Why your doctor will recommend physical therapy after joint surgery

After joint replacement surgery, physical therapy will begin before you leave the hospital and continue to be part of your recovery plan when you go home. The amount of physical therapy you need will depend on several factors, including the type of joint replacement you have and your overall health needs. Here is a look at why therapy is such an important part of getting back to your normal activities after orthopedic surgery .

Moving safely after surgery
After joint replacement, one of the first things you will learn in physical therapy is how to maneuver safely without jeopardizing your new joint. For instance, if you have hip replacement surgery, your physical therapist will show you how to get out of bed, get into your car, and go up and down stairs.

You will usually receive this portion of your therapy in the hospital, so you are prepared to do these basic motions before you go home. In some instances, you won’t be able to leave the hospital until you can reach certain benchmarks, such as using the stairs.

Preventing blood clots
Your risk of blood clots increases after surgery, especially when you spend extended periods of time in bed. Exercises help to keep your blood flowing, minimizing the chances of developing a blood clot.

Being active during physical therapy reduces the blood clot risk, and your therapist will show you specific exercises you can do in bed to improve circulation.

Improving your range of motion
The exercises your physical therapist has you perform are designed to strengthen the muscles around your new joint, which in turn adds stability that helps to restore your mobility.

Often, before joint replacement surgery, people adapt their motions to reduce the amount of stress on the affected joint. After surgery, it’s important to unlearn these new ways of moving and restore a healthy range of motion to the joint. Physical therapy focuses on making that improvement.

At West Hills Hospital and Medical Center, our comprehensive joint replacement program —called the Total Package—includes pre-operative education and access to our Fitness and Rehabilitation Center after your procedure. Find out more the joint replacement program or request a referral to a specialist at our hospital in West Hills by calling (818) 676-4321.

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