Joint replacement is a highly successful operation for relieving symptoms in people suffering from shoulder, hip or knee osteoarthritis. Physical therapy before and after major joint replacement surgery improves postoperative outcomes and reduces complications.
Researchers in Ohio reviewed 4,733 Medicare cases involving total hip or knee replacements. The study’s authors estimated a 29% reduction in postoperative care use among the group who had the benefit of preoperative physical therapy.
“Our study demonstrates a significant reduction in post-acute care use associated with the use of physical therapy during the preoperative period for total joint replacement surgery. Physical therapy appears to provide value within the structure of a standardized preoperative joint replacement education and planning program in which physical therapists may play an important role,” according to authors of the study.” *1
After joint replacement surgery, the DOC surgeon will refer the guest to the DOC physical therapist to customize a rehab program to improve strength, increase joint range of motion and restore function. PTs begin guest rehabilitation by completing a comprehensive evaluation, which includes the establishment of goals through collaboration with the DOC team.
These goals may include:
- Help with circulation to avoid blood clots
- Techniques to reduce pain and swelling
- Strategies to increase strength in the muscles around the joint
- Restoration of normal movement in the joint
- Support for the return to normal activities
DOC’s physical therapists also provide a home exercise program to perform between sessions. Regular exercise to restore strength and mobility to the joint and a gradual return to everyday activities are essential for a full recovery after joint replacement surgery.
- 1. Snow, J. Granata, A.V.S. Ruhil, K.Vogel, M. McShane, R. Wasielewski. Associations Between Preoperative Physical Therapy and Post-Acute Care Utilization Patterns and Cost in Total Joint Replacement. The Journal of Bone & Joint Surgery, 2014;96 (19):e165 DOI: 20.2106/JBIS.M01285.