Joint replacement surgery removes and replaces the parts of the joint that are damaged or diseased and creating difficulty with movement. The surgery is recommended for patients who have severe joint damage or trauma and difficulty with mobility. Recovery times for joint replacement surgery vary depending on the involved joint and the overall health of the patient.
If you are undergoing joint replacement surgery, here are five things you will learn in joint replacement therapy.
1. Importance of moving around.
Even though you may be sore after surgery, it’s important to move around. Getting on your feet safely with the most appropriate assistive device, typically a cane or a walker, soon after joint replacement surgery reduces the risk of life-threatening complications like blood clots. Standing and weight bearing also allows you to start an exercise program that will strengthen your body and expedite the healing process. Before you leave the hospital, you can expect to see a physical therapist and likely an occupational therapist.
2. Tips for getting around the home safely.
Once you leave the hospital, you’ll get several weeks of at-home joint replacement therapy. During these sessions, you’ll learn how to get around your home safely and securely while you heal and adjust. Some modifications may be suggested, such as installing grab bars in the bath room or brighter lights in your hallways and stairways. Recovering at home is best and having a safe home environment is essential.
3. How to use a walking aid or sling.
If your joint replacement was done on the knee or hip, you may need a walking aid to help you get around the home. Your physical therapist will ensure the device is the proper height and will teach you how to safely use a cane or walker. If you have shoulder surgery, you will wear a sling and follow precautions from your surgeon. Your therapist will teach you how to move and function with any assistive devices you are prescribed.
4. Why it’s necessary to complete your therapy.
While some people are eager to get home and return to their lifestyle following joint replacement surgery, this can be dangerous. People who do not follow their physical therapy protocol can end up with prolonged pain, stiffness and swelling of the joint, and impaired functional ability. Prepare yourself to complete the whole program, even if you’re feeling better. Physical therapy that is custom designed for you, your home environment, and your goals will assist you in your recovery.
5. Types of exercises.
Finally, you’ll learn a number of exercises in joint replacement therapy. The exercises are aimed at your individual recovery. Hip and knee replacement patients often do combinations of supine, seated, and standing exercises that progress in intensity throughout your care. Shoulder replacement patients focus on progressing from hand and wrist exercises, to active and passive range of motion exercises, to gentle mobility and strengthening exercises in supported positions and eventually progressing to overhead exercises.
Thanks to programs like joint replacement therapy, people can recover safely and effectively in their homes. Contact VNA Health Group to learn more about our specialized joint replacement therapy program in New Jersey.