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Post-Joint Replacement

Why is pre- and post-joint replacement surgery exercise rehabilitation important?

17 April 2021

What is a joint replacement?

A joint replacement is a surgical procedure in which parts of a joint are removed and replaced with a metal, plastic, or ceramic device called a prosthesis.

Joint replacements are one of the most common orthopedic operations, with considerable success in alleviating pain and disability. In 2019, over 127,000 joint replacement procedures were completed in Australia, with hips, knees, and shoulders being the most common sites. Joint replacement is common among people who lead sedentary lifestyles, indicating the need to exercise and prioritise movement.  

The Statistics

  • As few as one to two exercise treatment sessions before surgery are effective at reducing post-operative care of total hip/knee replacements by 29%!
  • Knee and hip replacements for osteoarthritis are expected to rise by up to 276% by 2030, costing Australia’s health care system more than $5 billion, according to new research.
  • Reducing obesity levels in Australia by 5% could result in up to 8,062 fewer procedures.

Importance of pre-surgery rehabilitation

Most people are aware that they will need to do some form of rehabilitation after their surgery to help restore proper function of the joint and mitigate further complications such as joint dislocations and increased fall risk. However, specific training prior to surgery is often overlooked as people are unaware of the benefits of pre-operative exercise. Individuals with higher overall function prior to surgery are more likely to achieve greater functional outcomes post-surgery.

How can a Club Active Accredited Exercise Physiologist help?

Staying active and doing regular exercise can greatly increase your chance of a faster recovery following joint replacement surgery. It’s important to do all you can to ensure your body in general and the muscles around the affected joint are as strong and healthy as possible.

Club Active university-qualified exercise physiologists can develop a customised exercise program to meet your pre and post-surgical needs. Our exercise physiologist’s role before and after your Joint Replacement surgery is extremely focused to equip you with success. The below points outline a general checklist in terms of what an exercise physiologist will work with you to achieve; before and after the procedure.

Pre-surgical care check list:

  • Increase strength and mobility of the affected joint, leading to improved functional outcomes post-surgery
  • Create a functional reserve intended to counter the upcoming losses in strength due to bed rest, pain, and medication.
  • Improve kinaesthetic awareness before pain can influence this learning
  • Develop goals to help set expectations and guide the development of an appropriate exercise plan

Post-surgical care check list:

  • Education of the rehabilitation process, which can provide patient empowerment and confidence
  • Restore range of motion to the affected joint
  • Decrease muscle loss, reducing the risk of falling
  • Provide guidance for safe exercise both in and out of the gym setting

To learn more about working with an Exercise Physiologist, please contact our friendly team today.

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