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How to Prepare for Knee or Hip Replacement Surgery

How prehabilitation with Mobility Therapies can boost your chances of quickly getting back to normal

doctor holding tablet showing x-ray of painful hip for replacment

If you’re soon to have hip or knee replacement surgery, adopting a muscle strengthening exercise regime well in advance will give you the best chance of a quicker recovery.

Hip, knee, or any other joint replacement (officially called “arthroplasty”) is routine but major surgery that can keep you off your feet for several weeks. No matter how fit you are now, and depending on your age, it will be at least a couple of months if not more before you’ll be able to resume normal activities.

If you’re one of the thousands of people scheduled for knee or hip replacement this year, there’s no need to let any current joint pain, stiffness or discomfort be a barrier to increasing your chances of getting back to your usual routine once the surgery is complete. By thinking ahead and preparing your body and mind for the major changes it’s about to go through, you can not only improve your recovery time, but you can also ensure that the next few weeks and months go as smoothly and painlessly as possible.

Taking a proactive approach and engaging in pre-operative exercises (sometimes called prehabilitation) to strengthen the muscles around the joint and improve your current flexibility can contribute to an easier recovery after joint replacement surgery. A study conducted in 2022 showed that patients scheduled for hip replacement surgery who completed exercise-based prehabilitation before their operation showed significant postoperative improvements compared with those who did nothing.

Benefits of Prehabilitation

When it comes to joint replacement surgery, prehabilitation has several potential benefits:

Improved Physical Fitness

Prehabilitation focuses on enhancing your strength, flexibility, and overall physical fitness before surgery. This can contribute to better postoperative outcomes, as your higher levels of physical fitness will help you recover more quickly.

Enhanced Range of Motion

Prehabilitation exercises can help improve your joint flexibility and range of motion. This can be especially beneficial for those undergoing joint replacement surgery, as it can make the rehabilitation process smoother and improve the effectiveness of postoperative exercises.

Muscle Strengthening for the New Joint

Strengthening specific muscle groups around the joint slated for replacement can help provide better support to the new joint and reduce the stress on the replaced joint, contributing to a more stable and functional outcome.

person holding painful knee joint prior to knee replacement surgery

Improved Postoperative Recovery

Prehabilitation may lead to a shorter recovery period after joint replacement surgery. Enhanced physical fitness and muscle strength can facilitate a faster return to normal activities and reduce the risk of complications.

Psychological Preparation

Prehabilitation provides an opportunity for you to mentally prepare for the upcoming surgery. Understanding what to expect and having a proactive role in the recovery process can reduce any anxiety or stress associated with the surgical procedure.

Better Pain Management

Strengthening muscles and improving joint function before surgery can contribute to better pain management post-operatively. Stronger muscles can help support the new joint and reduce strain, potentially leading to decreased pain levels.

Optimised Surgical Outcomes

Prehabilitation can optimise your overall health, potentially leading to better surgical outcomes. Patients who are in better physical condition may experience fewer complications during and after surgery.

Faster Return to Daily Activities

By improving physical fitness and function before surgery, prehab can contribute to a quicker return to you daily activities and a more rapid return to work or other responsibilities.

Mobility Therapies Individualised Treatment Plans

It’s important to begin your exercise regime before your operation so you can work on making the tissues and muscles around the targeted joint much stronger. This will increase your chances of being able to get up and move again after your operation.

I use a variety of approaches and techniques to help you strengthen and condition your muscles, all specifically designed around you, your body, and what you want to achieve. For example, I’m fully trained in AquaStretch assisted stretching which works on the connective tissue around your muscles, giving you natural relief from pain as well as improved flexibility in your joints.

So, once you’ve been scheduled or waitlisted for surgery, contact me and we will work together to develop a personalised exercise plan based on your specific diagnosis and the joint being replaced.

mature lady seated, holding a walking cane, smiling through successful joint replacement surgery

Then after your surgery, rehabilitation exercises are fundamental for promoting healing, restoring your range of motion, and strengthening the muscles around the new joint. However, it's essential to follow the specific recommendations of your surgeon or consultant, as they can suggest exercises tailored to your individual needs and recovery plan. Again, I’m happy to work with you to design a rehabilitation exercise programme based on their advice to help you through your recovery and beyond.

It's crucial to speak with your surgeon or consultant before starting any exercise program, as they can provide personalised guidance based on your specific condition.

For more information about how working with me can help you prepare for and recover from joint replacement surgery, please get in touch.

Live the life you want, not a life in pain.

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