Recovering From Joint Surgery
No matter what you do, most of us move our joints repeatedly throughout the day. As we age and continue to walk, run, lift, bend and play, our joints become fragile, worn and chipped. While repairing and replacing these joints through surgery remains an option — you will also need additional therapy to regain mobility, strength and functionality.
Physical Therapists specialize in reducing pain and increasing mobility and function in patients after shoulder, knee or hip replacement surgery. Since these are all joint repair or replacement surgeries, there are many commonalities among them.
With any joint replacement surgery, patients are encouraged to begin moving with a physical therapist as quickly as they feel comfortable. Moving the new joint prevents blood clotting and helps speed the reduction of inflammation around the site. Physical therapists work to strengthen the joints of the leg post-surgery to improve the flexibility of the joint and keep the new faucet from locking up or becoming rigid.
Between hip and knee surgery there is one noticeable difference. After knee joints are replaced, patients usually feel a nub spot above the bone or tenderness around the joint for months and years to follow. A change in the weather is felt, as the humidity or rain slightly affects the new joint. The joint may also feel mechanical, or stiff for many months after surgery.
Hip surgery patients report almost exactly the opposite. Most forget they’ve had their hip replaced, as there is little to no discomfort felt in the months and years post-surgery. The hip is a ball and socket joint, versus the knee’s hinge joint, so recovery is much less painless due to the ample amount of soft tissue around the site. If not worked out properly and regularly though, the hip joint can lock up and become stiff. Physical therapy is recommended to prevent this.
Recovering from joint replacement surgery can be a long and arduous process. Adding pre and post surgical physical therapy into your recovery plan will help to eliminate pain, increase function and reduce your overall recovery time.