into a position known as the loose-pack position of a specific joint. This position is achieved when the specific joint is placed such that all other portions of the capsule are in a relaxed state and under no stress.

When the loose-pack position is applied to the hip joint, it means that the patient must be flexed by 15 degrees from their hip with a slight position of keeping their legs out to the side of their body. Here is when the recliner comes to save the day! A recliner allows the patient to get into this exact position of 15 degrees flexion of their hip by just reclining on the chair. The recliner also lets the post-operation patients place themselves in a position where they are comfortable and have less than 90 degrees of flexion. This ideal position cannot be achieved by sitting in any other chair.

The recliner is also ideal for naturally preventing the general movement restrictions such as the crossing of the legs and internal rotation.

Crossing the legs

When the patients sit in a recliner after hip replacement surgery, they do not feel the need to cross their legs as the recliner naturally inhibits the desire for the patient to cross them. The legs are normally slightly tilted upwards at an angle when the patients are reclining in their chairs.

Internal rotation

In internal rotation, the post-surgery patients will have to stand with their toes pointing toward each other. Surgeons strictly restrict any movement that could cause the patients to rotate internally. Sitting in a recliner naturally prevents this movement. When patients sit in a recliner, they naturally tend to let their toes slightly point out toward their sides. The desire for letting the toes point toward each other is naturally inhibited, and thus, a recliner is a perfect chair to relax on for hip replacement surgery patients.

Some problems with recliner chairs for post-operation patients

If a patient has received an anterior hip replacement surgery, there is almost little to no issue; however, patients with lateral or posterior hip replacement surgeries need to observe more precaution. These patients have another movement restriction, where they can not bend beyond 90 degrees. Getting out of the recliner might be more difficult than a standard chair for such patients.

Patients need to push out to the front of the chair to get out easily. However, this movement becomes impossible if they are restricted to bend further than 90 degrees, and hence, the patients must use their arm strength to help lift themselves from the chair to get out. If you have had thing kind of surgery and are bummed out that you can not use a recliner, worry not, because there is an excellent solution to this problem.

Lift recliners

The solution to the problem above lies in using the lift recliners. They are designed for patients with movement restrictions such as pregnant women, older people who are too weak, and patients with post-surgery movement restrictions. The lift recliners help patients with hip replacement surgery maintain their allowed range of movements since getting out of the recliner is not a problem anymore. The lift recliner helps them get out of the chair by lifting them up so they do not have to bend beyond 90 degrees.

Frequently asked questions

Can I Sleep In A Recliner After Hip Surgery?

It is not recommended for patients with hip replacement surgery to sleep in a recliner as it can cause their hip to get stiff in a flexed position, and it can get difficult to straighten it out.

Can I Sit With My Feet On The Floor After Hip Surgery?

No. Sitting with your feet on the floor can cause circulation problems and lead to stasis ulcerations. Surgeons recommend that you sit in this position for no more than 15 minutes.

Does A Lift Recliner Need A Power Source?

Yes. A lift recliner needs a power source nearby to get electricity to function. Ensure you figure out the placement of the recliner and its functionalities before going into surgery.


Recliners are the ideal piece of furniture to sit in after a hip replacement surgery. There is a recliner available for every type of hip replacement surgery. If you received anterior hip replacement surgery, then you can easily sit in a standard recliner chair, but if you received lateral or posterior surgery, then you can opt for a lift recliner chair. It is ok to sit in a recliner after hip replacement surgery but please ensure you follow your surgeon’s orders for a quick and smooth healing process and prevent all restricted movements.

Last updated: 15/05/2022

About Karen Miller

Hello! I'm Karen Miller, an interior designer from Chicago with a passion for creating beautiful and functional spaces. After leading designer at Chicago Interior LLC in 2010-2020, I started to share my expertise on home comfort. I'm excited to help you transform your home into a place of comfort and joy. Thanks for joining me on this journey!

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