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Physiotherapy After Joint Replacement

The time you spend in hospital after surgery will not all be about relaxing and recuperating. As part of your rehabilitation, your health professionals will want you to use your joint and have physiotherapy as soon as possible - usually the day after surgery. You may find your first physiotherapy session uncomfortable, or even painful, and your legs and feet may be swollen. But it is important to follow the advice of the physiotherapist to avoid complications or dislocation of your new joint.
You will probably be started off with gentle exercises in bed to regain your range of movement in the joint and muscle strength. If you have had surgery on your knee you may be put onto a continuous massive motion (CPM) machine. You will be moved onto weight bearing exercises as soon as possible, but this will depend on the kind of surgery you have had and your general health.
Exercises you perform after surgery help strengthen your knee and improve flexibility so that you can get back on your feet faster. They also increase your chances of long-term satisfaction with your artificial knee. It is important to commit to a rehab plan and work with your surgeon and physical therapist to continuously set goals.
The recovery and rehabilitation process plays a crucial role in helping you get back on your feet and resume an active lifestyle. It can help you heal from surgery faster and greatly improve your chances for long-term success. It's important that you commit to a plan and push yourself to do as much as possible each day.

The physiotherapy rehabilitation routine has 4 components:

  • Therapeutic exercise
  • Transfer training
  • Gait training
  • Instruction in the activities of daily living

Physiotherapy rehabilitation for people who have had total joint replacement surgery varies in where, how, and when it is delivered. In Ontario, after discharge from an acute care hospital, people who have had a primary total knee or hip replacement may receive inpatient or outpatient physiotherapy. Inpatient physiotherapy is delivered in a rehabilitation hospital or specialized hospital unit. Outpatient physiotherapy is done either in an outpatient clinic (clinic-based) or in the person's home (home-based). Home-based physiotherapy may include practicing an exercise program at home with or without supplemental support from a physiotherapist.