Patients should be icing at least 3 times a day (15 minutes each) for 3 weeks following a joint replacement of the hip and knee.
Short and Frequent Walks –
It is important to practice walking for strength, but don’t overdo it all at once. Walk 5 times per day for 5-10 minutes each to reinforce good walking mechanics. Use the recommended assistive device (Walker, Cane) to ensure good mechanics.
Stretch Key Muscles –
Your therapist will review which muscles are critical to stretch for a normal recovery. You should gently stretch those muscles 3-5 times per day as directed to ensure the muscles allow normal movement.
Activity as Tolerated –
With routine joint replacement rehabilitation you should progress your activity as tolerated. Each day will be and feel different based on what you did the previous day and what you need to accomplish in the upcoming day. Don’t be afraid to be sore because that can give you information as to what you can actually tolerate, but don’t hesitate to give yourself a rest day if you had a prior busy day.
Be Patient –
In most cases joint replacement rehabilitation can take 8 months to a year for you to feel back to normal. Over the course of the year you will encounter different challenges during the different seasons of the year. The key is to start with a successful post-surgical rehab course where you restore normal movement and receive the proper education to progress beyond your visits in therapy.
Dr. Chris has worked with post-surgical joint replacement patients for several years at The Miriam Hospital, and also in outpatient physical therapy clinics. For more information about successful joint rehabilitation or to book an appointment Contact Dr. Chris at 781-859-4189.