The Benefits of Physical Therapy Before Knee and Hip Replacement

physical-therapy-knee-replacementPhysical therapy is commonly prescribed following both total hip replacement and total knee replacement surgery.

Common problems following these types of surgery include:

  • Post surgical pain
  • Post surgical swelling
  • Gait impairment requiring the use of an assistive device such as a walker, crutches or a cane
  • The need for scar management to promote proper healing of the incision
  • Decreased range of motion
  • Muscle guarding and tightness
  • Muscle atrophy resulting in decreased endurance and strength

A Physical Therapist helps you recover from the surgery and regain functional qualities like range of motion, muscle flexibility, local muscular endurance and strength.

All of this physical therapy is usually done AFTER you have surgery.

But what if you could get better results if you did a couple of physical therapy sessions BEFORE you have surgery?

A new study showed that “patients receiving preoperative physical therapy showed a 29 percent reduction in postoperative care use.”(1)

Specifically many of the patients that received physical therapy for pre-hab (pre-surgery treatments) didn’t need to see a Physical Therapist after surgery and those that did went for fewer sessions. This resulted in significant savings in both time and money.

Sound good? If so here’s a quick checklist to make sure you go to the right Physical Therapist for your pre-hab.

How To Find The Right Physical Therapist For Your Pre-Hab

  • Make sure your Physical Therapist is an expert in outpatient orthopedics

Outpatient orthopedics is a type of physical therapy that (1) specializes in seeing you in a clinic setting versus coming to your home or treating patients in a hospital and (2) specializes in joint related problems like hip and knee degenerative arthritis. Not all Physical Therapists are experts in this type of care so be sure to ask about this before you make your first appointment.

  • The Physical Therapist you choose should have a training in and a strong background in exercise prescription

Physical therapy comes in many shapes and sizes and some Physical Therapists just aren’t that good at exercise prescriptions. So another question to ask is if the Physical Therapist has expertise in prescribing pre-operative exercise.

  • Choose a Physical Therapist that does low-tech exercise for your home exercise program

Low-tech exercise means that your physical therapy exercises can be done at home with little to no equipment. This is in contrast to physical therapy that is done on exercise machines (like the kind you might see in a gym). The reason this is important is that if you will be having surgery there’s a good chance you will need to do the exercises frequently and a home program designed by a Physical Therapist is your best bet to get the results you want.

  • Choose a physical therapy clinic close to your home or office location

In the event that you do need to go to physical therapy after your surgery it only makes sense to find a physical therapist with a clinic near you. Traveling after surgery can be challenging! Make it easy on yourself and keep the drive to your physical therapy appointment to a minimum.

If you live in or near Arvada – give us a call at 720.222.9669



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