There are three common sites for joint replacement procedures and these are hips, knees and shoulders. When these important joints are damaged by illness or accidents, joint replacement is the best medical course of action to restore body functions.
Arthroplasty or replacement of the knee is a medical procedure wherein the joint cartilage of the knee is replaced with plastic or metal parts. Early mobilization is vital in building up strength in the quadriceps muscles but it is also important to have a sufficient recovery period after the knee joint replacement surgery before one starts exercising.
Physical therapy rehabilitation starts as soon as the patient fully recovers from the joint replacementoperation. It can begin at home with the physical therapist doing home visits. Exercises to slowly improve range of motion can be introduced first. Normally, these are done in prone position to keep the leg muscles strong.
As the physical therapist increases the quantity and amount of exercise, the patient can start using walkers and crutches for better mobility at home. The therapist can also recommend home arrangements modifications to make it easier for the patient to move at home and recover from kneejoint replacement faster.
Exercises needs to be performed multiple times a day to strengthen muscles and increase mobility. Exercises should ensure that the patient is stable on his or her feet since balance is compromised at this stage.
Manual therapy techniques, electrotherapeutic modalities and cryotherapy are normally used as part of a knee joint replacement rehabilitation program. To minimize the patient’s hypersensitivity on the replaced joint, superficial massage and soft tissue mobilization is applied.
Cryotherapy or the use of cold is useful in controlling pain and inflammation common to knee joint replacement patients. It can be applied within 72 hours after the operation.
Aquatic therapy is another effective technique for knee joint replacement recovery. The water’s healing properties are effective in reducing pain, improving strength, increasing range of motion, controlling edema and in promoting the improved tolerance and endurance for functional activities.
Water buoyancy supports the patient’s weight, reducing the stress on the joints. This is especially helpful in improving patient safety since they will experience difficulty with balance.
Recovering from a knee joint replacement normally takes about six weeks. Normal activities can be like walking unassisted can be done in four to six weeks. The same time frame can be said for driving. Following the instructions of medical practitioner is crucial to full recovery. The patient and medical practitioners working together ensures that the best possible recovery care for knee joint replacement rehabilitation is applied and followed.