Joint replacement surgery can be an effective way to relieve chronic joint pain, improve mobility, and restore your overall quality of life when other treatments no longer provide relief. If you have had joint replacement surgery, particularly on weight-bearing joints such as the hip and knee, rehabilitation and aftercare are crucial to ensuring a successful recovery, as well as your ability to regain full use of the joint.
When Is A Joint Replacement Necessary?
Joints can be vulnerable to damage through injury, wear and tear, and from conditions such as osteoarthritis, which results in pain and disability. Joint replacement surgery is a common procedure that involves replacing all or part of a damaged or diseased joint with artificial components.
Joint replacement surgery can be performed on many joints in the body, but hip and knee replacements are the most common. Technological advancement in surgical accuracy and implant design, coupled with a greater knowledge of human anatomy, has made joint replacement surgery safer and more successful, with patients experiencing less pain, a faster recovery, and the opportunity to return to their normal active lifestyles after surgery.
Recovery and Rehabilitation
In order to recover successfully from joint replacement surgery, and to regain optimal function and range of motion, it is crucial to take the appropriate steps as directed by your healthcare team.
The recovery process following joint replacement surgery can take time. Patients typically stay in the hospital for a few days following surgery, so they can be closely monitored. Usually, within 24 hours of surgery, patients are encouraged to stand up and move around with the help of a physical therapist.
Physical therapy is a critical part of rehabilitation. It is used to encourage healing, prevent joint stiffness, and to help patients adjust to, and regain full use of, their new joint. Therapists work with patients to develop a personalized rehabilitation program that includes different phases of healing and is designed to optimize recovery. The purpose of physical therapy is to:
- Restore range of motion and function to the new joint
- Strengthen and stabilize surrounding tissues
- Improve coordination
- Prevent future injuries when carrying out daily tasks and activities
Tips For A Successful Recovery
If you have had a joint replacement, there are steps you should take to prolong the life of your new joint and to reduce the chance of problems.
Follow Guidance From Health Professionals
Your surgeon and physical therapist will give you instructions following your surgery. It is important to follow them to ensure a successful recovery. Guidance may include:
- Restricting and gradually increasing certain movements and activities
- Advice around weight-bearing limitations
- Using walking aids and medical equipment, such as a raised toilet seat to make life easier at home and to prevent falls
- Following an exercise program (developed by your physical therapist)
- Not to drive or return to work too soon
Exactly how much pressure and activity the new joint can withstand will depend on factors such as the type of surgery performed, the type of prosthesis installed and how it was attached to the natural bone, the condition of the natural bone, and overall health.
Joint problems can cause pain and disability, preventing you from carrying out normal activities. Many people find they are more physically active following a hip or knee replacement and are able to resume previously enjoyed activities. Keeping active is important for all areas of health and can help to maintain strong muscles around the new joint, helping to support it.
Many low-impact activities, such as swimming, cycling, and golf, can be resumed following surgery, once your surgery wound has healed and your surgeon says it is okay to do so. The type of joint replacement you have and other factors such as overall health and fitness level will determine how quickly you can resume your normal activities. You may have to modify the way you do some things and play sports. Some activities may be off limits to preserve your new joint and prevent damage.
Certain sports and activities can put excessive pressure on the new joint and may cause the prosthetic piece to wear out prematurely or become loose. To reduce the risk of damaging the new joint, high-impact sports and activities, or those with an increased risk of falling, such as skating and skiing, should be avoided. It is best to consult your surgeon for advice before taking part in sports or activities.
Maintaining a healthy diet and body weight helps to reduce the risk of health problems and diseases, and reduces stress on joints. Bear in mind that some conditions, such as diabetes, can increase the risk of post-surgical complications, including infection, joint fractures, and the chance of the new joint becoming loose, so extra care should be taken.
If you have a cut, wound, or dental problem, it is important to avoid potential infection following joint replacement surgery, as this can spread to the new joint. If the joint becomes infected, it can lead to complications which may result in further surgery.
Attend Regular Follow-up Appointments
It is recommended you attend all your follow-up appointments with your surgeon following joint replacement surgery in order to ensure your surgical wound and new joint are healing well. It is also recommended that patients meet with their surgeon every year or two, or when recommended, to have the artificial joint checked. Regular appointments help to detect and prevent potential problems early, and before symptoms develop.
Total Joint Replacement Surgery in Boynton Beach, FL
If you are considering joint replacement surgery, contact the expert providers at Personalized Orthopedics of the Palm Beaches. Our board-certified orthopedic surgeons are highly-skilled in the diagnosis and treatment of injuries and conditions affecting the musculoskeletal system. We use a variety of non-surgical and surgical treatments to effectively treat your pain.
To learn more about our services, call us today at (561) 733-5888, or you can schedule an appointment with one of our surgeons, using our secure online appointment request form.