Joint replacement is the surgical replacement of a joint with an artificial prosthesis. Custom joints can be made using a mold of the original joint that duplicate the original with a very high degree of accuracy. The most common joints to be replaced are hips and knees.
Physical therapy can begin before surgery ("Pre-op Conditioning") and will need to be continued after. Therapists first teach recovering patients passive exercises, then active ones, as soon they are able to use a walker, cane, or crutches for additional support. Patients recovering from hip and knee replacement go through physical therapy as well as occupational therapy, which teaches them how to adapt to day-to-day tasks such as showering, dressing and cooking.
Long term care of the artificial joint involves refraining from heavy activity and heavy lifting, and learning how to sit, walk, how to get out of beds, chairs, and cars so as not to dislocate the joint.
Depending on your physical therapy treatment plan, post-replacement surgery may include:
- A progressive exercise program for strengthening, flexibility and range of motion
- Practice safe sitting, laying, standing and walking
- Learning environmental adaptions for post surgery movement
- Balance training
- Activity-specific training