When you have knee, hip, or shoulder replacement surgery, you’re typically told to prepare well in advance for an extended period of downtime. Your mobility and flexibility will be affected, and you’ll need pain management as well as help with daily tasks.
At Advanced Orthopedics & Sports Medicine (AOSM), with locations in Union City and Dyersburg, Tennessee, Dr. Michael Calfee, Paxton Sisson PA-C, and the rest of the team use minimally invasive joint replacement techniques to shorten recovery times, and have these suggestions to help you speed your recovery through the days and weeks following surgery.
If you’re at the point of needing joint replacement, you’ve likely been in pain for a while. Consider the recovery time after surgery, while unpleasant, to be the path back to a life with more mobility and less discomfort. Here’s how to get there more quickly.
If you’re not in good health before you get surgery (other than your damaged joint), your recovery can take longer. The weeks ahead of surgery are a great time to make some lifestyle changes:
Being healthy going into surgery increases your chances of a faster, complication-free recovery.
Right after major joint surgery is not the time to push through the pain. Untreated pain can actually slow wound healing and set your recovery time back. Unmanaged pain can also make it difficult for you to do your physical therapy (PT) exercises, delaying recovery.
Speaking of physical therapy, dedication to your post-surgical routine is critical to your recovery. Movement keeps blood circulation going, and gently stretches tendons and muscles. Studies show a direct connection between physical therapy and shortened recovery times after knee or hip replacement.
Even if you feel great some days, it’s important not to go beyond the limits set out by your surgeon and physical therapist. Only participate in the exercises and activities that are approved, and don’t exceed the amount prescribed. Doing too much too soon can end up irritating the joint, making small tears in the muscle and ligaments surrounding the joint, and setting back your recovery significantly.
Asking for and receiving help should be part of your recovery tool kit. Have some people lined up to come help you in the days following your surgery, whether it’s help with dressing, meal preparation, or house cleaning. Being able to rest, eat, and do your PT without worrying about other things will help you recover more quickly.