A joint replacement (arthroplasty) is a surgical procedure where an arthritic, injured, or damaged joint is replaced with an artificial joint. The artificial joint can be made of metal, plastic, or ceramic. Joint replacements are done in the knee, hip, and shoulder to name a few. Replacing a joint that is painful and not functioning helps to restore the movement like a healthy joint. Physical therapists play a large role in the joint replacement process.
Physical Therapy Before Replacement
You will be educated about your joint replacement procedure, what to expect at the hospital, and aftercare at home. Your doctor may even have an education class they require you to take prior to your procedure.
Often times, people physical therapy to start strength exercises before surgery. You will also become familiar and confident with your exercises, and will be able to resume them right after surgery. Increasing strength in the muscles around the joint will improve your recovery and decrease the level of therapy services needed after surgery.
- Assistive device preparation:
If your joint replacement is in the hip or the knee you will be using a cane or a walker initially after your surgery. Physical therapists fit your device and help you practice walking and climbing stairs.
Physical Therapy After Replacement
Patients will continue with therapy after their surgery for several weeks.
After joint replacement our goal is to decrease pain and swelling, monitor healing, start strength exercises, and walking.
- Pain and swelling:
This can make it difficulty and uncomfortable to perform your therapy exercises. We monitor the swelling, incision healing and help with techniques to decrease the pain.
We will teach you range of motion exercises that are safe to perform with your new joint. We will also work on exercises to gain strength in the muscles around your new joint to provide support with movement. Over a brief time of doing your exercise routine you will gain better function of your joint.
- Gait training and balance:
If you have a hip or a knee replacement, our Champlin physical therapy providers will guide you in walking with your assistive device and progress to walking without it. We will work on balance and agility with you movements, so you feel confident walking on uneven surfaces such as grass or stepping off a curb.
We continue to progress your tailored therapy program to meet your needs and, returning you to your activity level the injured joint was limiting you from.