Why Physical Therapy Is the Key to Optimal Recovery After a Joint Replacement

Nov 02, 2023
Why Physical Therapy Is the Key to Optimal Recovery After a Joint Replacement
When your joints are damaged enough to need replacement, the process of healing can be very involved, using lots of different methods to help you through. Physical therapy is a vital part of that recovery journey, and here’s why.

 Our joints are part of literally every action we take, from talking and eating to getting out of bed, grabbing something with our hands, and walking down the street. Joint pain and other issues can result from a number of different causes, and there are many methods of treatment to help you recover.

If damage to the joint is bad enough, joint replacement may be necessary — and rehabilitating from that procedure means physical therapy.

Let’s examine why physical therapy is so important in your journey to recover from a joint replacement by looking at the reasons you may get this surgery done, how it is performed, and how physical therapy helps you get better.

If you live in the Fort Worth, Texas area and you need rehabilitation after a joint replacement or other problems, Dr. Joseph Daniels and his team at Southwest Orthopedic Associates can help.

Reasons for joint replacement

There are a number of things that can damage joints enough for partial or total replacement to be necessary, including:

  • Arthritis: there are several types of this chronic condition that wears away the cartilage and other tissue in joints, leading to bone scraping against bone and worsening over time
  • Fractures: sports injuries or other strenuous activity can lead to fractures in bone bad enough to require partial or total joint replacement
  • Abnormalities: unusual conditions in joints can also create the need for surgery, such as hip dysplasia
  • Impact injuries: severe sports injuries, falls, car accidents or other events that cause severe damage to joints often need replacing
  • Avascular necrosis: an illness that causes a lack of proper blood supply to the bone that damages joints

The joint replacement procedure

In many cases, this surgery requires a hospital stay, and begins with you receiving an anesthetic — which can be either regional (you being awake) or general (you being asleep). We shave any excess hair from the surgery site and clean the area of skin, and then make an 8-12-inch incision into the joint. 

Next, we remove the damaged bone and tissue, and insert the artificial joint — the specifics depending on which joint is being replaced, and whether or not it is a partial or total replacement. Once done, we close the incision with staples or stitches, and apply dressing and bandages.

Afterwards we bring you to the recovery room, and look after you to ensure blood pressure, heart rate, and breathing remain stable. You stay for a few days, and soon enough, the work of recovery begins.

Why physical therapy is so important

An important facet of recovery is regaining mobility and full range of motion, and physical therapy plays a major role in this part of the process. 

How severe the damage to joints will determine when therapy starts, but keeping the joint in motion is vital to restoring full function, and to accomplish that we offer massage, heat and cold therapy, hydrotherapy, strength training, stretching, TENS stimulation, and regenerative medicine. A combination of these tools and a variety of exercise regimens are essential to building up stability, strength, and full movement in joints.

Replacing the injured joint is an important step to better health, but physical therapy helps to get the most use out of the joint once surgery is finished. Make an appointment today with Dr. Daniels and his team at Southwest Orthopedic Associates today to start recovery with the best foot forward.