Have you been told you need a joint replacement in the near future? If so, I'm sure you have a lot of questions on how to quickly get back to your active lifestyle after surgery. I talk with patients as well as friends and family all the time about what to expect and what they can do to make their surgery go as smoothly as possible. They are often surprised to find out that my best tips are to be done in the weeks and months BEFORE surgery is performed. I took my best 3 tips for maximizing results of a joint replacement and am sharing them here with you too!
#1 Strengthen Before Surgery
One of the best tips I give patients is to start on exercises months before your surgery is scheduled. The stronger your muscles are before surgery, the stronger you will be after surgery. Rehab after a joint replacement can be tough. However, if you are stronger in the muscles that support your knees and hips, as well as in your core, you will already be a step ahead when it comes to the rehab.
Always consult with a physical therapist prior to starting a strengthening program. You want to make sure you are correctly strengthening the muscles that support that specific joint. If done incorrectly, you could be placing more stress and force on your already injured joint, causing more pain and inflammation.
#2 Stay As Active As Possible
Often with folks that need a joint replacement, every day activities like walking or getting in and out of a chair can become very painful. I see people who were once very active start to slow down, lose the ability to exercise and become more sedentary as the pain increases. However, staying active can help maintain your strength and cardiovascular health, which actually helps speed up your recovery after surgery. In addition, it's great for weight management - another factor that comes in to play when we think about the weight our joints support .
Now, staying active doesn't mean fighting through the pain. What it means is finding the right exercise for you. Does it hurt to walk? Try riding a stationary bike or walking in a pool. These 2 activities can be more comfortable for you because they put less weight through your legs but still offer you the same benefits, if not more.
#3 Consult With A Physical Therapist Before Having Surgery
If you are scheduled to have a knee or hip replacement OR worried you may need one in the future, my absolute best tip is to consult with a physical therapist. A PT will be able to perform a comprehensive assessment of your condition, discover which areas are weak and determine what exercises are best, so that you can start preparing yourself right away. Consulting with a PT about the process and all that is involved, both pre AND post surgery, is really the best thing you can do for yourself. We are here to prepare you, support you and offer you peace of mind.
Hope these tips help! If you have any questions or have a replacement in your future and want more information, feel free to get in touch with me. You can either send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org or click here for a free phone consultation.