Joint replacement surgery involves removing the affected joint and replacing it with a prosthesis made of metal or plastic components. Restoring mobility and range of motion is the most crucial thing after the procedure. Physical therapy services have an important role in helping patients recover function and strength, and get back to their normal level of activity and even favorite sport.
Role of Physical Therapy Exercises after Joint Replacement
The typical joint replacements are for hips, knees, and shoulder. The type of physical therapy (PT) program recommended would depend on the type of total joint replacement surgery the person has had.
After a hip replacement, PT will help restore range of motion and strengthen the muscles in the hip area. To reduce the risk of falling, special emphasis will be placed on balance exercises. Ice or heat may be used to reduce swelling and soreness.
In the case of knee replacement too, the focus will be on exercises to restore range of motion and getting the knee to fully bend and strengthen. Exercises will be also recommended to strengthen the thigh muscles and ankles.
Following shoulder replacement, the patient will be guided in performing exercises that strengthen the muscles surrounding the rotator cuff and those supporting the shoulder muscles. Arm stretching will also be part of the therapy.
Therapy will begin in the hospital the day after the surgery. Patients may be referred to a professional rehab center for additional therapy before they go home. In New York, there are reliable multispecialty health care center that offer customized physical therapy programs.
Advantages of Physical Therapy at a Multispecialty Health Care Center
In an established multispecialty health care center, the orthopedic specialists will work with physical therapists to evaluate patients using advanced diagnostic methods. They will then recommend a suitable PT plan based on age, functional abilities and individual goals. Besides manual therapy and exercises, the PT program in these centers would include evidence-based modalities such as
- Massage and Myofascial Release
- Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation (TENS)
- Ice or heat application
- Ultrasound to treat soft tissue injuries
- Pain management
- Patient education
The dedication of the patient and the physical therapist are crucial to restoring optimal functioning. In a reliable rehab center, physical therapists will work closely with patients to see that they are doing the exercises correctly and keep advancing them into higher level tests. This will optimize rehabilitation after joint replacement surgery and improve the patient’s quality of life.