Having a bath

If you are at all unsteady or anxious, you should have someone with you to help you get in and out of the tub safely. A walk-in shower may be a better option until you feel more confident. Some hospitals tell patients that they shouldn’t take a full bath – actually sitting on the floor of the tub – until three months after surgery. Here are some general tips:

  • Keep your knee and hip precautions in mind at all times.
  • DO NOT step out of the tub onto a scatter rug or towel. If you want a soft surface, tape a non-skid bath mat securely to the bathroom floor beside the tub.
  • You should use a tub bench or seat which rests on a rubber mat or non-skid adhesive on the bottom of the tub itself.
  • A long-handled sponge or hand-held shower hose can be used to wash your lower legs and feet while you can’t bend over. 
  • If you will be using any grab bars beside the tub or on the wall, make sure they are properly installed and can support your weight.

Getting into the tub:

  • Place the bench or seat in the tub facing the faucets.
  • Back up to the tub until you can feel it against the backs of your knees. Be sure you are right in front of the seat.
  • Reach back with one hand for the seat. Keep the other hand on your cane or walker.
  • Sit down carefully on the seat. Keep your operated leg out straight. This is especially important after hip replacement and may be helpful in the first days and weeks after knee replacement. Place your cane or walker within reach, but out of the path of your legs.
  • Lift one leg into the tub as you turn on the seat, followed by the other leg.

Getting out of the tub:

  • Turn on the seat and lift your legs over the side of the tub one at a time.
  • To get up, push on the seat with one hand. With the other hand on the walker, stand up outside the tub. Take hold of your cane or walker and get your balance.

ImportantIMPORTANT: The movements described here may not be right for a person who has had revision surgery. Your therapist will guide you.