What Is An Abduction Pillow? Best Complete Guide

The answer to the question of what is an abduction pillow is that it’s a pillow you’ll put between your thighs. This placement is meant to abduct your hips, from the name itself, to ensure that you avoid additional injuries. However, one might also consider the abduction pillow as a classic pillow for legs when sleeping to achieve the proper posture, especially when they’re a side sleeper. 

Gone are the days where we only use pillows to support our head and neck. You want to ensure that your full body is supported, and this means using additional pillows, even on the lower body. Learn more about the abduction pillow below.  

What Is An Abduction Pillow


Everything You Need To Know About An Abduction Pillow


What is an abduction pillow?

The term abduction gives you a clue about what this pillow is. By definition, an abduction pillow is a pillow that you put between your thighs using leg straps. This placement keeps your hip from moving out of the joint, hence the name abduction, which refers to the movement of a limb away from the body. 

Depending on the usage, you’ll find specific types of abduction pillows. They are typically made of foam that is firm enough to keep the legs in place like a splint. Still, the pillow should be soft enough so that the user feels comfortable throughout the usage. 


Why do you need an abduction pillow?

By keeping your hip from turning away from the body or into the body, you can ensure a better sleep since this maintains the body in the proper posture. You’ll also avoid pain and discomfort that can develop when the hip turns from the joint for extended periods. However, those who have injuries or recovering from fractures will benefit the most from an abduction, or more correctly, hip abduction pillow. 

Remember that you need to prevent movement rotation after surgery or injury because it can complicate the condition or even damage the repaired joints. Therefore, it’s vital to use an abduction pillow to prevent additional injuries or worsen the pain. Nonetheless, you can still use an abduction pillow to improve sleep as it stabilizes the legs. 


Who should use an abduction pillow?

An abduction pillow is mainly used for preventing hip dislocation or internal hip rotation. You’re likely to be recommended to use an abduction pillow after an injury or surgery on the hips or femur. However, please consult your doctor about using this pillow, how long you need to use it, and how to use it properly. 

As you have read, patients and even those who need to stabilize their legs during sleep can use an abduction pillow. However, this pillow is best for people who need to stay still in bed for extended periods, especially after surgery. The key is to use an abduction pillow for its primary purpose, limiting movement to prevent trauma to injured areas. 


How to use an abduction pillow

Lie in bed as if you’re sleeping on your back and then position the pillow between your thighs. Check it so that it touches the area from the thigh to the ankle of each leg. Notice how the pillow has dents for this placement, before wrapping each strap for the thighs and ankles to keep the pillow in place. 

If you’re injured, it’s better to ask your caregiver to attach the pillow for you. They will need to tighten the straps to prevent your legs from moving outward. To check, your caregiver should easily fit one finger between the legs and the straps because having them too tight can cause pain or restrict circulation.  


Recovery Tips After Hip Replacement

During sleep, your surgeon might recommend that you use an abduction pillow to keep your legs separated, especially when you sleep on your side. Additionally, you must remember some precautions after you went home from a hip replacement. Be sure to follow your health care provider’s directions to prevent complications like dislocation. 


Movements to avoid

Movements like sitting or bending require extra care. You don’t want to sit on a low surface, but instead, have a pillow to raise the seat so that your knee is not higher than your hip. You also have to avoid bending at the hip, crossing your leg, or rotating your body on the operated hip or leg. 


Areas to proof

If you need to lift something heavy, ask someone to do it for you to prevent accidental injuries. And lastly, be mindful of the areas where you might trip or slip. They include cables, bumps, stairs, or even slippery floors of bathrooms. 



Did do had a hip injury, or are you recovering from surgery? Perhaps learning what is an abduction pillow will benefit you greatly. You’ll have this pillow between your legs using the straps for the thighs and ankles. 

With it secured in place, you’ll ensure that your legs won’t move outward, which can slow down your healing. However, you should consult your health care provider about using this pillow and how long you must use it. You’ll also need to ask a friend or family member to place this pillow for you to prevent additional injuries.

Overall, recovery and healing should be smooth as long as you follow your doctor’s advice. Be mindful of the habits to avoid to prevent complicating your condition. Furthermore, don’t be afraid to ask for help, whether it’s when attaching an abduction pillow or lifting something heavy.