The hip and knee joints are the most common locations for osteoarthritis to occur. These joints take a lot of wear and tear over time, resulting in the gradual degeneration of the protective cartilage covering the end of the bones. When the condition becomes painful, and other treatment options lack progress, hip or knee replacement surgery is often considered.
In Canada, more than 100,000 individuals undergo hip replacement or knee replacement surgery every year. Osteoarthritis is one of the main reasons for joint replacement surgery. The operation consists of the replacement of damaged parts of the joint with metal, ceramic, or plastic prosthetic pieces. Once fully healed and post-surgery rehabilitation is complete, the prosthetic ideally mimics the function of a normal and healthy knee or hip joint.
So, what happens after surgery?
Following surgery, physiotherapy, involving exercise rehabilitation, is necessary to return to normal functioning and to reap the benefits the new joint has to offer. Initial rehab may take place the day immediately following surgery. For hip replacement surgery, it is common for healthcare professionals to have the patient up and walking or completing strengthening exercises the day after surgery. This prevents the buildup of scar tissue and aids in initial improvements in strength and range of motion.
After release from the hospital, our physiotherapists at Aquafit Physiotherapy Clinic can help you toward a full recovery. Our trained and experienced physiotherapists will complete an initial assessment including baseline strength and range of motion measurements to record rehab progress.
Joint replacement rehabilitation program focuses on increasing strength around the joint, returning the joint to full range of motion, and gait retraining. Increasing the strength of the muscles surrounding the joint will help regain muscle and provides support for the new joint. For hip replacements, rehab targets the major leg muscles, the glutes, and the core muscles. For knee replacements, major leg muscles including the quads, hamstrings, and calves are often the focus. These muscles are the primary entities supporting movement and function of the joints.
The range of motion and mobility exercises aid the individual in returning to normal function, preventing future pain and injuries. Most exercises are initially completed in a chair or on a bed, with the eventual progression to walking and weight bearing.
For knee and hip replacements, it may take up to 6 weeks to return to normal activities. 3 months is the average time for pain and swelling to subside, and it may take up to a year to fully return to normal in some cases.
At Aquafit Physiotherapy Clinic, our physiotherapists can guide you every step of the way. If you have just had knee or hip replacement surgery, call us and start your rehab with our registered and experienced physiotherapists today.