Total Joint Replacement Recovery

Total joint replacement is a surgical procedure in which the surgeon replaces an entire joint with an artificial one. This is commonly associated with hips and knees, but many other joints can be replaced. If you would like to know more about total joint replacement recovery, keep reading.

Why Are Joints Replaced?

Joints are usually replaced when your natural joints are too painful or stiff to move. Joints often become stiff and painful because of arthritis (both osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis). However, injuries and past surgeries can also impact the health of the joint.

As the joint wears down, cartilage disappears. This causes bone to grind on bone, which leads to discomfort and limited mobility. After joint replacement, most people can move again without the same pain. After recovery, they often regain more range of motion than before surgery.

What Happens During Initial Recovery?

During initial recovery, you may need to spend a day or more in the hospital to ensure you are healing correctly. During this time, the doctor looks for issues with the incision and signs of infection or other complications after surgery. During this time (and when you first go home), you may need to use crutches to keep weight off the joint.  

At home, as the incision heals, you can use rest, ice, and medication to help ease pain, swelling, and discomfort. Some physical therapy starts immediately after surgery to ensure the joint works and the muscles don't atrophy.

What Does Long-Term Recovery Entail?

As the joint continues to heal, you'll be able to put more and more weight on it. At this stage, your incision is healed, and you may have little to no pain, but you will need to continue physical therapy. Physical therapy is the best way to strengthen the new joint and regain your range of motion.

During this time, you should still avoid high-impact activities like running as they can put too much wear and tear on the joint before it fully heals. Good low-impact activities include walking, swimming, and yoga. Talk with your doctor before you start any exercise, especially if it may impact your new joint.

A joint replacement can be just what you need to regain your life. However, you will need to follow a strict recovery to prevent future complications. As long as you follow your doctor's advice, however, you have a great chance of regaining more mobility with your new joint. If you would like to know more, contact a total joint replacement rehab professional.