So You Are Undergoing/Have Undergone Joint Replacement?
Before the OperationImportant considerations before choosing for a total hip/knee arthroplasty are age, activity status, the patient’s expectations and medical conditions based on radiological disorders. Medics are cautious with performing a total hip replacement. It’s only used when all other options failed. It has been seen that many operation can be prevented with regular physiotherapy and exercises that will reduce the pain and strengthen the muscles around the joint, putting less load on it.
Exercising, up to the day before your surgery, helps improve your strength, range of motion and endurance. This helps lead to a successful outcome and recovery. Talk with your physiotherapist if you would like help developing an exercise program.
Why Is Exercise So Important for Your Recovery?
- Strengthening exercises for the hip or knee joint improves recovery.
- Upper body conditioning exercises help reduce muscle soreness and fatigue caused by the use of a walker crutches, a cane, or other aids.
- A walking or water exercise program increases endurance, flexibility, and overall strength.
Although swelling is a normal response after surgery, circulation exercises help control swelling and prevent more serious complications, such as blood clots. Review and learn the circulation exercises (see a physical therapist) before surgery to make them easier to perform after your surgery.
Diet and Nutrition
Healthy eating and proper nutrition before your surgery aids the healing process. Drink plenty of fluids and stay hydrated. Eat more fiber to help avoid constipation (often caused by pain medications). Foods that contain fiber include corn, peas, beans, avocados, whole wheat pasta and breads, broccoli, almonds. Eat foods rich in iron, such as lean red meat, dark green leafy vegetables, raisins, and prunes. Eat foods high in vitamin C to help your body absorb iron. Foods that are high in vitamin C include oranges, cantaloupe, and tomatoes. Make sure you are getting enough calcium, which is needed to keep your bones strong. Foods that are high in calcium include milk, cheese, yogurt, dark leafy greens, and fortified cereal. Eat light meals, especially the day before surgery. The combined effects of anesthesia and your medication may slow down your bowel function. This can cause constipation after surgery.
You would want to get the first appointment with your physiotherapist on the suggestion of your surgeon. However, for physiotherapy, you do not need a referral and can directly call up to check on your medical or extended benefits and that shall help you get a faster appointment rather than waiting for hospital-based therapies that are over booked and elusive to get. The benefits of the private setup are that you get a personalised treatment plan and in our clinic, and we have a dedicated, expansive gym area that will get you the best of equipment.
Physiotherapy after your joint replacement surgery is a critical part of your recovery, as well as to help you regain range of motion and strength. Although you may feel significant pain during and after your therapy sessions, it is necessary for your recovery.
Your physical therapist will teach you how to:
- Lay in your bed in comfortable positions.
- Move from sitting to standing.
- Walk with an assistive device (a walker, crutches, a cane).
- Comply with hip and knee precautions.
- Perform a home exercise program on your own.
- Walk up and down stairs with an appropriate assistive device.
A Few Very Important Things That Should Not Be Missed When Recovering
Do not sit for longer than 30 to 45 minutes at a time. Use chairs with arms. You may nap if you are tired, but do not stay in bed all day. Frequent, short walks—either indoors or outdoors—are the key to a successful recovery. You may experience discomfort in your operated hip or knee, and you may have difficulty sleeping at night. This is part of the recovery process. Getting up and moving around relieves some of the discomfort. You should climb stairs with support. Climb one step at a time—“good” leg up, “bad” leg down. Hold on to a railing, if available. You may be a passenger in a car, but you should sit on a firm cushion or folded blanket to avoid sitting too low. You may not drive before your first post-op visit. The decision to resume driving your vehicle is made by your surgeon. Do not lift anything heavy after surgery. Avoid lifting objects in a position where you need to squat or bend. Avoid climbing ladders.
Although this is an exhaustive update on your rehabilitation there is a lot more that only your physiotherapist can help you understand. Please note that this is generalised information and every surgery is unique. For more information about pre- and post-operative care, or to book a physiotherapy appointment, please contact Surrey Sports and Rehabilitation.