How Can Physical Therapy Help Joint Replacement Recovery?
“After injuring a joint, undergoing total joint replacement surgery may be the easy part. The harder part comes after when the physical therapy begins.
Physical therapy is essential to rehabilitating a joint back to normalcy. The process usually begins soon after the operation is finished. For knee or hip TJRs, orthopaedic surgeons will usually get their patients walking the day after with the assistance of a walker, crutches or a cane while they are still staying in the hospital, according to the American Association of Orthopaedic Surgeons. Once they are discharged, individuals will begin physical therapy, which involves both stretching and exercising to slowly get the mobility of the joint back to how it was before it got damaged.
The primary goal of physical therapy is to strengthen the muscles surrounding the joint so that the body can make a full recovery. Specific exercises will help decrease swelling and pain around the surgery site, as well as prevent stiffness and lower the risk of subsequent injuries.
Once a patient is capable of walking normally again - without experiencing pain or limping - a physical therapist will assist him or her on an outpatient basis in being able to climb stairs again or lift things. Although physical therapy is not meant to be easy and some degree of pain is typical, patients should actively communicate with their specialists and their orthopaedic surgeons about the progress they are making to ensure that nothing goes wrong.
Another factor that contributes to rehabilitation success is compliance. Physical therapists will give their patients exercises and stretches to do at home, which are essential to recovery.”
"Physical Therapy Is Crucial to Total Joint Replacement Recovery." Andrews Institute for Orthopaedics & Sports Medicine. N.p., n.d. Web. 18 Mar. 2014. <http://www.theandrewsinstitute.com/News/TotalJoint/Article.aspx?id=38839>