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Patient Information

Managing activities non-weight bearing

What is non-weight bearing (NWB)?

Non-weight bearing means that the operated leg must not touch the floor and is not permitted to support any weight at all. You will be “hopping” on the non-operated leg using crutches or other walking aids to aid your balance and moving around.

Pressure care management

Whenever you are resting – you must elevate your operated leg, remember to “off load” your heel to reduce the risk of pressure sores especially if you are in a brace or cast. 

Managing personal care whilst non-weight bearing


Your Occupational Therapist does not recommend that you use the shower or bath. We advise strip washing using a stool opposite the sink at home to reduce the risk of you losing your balance and falling.


We recommend that you either dress/undress your lower body clothing by rolling or bridging your bottom whilst lying on your bed, or sitting on the edge of the bed leaning side to side. You may require assistance to carry items and organise the task.

You may require a toileting aid to assist with transfers on/off if your toilet is low.

Domestic activities of daily living

Keep meals simple on discharge home e.g Ready meals. If you have a chair available, place this in your kitchen for energy conservation and for eating/drinking in the kitchen. You will be unable to carry items as you will be reliant on mobility aids post op. Consider family and friends visiting daily and leave snack packs/flasks to hand or use a back pack.
You will require support with shopping and housework on discharge.

Managing stairs

In the event you are unable to manage stairs whilst NWB safely, (this may be identified pre-operatively / post operatively) We may recommend that a bed be brought downstairs at home. We do not advise sleeping on a sofa. Please note a hospital bed will not be provided because you do not have an alternative bed available: in this instance we would recommend you look into purchasing a single bed or borrow one from family/friends.

Loan of wheelchairs

If a wheelchair has been recommended to you at pre-operative assessment (POAC) it is expected that you will organise the loan of this yourself in preparation for admission. (The British Red Cross Charity is a useful contact -

Your Occupational Therapist will provide information on the size of wheelchair and accessories required.

Discharge planning

  • Ensure you have a relative or friend to bring and collect you from hospital
  • Ensure you have brought with you suitable day clothes to wear during your hospital admission, including suitable footwear.
  • Ensure you have organised daily support with compression stockings for six weeks.
  • Ensure you have organised support with shopping and housework.

More information

If you have any concerns or questions in relation to your discharge home, please contact Therapy Services and ask to speak to an Occupational Therapist. You can call Monday - Friday, 8am - 4pm on 0121 685 4122.

The Royal Orthopaedic Hospital | T: 0121 685 4000 |