Joint replacement

July 4th, 2012
Joint replacement

Joint replacement is an orthopedic surgery procedure in which a dysfunctional joint is replaces with prosthesis.  It is becoming a common treatment to severe joint conditions that cannot be improved by non-surgical remedies.

Joint replacement procedures can be classified as hip, knee, shoulder and ankle replacement surgeries.  Medical conditions that can lead to this medical condition are osteoarthritis, frozen or loose shoulder, shallow hip socket, rheumatoid arthritis and osteonecrosis.

Physical therapy plays a vital role in a patients’ post-operative recovery.  Exercises to strengthen and stretch the newly replaced joint are crucial to ensure the patients’ full recovery for the joint replacement surgery.

A comprehensive rehabilitation program can be created by a physical therapist that would focus on restoring the full range of motion, increase strength and restore function of the replaced joint.

The treatment plan for joint replacement rehabilitation might include some or all of the following:

  • Electric stimulation uses electrical current to contract a single or a group of muscles.  This is effective for joint replacement as it strengthens the muscle and increases blood supply to the affected area.
  • Physio-exercises are designed to assist in regaining movement and maintain range of motion.  Exercises that aim to strengthen the quadriceps is effective in regaining the use of the knee after a joint replacement procedure.
  • Ultrasound increases circulation to the affected area and helps the tissue relax.  This is extremely useful for muscles spasms and tightness.
  • Resistance bands
  • Biofeedback promotes muscle relaxation to help relieve stress for joint replacementpatients
  • Plyometric equipment
  • Stationary bicycles helps increase the range of motion and at the same time strengthens the entire leg.  The scar tissue that forms as the muscles heal will limit the physical movement unless strengthen exercises are performed to promote healthy healing
  • Free weights
  • Treadmills – for joint replacement patients, this machine is helpful in recovering strength to the muscles used for to balance and walk.  The goal for this exercise is to re-establish the strength and coordination to allow the patient to walk naturally.
  • Elliptical machines
  • Weight machines

Recovering for joint replacement surgery can be easy with a positive outlook and hard work.  Together with a physical therapist, the patient needs to set realistic goals to a successful recovery.  The rehabilitation process can be set in stages to make the goals easy to achieve.  The patients’ full cooperation is required to make sure that the rehabilitation program will work.