Are you considering a joint replacement? Are you wondering how long will it take to get back to normal? Are you asking yourself what you need to do to prepare?
In last week’s joint pain article, we talked about the types of joint replacements that are most commonly performed and some of the types of joint replacements you may not have known about. In this week’s final article in our joint pain series, we are going to talk about the things you should consider if you are thinking about having a joint replacement in the future.
Step 1 – Find a Surgeon
When it comes to hip and knee replacements, most orthopedic surgeons perform hundreds of these procedures each year. Some surgeons have chosen a surgical specialty to complete one specific type of joint replacement versus focusing on different types of joint replacements. If you have a complicated case, you may want to consider looking for a surgeon that specializes in the joint you need replaced.
Surgeons are now using technology to improve outcomes such as mapping the joint prior to surgery and using a robot to assist with accuracy of implant placement. Click here to see how Avala is utilizing state-of-the-art robotics to help patients receive better outcomes with their joint replacements.
Step 2 – Find a Physical Therapist
Physical therapists are experts in movement, most of them are educated to the doctoral level. A joint replacement is something that lasts years or even decades – so good rehabilitation after surgery is an excellent investment in your future wellbeing and independence.
Physical therapists help patients get the most out of their joint replacements by managing scar tissue and strengthening the muscles that support the new joint. This helps patients get back the skills and function they lost to become more active and return to the things that make life meaningful and enjoyable. A visit to your physical therapist prior to surgery is advisable as you are going to spend a lot of time at their office. Your therapist can help you prepare for surgery by teaching you techniques like getting in and out of bed and up and down stairs, so you can be safe when returning home.
Step 3 – Weight Loss
Excess body weight can have a profound effect on joint health and the same is true for restoring function after surgery. By optimizing body weight, this is an important tool in your plan to get back to life after a joint replacement. Most people think you must exercise to lose weight and wonder how they can exercise if they have a bad knee or hip.
The truth is that the best way to lose weight is with diet, not exercise, so people who are not active can lose weight if they follow a diet plan. For the best possible chance of success with a healthy diet you could enlist the help of a health coach or other professional to help you plan your diet and help keep you accountable throughout your journey to better health.
Step 4 – Your Home
When you first return home from surgery, you will be unsteady on your feet and will most likely be using a walker to get around the house. To prepare your home for your walker do the following: Remove all clutter from your kitchen, bedroom, and hallways. Make sure you have good lighting including night lights, so you can see where you are going when you need to get up at night. Remove loose rugs and other trip hazards. Consider putting grab rails in the bathroom for toileting and bathing.
Hopefully these four steps have you thinking about the preparation you need to complete for your joint replacement. With the right plan and support team you can get through a joint replacement surgery and obtain the results you were hoping for.
Do you have questions about Avala Physical Therapy or one of its programs? Call and schedule a complimentary consultation with one of our Physical Therapist experts today at 985.801.6265.
Thanks for reading. I hope you found something useful in this week’s article. Check in next week for more tips and tricks on how to get healthy and stay that way.
Paul Jones, Director of Physical Therapy/Rehabilitation Services
Avala Physical Therapy