If you are planning a hip or knee replacement surgery, physical therapy can mean the difference between a successful surgery, and a failed one.
“No matter your age, physical therapy is an important part of having a joint replaced,” says Eric Greeno, DPT at Orlando Sports Medicine. “The sooner you start PT after surgery, the better outcomes you are likely to have.”
What To Expect
After joint replacement, you can plan on having one to two physical therapy sessions in the hospital and then continue on with your therapy for three to 12 months depending on your unique situation. The most important thing is to complete your recommended physical therapy program.
“If you end your therapy before reaching the goals you and your physical therapist have set, you risk damage to your new joint, pain and further complications,” said Greeno. “It’s best see the plan through to reach your optimum recovery.”
As with most operations, the first few days will be the hardest and you will steadily increase your mobility while decreasing your pain as time goes on. The most important thing is to get moving as soon as possible- even the same day as surgery, if possible.
When you meet with your outpatient physical therapist, they will assess your mobility and gait and take into consideration your long-term goals. From there, they will devise a physical therapy treatment plan to help you achieve those goals. Not completing your physical therapy treatment can lead to problems down the road with your new joint and even impact other areas of your body.
See Your Therapy Through
“Just being able to walk after a knee or hip replacement surgery does not mean a patient has completely rehabilitated,” says Greeno. “There is likely to be a deficit in strength and range of motion that will take time to rebuild. A good physical therapist will be able to measure your progress and let you know when you have reached your maximum potential.”
With newer and better prosthetics, your new joint is more durable and longer lasting than those used with previous technology. But the human body has not changed. To get those most from your new joint, you will need to do the work, and the right physical therapist can lead you in your journey to a full recovery.
To find a physical therapist for your joint replacement rehabilitation, visit orlandosportsmedicine.com or call 407-332-7816.