Why Is Physical Therapy Important After Joint Replacement?

Undergoing joint replacement surgery is the first step on your road to improved mobility and increased joint function. However, you can give yourself the best chance of a full, successful recovery post-surgery and reduce your risk of complications by committing to physical therapy.

Physical therapy is an essential part of post-surgery joint replacement care. During physical therapy, you will strengthen your core muscles so that you have better posture, balance, support, and agility as you recover from surgery.

You will also improve the range and function of your new joint so that it fully integrates with your body and you are less likely to suffer from infection or rejection. Here’s a look at the importance of physical therapy after joint replacement surgery.

Improved Pain Management and Reduced Reliance on Pain Medication

After your surgery, you will spend some time recovering in the hospital and potentially in a joint replacement care rehabilitation facility. Your physical therapy will begin almost immediately, usually within a few hours of your surgery. It’s important for you to get up and around as soon as possible to reduce your risk of muscle atrophy, infection, blood clots, stroke, and other post-surgery complications.

You will also be given pain medication; however, pain medication can cause unwanted side effects and carries the risk of dependence or overuse. Your physical therapy routine will help you manage your pain by increasing joint flexibility and range of motion. Physical therapy also promotes the release of endorphins, which are natural painkillers. This reduces your reliance on opioid pain medication and lowers your risk of dependence, overuse, or side effects associated with opioid use.


Accelerated Healing Times

Your physical therapist will guide you through exercises that strengthen your core muscles, helping you get on your feet faster and easier after surgery. They can also monitor your healing progress and make adjustments as needed to support faster healing and improved mobility.

If they notice any issues with your recovery process, they will communicate with your care team so that you get the support and care you need to heal.

People who stick with their physical therapy routine post-surgery have a much faster healing time and highly improved progress and performance when compared to patients who don’t undergo physical therapy or don’t commit to regular physical therapy sessions.

Enhanced Mobility and Range of Motion

Physical therapy exercises and stretches are designed to help your new joint function as well and as naturally as possible. Your physical therapist will create a highly personalized care plan for you that focuses on improving your range of motion, flexibility, and mobility so that you can move around independently as soon as possible.

Also, by strengthening your core muscles, physical therapy exercises will also restore joint function and strength, reduce inflammation, and help you maintain proper circulation so that movement is easier and less painful.

Lessened Chance of Complications

While some patients are capable of doing therapeutic exercises on their own after surgery, others may need extra support like that provided by a physical therapist. A physical therapist will make sure you’re doing the exercises properly so that you can walk without assistance and avoid recovery complications.

Possible complications from remaining sedentary after joint replacement surgery are muscle atrophy, permanent mobility problems, chronic pain and stiffness, inflammation, poor circulation, blood clots, infection, or stroke.

Physical therapy will also prevent the development of scar tissue that could restrict your movement or cause pain, inflammation, and muscle weakness.

Improved Balance and Mobility

It’s important for you to get on your feet as soon as possible after surgery, but there is also a risk that you will fall and injure yourself because you aren’t in top form. Your physical therapist can significantly reduce that risk by creating a highly individualized physical therapy plan designed around your age, overall health, needs, goals, and lifestyle. Physical therapy exercises are carefully designed to target your core muscles.

Your core muscles support your movement, balance, and mobility. Strengthening your core muscles reduces your risk of a fall during recovery. If you can avoid falling post-surgery, you can significantly lower your risk of further injury and complications like broken bones, swelling, bleeding, infection, and blood clots.

Regaining Your Gait

It’s natural to have trouble walking around after joint replacement surgery. Committing to your physical therapy sessions will give you a better chance of regaining your gait and avoiding chronic movement issues, like a limp.

Your physical therapist will work closely with your care team to monitor your progress and adjust your treatment plan to support proper movement so that when you do start walking on your own again, you don’t experience any major issues.

Faster Return to Your Normal Routine

A physical therapist can help you stay positive and focus on your goals throughout your recovery. This will keep you motivated and reduce your chances of getting discouraged or giving up on your recovery.

Your physical therapist will incorporate activity-specific rehabilitation through exercises that restore strength and give you the skills you need to get back to your hobbies, your normal exercise routine, playing sports, or returning to work.

You will get back to your regular routine much faster under the guidance and care of your physical therapist and by committing fully to your physical therapy exercises.

Added Support From In-Home Care

If you live alone and need added support during your recovery, hiring an in-home caregiver can help you maintain safe mobility, get to and from the bathroom, and safely complete other tasks of daily living. Your in-home care aide can drive you to and from doctor’s appointments and physical therapy appointments and make sure you stay safe while you do your therapeutic exercises and stretches at home.

They can also help with light housekeeping, grocery shopping, meal preparation, and medication management so that you don’t stress your body out during recovery by trying to immediately return to your regular routine.  

Learn More About In-Home Joint Replacement Care

At Placita In Home Care, we offer in-home joint replacement care in Tucson and the Metro Phoenix area. Our experienced, compassionate in-home caregivers can support you during your recovery by providing assistance with mobility, household tasks, and the activities of daily living: bathing, grooming, dressing, personal care, and toileting. We can also help with meal preparation, light housework, and medication management.

Our senior care specialists are fully vetted and are licensed and insured. They undergo a rigorous background check and have clean MVD records. They are happy to drive you to and from doctor’s appointments and physical therapy appointments, and provide assistance in your home so that you stay safe while recovering from joint replacement surgery.

Call us today or contact us online to learn more about our joint replacement care services or to schedule an appointment for a consultation.